Santi Shi or Trinity Pile Standing

by Zhang Yun courtesy of

Santi Shi or Trinity pile standing is the most important and fundamental training in Xingyi Quan practice. It is said that “Santi Shi is the source of all skills.” In traditional training, beginners need to learn Santi Shi and practice it for a long time before they can be taught other skills. Practicing Santi Shi can help practitioners improve their movements and the integration of internal and external components. Stability and rooting can also be increased by this practice, as can relaxation and the control and use of shen, yi, qi and jin. Santi Shi training is emphasized in every Xingyi Quan group and will be presented here as a foundation training for martial arts fighting skills.

Santi Shi practice includes several steps. First, you need to study the Santi Shi movements and stance carefully. Correct movement will facilitate the development of correct feelings, for example feelings of qi flow, at all key acupuncture points throughout your body. It is important to maintain relaxation during Santi Shi training, especially for beginners. Secondly, you should learn to generate jin – trained force and fully express it in your physical movements. As in all internal martial arts training, your practice should be led by your mind. Adherence to the Twenty-Four Key Points (will describe later) will further enhance your training.

At different stages of your training, your mind should be used in different ways. Because the training process takes a long time, you should practice daily and have patience. Beginners may be able to maintain the correct posture for only three to five minutes. When you can stand correctly for about thirty minutes, you will have developed a strong foundation for further progress in your practice. Some ancient masters were known to have required that their students practice Santi Shi for at least one to two hours everyday. Without this discipline and the strength that such practice engendered, it was considered pointless to teach other skills.

Basic Principle
The inspiration for Santi Shi comes from the Daoist principle that describes the creation of the universe. It states: “Dao generates One, One generates Two, Two generates Three and Three generates all the things of the world.” The Dao originates from xuwu or wuji, the undifferentiated state of the universe. From the Dao, a qi force is generated which initiates change within the universe and produces yin and yang. Thus, although the xuwu state appeared to be empty, it had within it a creative force that could bring order and balance out of chaos.

Taiji is the “One” referred to in the Daoist principle of creation. It describes the state of the universe just after the undifferentiated state of xuwu has become ordered by the emergence of Dao and the movement of qi. The entities of yin and yang are differentiated within Taiji but are not yet fully separated. Yin and yang are the basic attributes of the universe, and the existence of each depends on and is clarified by the existence of the other. Each attribute also contains part of the other within it.

Liangyi, the “Two” in the principle of creation, is the point at which yin and yang become separated into two entities, each with its own attributes. Yin and yang are qualities possessed by all objects in the universe. When yin and yang interact, a new entity is generated. So yin, and yang, and the new entity is called Sancai – the three essentials.

Sancai, or the “Three Essentials,” is the generative point from which all perceptible things derive. Sancai contains within it the three most valuable treasures of the universe: sky, earth and humans. Sky is characterized by the attributes of yang; earth, by the attributes of yin. Humankind is generated from the interaction of sky and earth.

According to Daoist principle, the Sancai can be found within even the smallest units of matter. In every occurrence of Sancai, there are three treasures or Sanbao and in each treasure, there are three more treasures. The sky, for example, a treasure of Sancai, contains the three treasures of sun, moon and stars; the earth contains the three treasures of water, fire and wind; and man contains the three treasures of jin, qi, and shen.

In Xingyi Quan, the trinity or tripartite structure is called Santi or Sanjie. This structure includes three external parts of the body and three internal components. The three body areas defined by Santi or Sanjie are: Shao jie, the tip section which includes the arms and hands; zhong jie, the middle or trunk section which includes the head and torso; and gen jie, the root section which includes the legs and feet.  Consistent with the tripartite principle, each of these three sections can be divided into three smaller sections.  Shao jie includes: a tip section comprised of the hands; a middle section comprised of the elbows; and a root section comprised of the shoulders. Zhong jie includes the head as the tip section, the chest as the middle section, and the waist or stomach as the root section. In Gen jie, the feet are the tip section, the knees are the middle section, and the hips are the root section. The three internal components of Santi or Sanjie are shen, qi and jin.

