Hsing I Ch'uan translates to "form and intention boxing" or "body-mind boxing". The history of Hsing I Ch'uan is unclear. One account credits Boddhidarma with its creation; while others credit general Yeuh Fei of the Northern Sung Dynasty (960-1127). Hence, it is unclear whether Hsing I Ch'uan is a Taoist art like T'ai Chi Ch'uan or a Buddhist art of the Shaolin temple. Chances are that it was developed by many masters both Taoist and Buddhist over an extended period of time. Like T'ai Chi Ch'uan, Hsing I Ch'uan is considered an internal art.
The three major schools of Hsing I Ch'uan are Honan, Shansi, and Hopei. Sun style Hsing I Ch'uan was developed by Sun Lu Tang, who learned the Hopei style from Guo Yun Shen. Hence, Sun Style is an outgrowth of the Hopei school, many consider Sun Lu Tang to be the highest level master of Hopei style Hsing I Ch'uan that has ever lived.
The Hsing I Ch'uan taught at EBM is authentic Sun style. The core of the training in Hsing I Ch'uan are the Five Elements:
The Five Elements are the foundation of Hsing I Ch'uan and this cannot be emphasized enough. After one has reached proficiency in the five elements, the next two forms are "fighting forms" which are done with a partner. The first fighting form utilizes three elements done in sequence, the next utilizes all five elements, these develop the techniques into practical application. The next solo forms are:
Following the linking forms are the twelve animal forms:
Following the twelve animals, is the twelve animals linking (Chop Sik Choy) form which develops the ability to link different techniques together in various ways. The final fighting set is the "fighting animal two man form" (En Tsan Pao) which is the essential form for developing real Hsing I fighting ability.
The final aspect of Hsing I training is the Hsing I two handed sword. Since the Hsing I sword is much like the Japanese samurai sword, it is possible that the Hsing I style of swordsmanship is the true origin of the samurai style. The sword is practiced in a similar fashion to the five elements. There are five forms to the Hsing I sword, as well as countless two person fighting forms.