Xingyi translates to "form and intention boxing" or "body-mind boxing". The history of Xingyi is unclear. One account credits Boddhidharma with its creation; while others credit general Yeuh Fei of the Northern Sung Dynasty (960-1127). Hence, it is unclear whether Xingyi is a Taoist art like Taiji 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 Taiji , Xingyi is considered an internal art.
The three major schools of Xingyi are Honan, Shansi, and Hopei. Sun style Xingyi 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 Xingyi 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 Xingyi 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 Xingyi training is the two handed sword. Since the Xingyi sword is much like the Japanese samurai sword, it is possible that the Xingyi 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.