Santi or Sanjie is the foundation of all skills in Xingyi Quan and the starting point for all change and development. The post standing practice Santi Shi, also commonly called Sancai Shi, is a technique that embodies the tripartite principle. It can be divided into three component parts known as Wuji Shi, Taiji Shi, Liangyi Shi, and Santi Shi. Santi Shi practice incorporates the core concepts of Xingyi Quan and generates all other Xingyi Quan skills.

Sancai Sanbao Santi Sanjie

Movement to Form Standing Posture

Wuji Shi
Wuji Shi – Wuji Standing is a preparatory form that involves simply standing upright. In this form, the body should be relaxed and the mind should be empty. Everything should be quiet, with only a glimmer of intention inside the mind to initiate movement. If you are thinking about something strongly, even about your practice, you are not yet ready to move. You should maintain Wuji Shi until your thoughts have quieted completely.

Movement Description for Wuji Shi:
Stand upright with both feet together. Your arms should rest naturally alongside your thighs with your palms facing in. Hold your body erect and look straight ahead. The tip of your tongue should touch the upper palate behind your teeth. Your chin should be slightly withdrawn.

Focus your mind on the Jianjing points to encourage relaxation of your shoulders and on the Quchi points and Shaohai points to cause your elbows to drop. Then, focus your mind on the Jiaji point to expand the middle of your upper back and straighten your spine. Focusing your mind next on the Tanzhong point and imagining that water is trickling down your breast bone to your navel will cause your chest to withdraw slightly and feel hollow. After using your mind to achieve these effects, forget everything and just experience the comfortable relaxed state of your body and the quietness of your mind. Your shen should be fully alert, and you should feel as though qi were gently impelling your body to begin moving.

Taiji Shi
Taiji Shi –Taiji standing signals the beginning of the form. Your mental intention and the flow of qi will cause change to occur inside your body. It is important in Taiji standing to distinguish between yin and yang. Yin is a substantial quality and represents stillness in your body. Yang is insubstantial and characterizes movement. Although yin and yang are separate and distinct, they should mutually embrace and support each other in all physical processes. Taiji standing creates an inclination to move and to keep the mind quiet. The practitioner should follow these feelings as he begins the form.

Movement Description for Taiji Shi:
All physical movement starts from this point. When you move, you should always keep your body erect. Do not lean in any direction. Focus your mind on the Baihui point on top of your head and imagine that your body is suspended from this point. Turn your right foot on your right heel about forty-five to sixty degrees to the right. Relax your shoulders and drop your elbows. This will cause your hands to feel like moving. Follow this feeling and slowly move both hands in front of your abdomen. Your left hand should be over your right hand, and the pad of your left middle finger should be over the nail of your right middle finger. Look at the nail of your left middle finger.

Relax your hips and knees. This will cause a feeling in your legs of wanting to move. Follow this feeling and slowly bend your knees and lower your body until your knees are over your toes. At the same time, drop your elbows down and slightly back. This will cause your hands to move slightly up. Let your fingers point forward and your palms face the ground while you slowly shift your weight to your right leg.

Liangyi Shi
It is said that Liangyi Shi is generated by the changes in Taiji Shi. These changes result in the separation of yin and yang and end when yin and yang become integrated and generate Santi Shi. Liangyi Shi embodies the dual principles of motion and stillness, rising up and dropping down, stretching out and drawing back, going forth and moving back. Although yin and yang remain separated in Liangyi Shi, they are always in balance. When your body is moving, for example, your heart should be quiet; as your body rises up, your qi should sink down. When yin and yang are balanced and become integrated in the Liangyi posture, Santi Shi arises.

Movement Description for Liangyi Shi:
Imagine using the nail of your right middle finger to hold up your left middle finger. This will cause your left middle finger to move forward. Relax your left shoulder and drop your left elbow. Then, stretch your left hand up and forward. Simultaneously, step forward with your left foot and pull your right hand, which it is in front of your abdomen, back to touch your body tightly.

