This introduction to Yi-Chuan was written by Wang Yu-Fong, daughter of the founder, Wang Xiang-Zhai

Frequently in this modem era, filled as it is with technologies like computers and space-age travel, we make the mistake of perceiving martial arts in simple “what you see is what you get” terms. In other words, the practice and study of martial arts is often reduced to its most basic form: the development of external strength. Unfortunately, this preoccupation with external strength and techniques becomes the final goal of students who have not been exposed to higher levels of martial training. At the same time, some martial arts instructors in an attempt to upgrade their own lack of advanced expertise, have labelled masters of internal arts as frauds.

Wang Xiang-Zhai and Yi-Chuan
My late father, Wang Xiang-Zhai, studied Xingyi (“mind and intention style”) from Grandmaster Kuo Yun-Shen in Hopei Province. Later he travelled throughout China to research the essentials of different systems and then established a new training method of martial arts. He was the founder of Yi-Chuan theory (“internal and external are one”, “intention and thought are one.”)

Over several decades of experience, my father spent time greatly expanding and developing the theory and application of Yi-Chuan. Yi-Chuan aims mainly at the intention and spirit. The training uses a standing meditation method. It has no sets, sequences, or forms. No matter if in action or if silent, the method is controlled by thought and intention. The main principle of Yi-Chuan is to aim for health and self-defence. Two kinds of standing method, one for health and one for martial arts, are the basis of Yi-Chuan. In the martial art aspect, the main goal is to look for a complete changing of one’s actions, and at the same time to be able to prevent sickness and disease while improving one’s general health. For training in the martial arts, good health is a basic qualification.

The health method of standing meditation is good for chronic disease (high blood pressure, for example) and is a beneficial type of therapy. Both types of standing meditation have the same result – if sickness exists, they will cure it; if there is no sickness, even better health will result. These exercises combine both physical (martial) training and relaxation. Today the health method is popular, with students aiming for good health and the healing of disease.

My father had many disciples who com­pleted his teachings: Yao Zhong-Xun in Beijing; Pro­fessor Yu Ping-Si in Shanghai; and Chao Dao-Xin in Tianjing, Dou Yi-Luan in Hangzhou, all out­standing representatives. Dr. Peng developed kong-jing (“empty force” – a method of using qi to strike people from a distance without using contact) from the foundation of Yi-Chuan. Chao Dao-Xin, after learming Yi-Chuan, combined his previous training in Xingyi and Bagua to develop Xin-Hui Zhang (an open hand internal style). As for Yao Zhong-Xun, his expertise and research into fighting theories is so well known that nothing else need be said.

With the standing meditation that was developed mainly for healing purposes, my late father had students such as Pu Yu-Kwen and Mi Ching-Ke who continued his teach­ings. Their method uses complete Yi-Chuan training for complete physical healing. If there is any local sickness, this method is also good. Since 1980, the leadership of the Beijing qigong Research Institute has promoted qigong, meeting the requests made by many people from different provinces for qigong teachers. Now there are over 100,000 qigong students in China. They have a very high success rate in healing.

Standing Meditation’s Effect on the Blood
Yu Yong-Nian, formerly the director of the dentistry department of Teh Lu Hospital, studied the Yi-Chuan standing meditation form of qigong from my father. He later used scientific instruments to measure the blood counts of the practitioner both before and after practicing standing meditation. The results showed a marked difference in blood counts after performing one hour of standing meditation: the red blood cell count was increased by approximately 15,200,000 cells; the white blood cell count was in­creased by approximately 3,650 cells. The protein within red blood cells was increased by approximately 3.2 grams. The protein of the red blood cell is produced by oxygen within the body. When red cells flow through the lungs, the blood can absorb 96 percent of the lung’s oxygen and then release carbon dioxide. Then red cell protein travels to different organs, quickly releasing oxygen to each part of the body.

Standing meditation, by increasing the protein of red blood cells, provides an increased flow of oxygen to different organs. Therefore the whole body feels very relaxed and comfortable. This meditation also provides good stimulation to the dividers of the large brain, creating a positive sensation of stimulation and producing energy that heals sickness. The standing meditation combines action and silence (outside action-internal silence or inside action-outside silence). My father maintained, “Big action is not as good as small action, small action is not as good as non-action. Non-action is the real action. Therefore, 100 acts are not as good as one silence, 100 exercises are not as good as one standing meditation exercise. With the standing meditation, it seems as if nothing is moving, but actually inside the body the muscles and tissues are really moving (exercising).

Human Life Energy
This kind of exercise can increase human life energy. The human being has a natural balancing mechanism. If the balance is destroyed or broken, the person loses this balancing mechanism and sickness is produced. The standing meditation training of Yi-Chuan can adjust for any person’s lack of balance and restore that balance once again. The standing method is very simple and easy. It doesn’t require deep concentration and uses only natural breathing. The size of the room it’s performed in doesn’t matter and the time spent in practice is very flexible. One doesn’t have to worry about special breathing techniques. The postures produce harmony for both empty and full. The whole body is loose and relaxed and releases all mental worry, reaching total silence of the mind. Strength flows through the entire body. Therefore, the internal energy does not show externally and the external does not disturb the internal. At last, you reach the stage where, if someone walks past you, you are aware of them, but do not hear them. The practitioner has to carefully strive to understand these concepts and then it won’t be difficult to reach the point where something wonderful happens within oneself.

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