Look straight ahead and stretch your left hand out until the tip of your index finger is at the level of your nose. Your left palm should face forward. Keep your left elbow slightly bent. Pull your right hand back until the Yuji point on your right wrist touches the Shenqie point on your navel. Your right palm should face down. Step forward about two to three feet with your left foot. Shift about thirty to forty percent of your weight to your left leg. Keep your left knee slightly bent.

Keep your body erect and stable. Imagine that your waist is pushing your shoulders and hips, that your shoulders, in turn, are pushing your elbows, and that your elbows are pushing your hands. Be careful during this sequence that you do not lean forward. Imagine that your hips are pushing your knees, which are then pushing your feet. The movements of your upper and lower body should be fully coordinated. Internal and external components should be integrated. If this posture is done correctly, yin and yang though still separate, become integrated. Physically, Liangyi Shi is a dynamic posture that generates Santi Shi through the integration of yin and yang.

Santi Shi
It is said: Dao came from xuwu, the insubstantial and empty state, and generated qi; then, qi generated yin and yang which became integrated and generated Santi. Finally, Santi generated all things in the world. In Xingyi Quan, Santi Shi is called “the source of all skills.”

When Santi Shi or Trinity Standing is generated from Liangyi Shi, there is no overt physical movement. The Santi Shi posture should be held for at least several minutes. This will help develop strength, particularly in your legs, and will also help train your mind to integrate the different parts of your body.

Although there is no physical movement during Santi Shi, strict attention should be paid to the various postural requirements. It is important to keep your body and head upright, your neck and spine straight and your shoulders and hips level. It is also important not to lean in any direction.

If done correctly, Santi Shi will improve many of your gongfu skills because it will significantly increase your leg strength. To hasten the strengthening of your legs, imagine that you are trying to raise your front knee slightly. This will create a feeling of expansion and a very hot, burning sensation in your back leg.

The internal feelings that develop through Santi Shi are very complex, and so this practice can be very helpful for learning to focus your mind so that it can lead the internal components that direct your physical movements. The mental aspects of Santi Shi training should be developed step-by-step.Changing-Side Form:

When your left hand and left foot are in front during Santi Shi, the posture is called left-side Santi Shi. The opposite situation is referred to as right-side Santi Shi. You should practice equally on both sides.

Movement Description for Changing-side Form:
In left-side Santi Shi, focus your mind on the right Jianjing point to relax your right shoulder and on the left Huantiao point to relax your left hip. Then, imagine moving your tailbone over your left heel. This will cause your weight to shift forward onto your left leg. While your weight is shifting forward, relax your left hip. This will cause your left foot to turn on the heel about forty-five to sixty degrees to the left. At the same time, pull both hands back slightly.

Focus your mind on your left shoulder. This will cause your right hip to relax as your weight shifts to the left. Touch your right foot to the ground in preparation for stepping forward but keep your weight on your left leg.

Focus your mind on your left elbow. This will cause your left arm to drop down and move back until it is in front of your right hand.

Then, focus your mind on your left shoulder. This will relax your left shoulder and cause your right foot to step forward lightly. At the same time, pull your left hand back until it is in front of your stomach with your left palm facing the ground.  The fingers of your left hand should point to the right and forward. The Yuji point on your left wrist should touch the Shenqie point on your navel. At the same time, push your right hand forward until your right index finger lines up with your nose and your right palm faces forward. Shift your weight forward until about thirty to forty percent of your weight is on your right leg. Keep both knees bent slightly. Look straight ahead.

Santi Shou Shi(Closing Form)

When it becomes difficult to focus your mind on maintaining the correct body positioning and intention, you should stop Santi standing.  Continuing to hold the posture beyond this point can increase your leg strength, but it will not benefit your internal practice. When you are ready to end your standing practice, use the ending form, also called the ending form for trinity standing or, more simply, the closing form. This form will provide a feeling of refreshed completion to your practice.

Movement Description for the Ending Form:

If you have been standing in the left-side posture, relax your left shoulder. This will cause your arms and legs to withdraw. Follow this feeling and withdraw your left foot and left arm. Bring both feet together. When your left hand pulls back, raise your right hand slightly until both hands meet in front of your chest. Then push your hands down slowly in front of your stomach. Keep both knees bent.

Turn your right foot on the heel until your feet are parallel. At the same time, straighten your legs slowly until you are standing upright (fig. 6).  Continue moving both hands down and gradually separate them so that each hand rests along the corresponding thigh as your legs straighten up. Relax your whole body and breathe deeply, smoothly and slowly several times.

Six-direction Force
When you have developed the physical ability to hold the Santi Shi posture correctly, you should begin to train your mind in more detail. Although your body will appear to an outside observer to be motionless during Santi standing, many changes and feelings of movement will be occurring inside your body. It is said of this state that “Outside there is stillness but inside there is movement.”

Typically, six-direction practice is the first step in training your mind during Santi standing. It provides a simple way to focus your mind so that your mind can lead your qi and your internal force. Diligent practice of the six-direction force will stabilize and coordinate all aspects of your external posture. It will also integrate your internal force and develop an internal state of comfort and clarity.

The six-direction force practice is of central importance for the development of jin. In this practice, internal force is developed simultaneously in six directions: forward; backward; leftward; rightward; upward and downward. Often, training in Santi Shi emphasizes force primarily in one direction, but unless one develops the ability to support or express force in all directions, it will be difficult to change and maintain balance during movement, especially when fighting.

Internal force should be expressed in all directions, but for convenience of training, only six directions are delineated. If you can express force in these six basic directions, you can quite easily expand your skill to the release of internal force in all directions. Internal force should follow the flow of qi and fill your body as air fills a ball. When inflated by air, a ball becomes springy and strong, and equal pressure is exerted at every point on its surface. Internal force should similarly affect your body.

The following instructions for six-direction force practice assume that you are in the left Santi Shi posture, that is, your left hand and left foot are in front. Each direction force is described individually.

Upward Force: Focus your mind on Baihui, the acupuncture point at the top of your head. Imagine that it is pushing upward. Imagine, too, that your feet are being inserted into the ground. This will create a reverse direction force that will push your body up. The greater your feeling of your feet’s being inserted into the ground, the more upward power you will feel. Be careful that the force is directed straight upward. It is important that your body always be upright, especially your neck and head.

Downward Force: Focus your mind on the Dantian in the center of your lower abdomen. Think about relaxing every part of your body and about your qi sinking down to the Dantian. This will cause your body to feel heavy and drop slightly. Imagine also that your legs are pushing down into the ground.       

Forward Force: Focus your mind on the Laogong point in the center of your left palm and feel as though your left palm were pushing forward. Feel power coming up from your back foot. Your right rear foot should press down into the ground, and power should feel as though it were flowing up through your right leg to your waist, then through your back, your left arm, and finally out through your left palm. You should feel a forward-pushing force from your back foot, in this case your right foot, all the way up to your front or left hand. At the same time, imagine that your right shoulder is chasing your left hand.

Backward Force: Focus your mind on the Jiaji point in the center of your back and imagine that it is pushing backward. This feeling is often characterized as “leaning on the mountain.” Imagine that your left foot is pressing down into the ground. This will create a feeling that your torso is pushing toward your back. At the same time, imagine that your right hand is pulling something back and then coordinate this feeling with the downward force in your left foot. The integration of the feeling in your right hand with the downward press of your left foot will augment the backward force.

Leftward Force: Focus your mind on the Shangyang point in your right index finger and imagine pointing with this finger to the left side of your body. This will enhance the integration of your right arm and left leg and will create a feeling that your body is twisting to the left. The sense of twisting will generate a feeling of power rotating to the left inside your body.

Rightward Force: Focus your mind on the Shaoshang point in your left thumb and imagine your thumb twisting to the right. This will enhance the integration of your left arm and right leg and create a feeling that your body is twisting to the right. This twisting feeling will generate a force that seems to rotate to the right inside your body.

In the beginning of your practice, you should concentrate on only one of the six directions of force. When you feel comfortable with one direction, proceed to work on the next one. Remember that this training involves using only your mind to lead your practice and to create internal feelings. There is no overt physical movement. Sometimes, a strong, clear feeling inside your body may cause some slight movement. You should neither seek to increase such a feeling nor struggle to stop the involuntary movement. Just maintain a relaxed state and continue with your six-direction training.

When you can practice each direction of force separately with confidence, you can practice pairs of force. First, practice upward and downward forces together; then forward and backward forces and finally leftward and rightward forces. This gradual process is recommended because most practitioners find it difficult to focus on more than one point or direction at a time. When practicing pairs, concentrate on each side of the paired force directions. Initially, change your mental focus slowly and with clear intent from one force in the pair to the other. Eventually, you will be able quickly to switch your mental focus back and forth between the two different directions. Eventually it will come to seem as though you are focusing on the two directions simultaneously. When you can do this routinely, your mind will generate a powerful, clear feeling.

Acquiring this ability takes a great deal of practice, so be patient. With sustained practice over a long period of time, focusing your mind on a pair of directions will seem almost effortless. Then, you can extend your practice to include all three-paired force directions. The goal of such training is to increase your ability to generate or withstand power from any direction instantaneously and without conscious thought.Integration Force

Basically, the six-direction force is an expanding force. He jin or integration force is the other important force that can be cultivated in Santi Shi. It balances your energy, makes you more stable and allows your internal components to be comfortably coordinated. Integration force can also increase your internal power. As with six-direction force, integration force concerns mental intention and physical awareness but does not involve overt physical movement.

Integration force in your arms works to coordinate the use of both arms so that they can work harmoniously together as one. Integration force flows from your back to your arms and hands. To feel this force, first imagine strongly pushing your front hand forward. At the same time, imagine pulling your rear hand backward as though trying to tear a stiff and resistant piece of paper in half. Next, imagine pulling your front hand back and pushing your rear hand forward as though trying to put two heavy things together. Remember that all these “actions” should occur only in your mind. The images should not be accompanied by overt physical movement or by isometric tensing of your muscles.

Integration force in your legs is also a coordinating force. It can help develop rooting. To practice leg integration force, first imagine that your body is sinking down. This will create a feeling that your feet are being inserted deeply into the ground. Your front foot should slant down and forward, and your rear foot should slant down and backward. Next, imagine that you are standing on an icy surface. The surface is so slippery that your feet feel as though they are about to slide apart. Imagine that your front foot is sliding forward and your rear foot is slipping backward. In order to maintain your balance and avoid falling down, you will feel as though you need to use force to bring your feet together. Once again, all of this occurs only in your mind. There should be no overt physical movement and no isometric tensing of your muscles.

Integration force in your arms and legs results in the coordination of your upper and lower body. A simple way to practice integration force is to use three specific points on your arm and a corresponding set of three points on your opposite leg. The three points on your arm are: the Jianjing point on your shoulder; the Quchi point on your elbow; and the Lao Gong point on your hand. The three coordinating points on your opposite-side leg are: the Huantiao point on your hip; the Yanglingquan point on your knee; and the Yongquan point on your foot.

The first step in integration force training is to mentally connect one arm with the leg on the opposite side of your body. Focus first on the Laogong point of your left hand and then expand this thought to the Yongquan point on your right foot. Then, focus your mind on the Quchi point on your left elbow and connect that thought to the Yanglingquan point on your right knee. Next, focus your mind on the Jianjing point on your left shoulder and make a connection in your mind to the Huantiao point on your right hip.

Then, shift your mental focus to the other Jianjing point, that is, the Jianjing point on your right shoulder and connect it to the Huantiao point on your left hip. Continue by focusing next on the Quchi point on your right elbow and connect it to the Yanglingquan point on your left knee. Complete this part of your practice by focusing on the Lao Gong point on your right hand and connecting it to the Yongquan point on your left foot. Repeat these six steps until all the connections feel natural.

In the second part of integration force practice, you should try to coordinate the feelings in both arms with the feelings in both legs, at each of the three sets of points. This integration training is commonly called bao or “holding and embracing.” In bao practice, you should focus your mind first on both left and right Laogong points and then connect the feelings at these points to those at your right and left Yongquan points. Then, mentally focus on both left and right Quchi points and make connections to your right and left Yang Ling Quan points. Thirdly, focus on both left and right Jianjing points and connect them to your right and left Huantiao points. Next, focus on your right and left Jianjing points and connect them to your left and right Huantiao points. The fifth step is to focus on your right and left Quchi points and connect them to your left and right Yanglingquan points, and the sixth step is to focus on both right and left Laogong points and connect them to your left and right Yongquan points. Repeat these steps until the paired connections feel natural at each set of points.

Integration force practice will strengthen your qi, increase your mental control and concentrate your shen. The physical training of movement in your arms and legs will gradually cause internal changes. This is what is meant by the traditional adage that “outside training leads to inside training.” As training improves sufficiently, the internal and external can be integrated. At this point, you can reduce your concentration on external movement and focus more on training the internal components. Gradually, your internal feelings will grow stronger, and any internal change will automatically cause an external change. At high levels of mastery, it is possible to focus exclusively on shen because everything else, that is, mind (yi), qi, jin and physical movements, will follow naturally. With this ability, you will have fully achieved the integration force.Twenty-Four Key Points

For more detailed practice of Santi Shi, one should keep in mind and conform with the Twenty-Four Key Points in order to achieve high level skill.

The Twenty-Four Key Points come from Ba Zi Ge – the Eight Word Song, which is one of most important traditional formulations in Xingyi Quan. One should be mindful always of these essentials throughout one’s practice. Before one can apply all these considerations in one’s moving practice, one should learn and practice them well in Santi Shi – a stationary posture.

The eight words of Ba Zi Ge are: ding, kou, yuan, min, bao, chui, qu, and ting.

Most people believe the “Eight Word Song” was written by Master Li Luo Neng. It should be used in everywhere in Xingyi Quan. It is very important for all movements. Sometimes people refer to it as the “twenty-four key points in Santi Shi” because each of the eight character/words includes three points, resulting in a total of twenty-four ideas.

Xingyi masters traditionally introduce the Twenty-Four Key Points when students start to practice Santi Shi which is the first focus in traditional training.

The Twenty-Four Key Points include some internal and external ideas. Even so-called external points, actually should be done internally, i.e., using internal components to lead external training. Some of these ideas look similar on the outside, but are different inside. Some of these ideas may appear to be opposites, however they describe how to balance these points in practice. One should practice and then try to understand all of them in detail.

Because Santi Shi is a stationary practice, students may find it easier to learn and feel each point in the right way. When every point can be done well in Santi Shi, finally all points should be applied to all moving skills.

Below is Some Explanation of Twenty-Four Key Points:

Ding means go against, push forward or upward slowly but hard, withstand, support, or stand up.

* Head (back of skull) should be ding (pushes up), like it wants to fly up and smash the sky. This will cause one’s qi to ascend along the back to the upper Dantian, which is on the point which inside between eyebrows and underneath Baihui point.

* Palms should be ding (pushing outside or around), as if trying to push down a big mountain. This will cause one’s qi and internal force to extend to the tip of hands and feet.

* Tongue should be ding (pushes up to gums behind incisors), like a lion wants to swallow an elephant. This will cause one’s qi to sink to Dantian.

Kou means withhold, suppress, restrain, hold, keep, control, lock up, or button up.

* Both shoulders should be kou (held a little bit forward), like they can withhold something on chest. This will make one’s chest comfortable and qi can go to elbows with internal force.

* Back of palms and feet should be kou (suppressed), like hands can grip or lock up something and feet can grip or lock up on the earth. This will make one’s hands really strong and one’s steps really stable.

* Teeth should be kou (suppressed), like gritting teeth. This will make all your bones and muscles are tighten back.

Yuan means circular, round, smooth, or flexible.

* Back should be yuan (round), as if internal force pushes the body forward. This will keep one’s tailbone in the center of body and make one’s shen rise to the top of head.

* Chest should be yuan (round), like chest take sunken slightly. It will make both elbows stronger and breathing smoother.

* Tiger mouth (the area between thumb and forefinger) should be yuan (round), hands should open like eagle talons. This will train one’s binding and controlling force.

Min means quick, nimble, agile, sharp, acute alert, or sensitive.

* Heart should be min (nimble and quick), like an angry cat that wants to catch a mouse. This will make one’s mind alert and sensitive, increasing the nimbleness of one’s movement.

* Eyes should be min (sharp), like a hungry eagle seeking to catch a rabbit. This will train one to capture the best chance (timing) in combat.

* Hands should be min (quick), like a starving tiger wants to spring on a goat. This will train one how to move just before one’s opponent moves.

Bao means hold, carry in arms, or embrace.

* Dantian should be bao (embrace), like holding qi in Dantian and never to be destroyed. This will train one how to concentrate, collect, and use one’s qi.

* Xin qi – qi of heart (mind and shen) should be bao (kept quiet), holding the mind and shen in a constant and concentrated and relaxed state. This will train one never to be nervous and never to be confused in combat.

* Both sides of the chest should be bao (held in), like carrying something in the chest. This will train how to use one’s qi to protect one’s body.

Chui means droop, hang down, or vertical.

* Qi should be chui (sink down), like always move qi back to Dantian. This will make one’s body stable like a mountain.

* Both shoulders should be chui (sink and relax), as if using shoulders to chase elbows. This will make one’s arms become longer and more agile. Qi can move to arms and hands smoothly.

* Both elbows should chui (drop down), as though the qi can move in the inside of one’s arms. This will make both sides of one’s chest stronger and train side-to-side force.

Qu means curve, bent, crook, or winding.

* Arms (elbows) should be qu (curved), like a crescent moon. This will make one’s internal force in the arms become stronger and like a bow.

* Legs (knees) should be qu (bent), like a crescent moon. This will make one’s internal force in the legs become more springy and thicker.

* Wrists should be qu (curved), like a crescent moon. This will make one’s internal force concentrate in the hands, capable of moving forward and backward continually, freely and smoothly.

Ting means press onward, upright, erect, stiff, or straight.

* Neck should be ting (upright), the chin should be tucked back slightly. This will enable one’s qi to rise to the Baihui smoothly.

* Spine and waist should be ting (erect), like keeping straight. This will make one’s internal force move smoothly, extending through the arms and legs freely, and also exciting one’s qi to permeate every part of one’s body.

* Kneecap should be ting (stiff), like making stronger. This will make one’s qi comfortable, extend one’s shen, and deepen one’s rooting.There are a lot of things on which one should focus during practice, but no one can do these all at one time. It is important to note that one cannot fight while focusing on these points either. One should only practice one of them at one time. So, one should practice one idea until it becomes ingrained, so that one does it naturally without focusing on it. Then one can move to the next practice point.

One should practice until all points become ingrained, i.e., one can apply all of them naturally without thinking. When this is achieved, one will experience a totally different feeling. Only when one reaches this level, can one say one has really mastered these points.

From the above description of Santi Shi, one can understand why people traditionally refer to it as the source of all skills. This practice establishes a good foundation for Xingyi Quan training. From internal and external practice, each of the twenty-four key points is trained and the benefits of this training can then be applied everywhere in one’s movements and applications. How well one can perform internal skills will determine how high a level one can reach in Xingyi Quan. Thus, Santi Shi skill is emphasized greatly.

Santi Shi – Trinity Pile Standing
With pictures demonstrated by Lu Shengli



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2 responses to “Santi Shi or Trinity Pile Standing”

  1. Natasha Yi Avatar

    Hi there…Thanks for the nice read, keep up the interesting posts about yi shi..what a nice Wednesday .

  2. Alex Avatar

    Very useful thank you so much

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