Other Internal Arts

Taijiquan is one of the three major internal styles of Chinese Martial Arts; Taijiquan, Baguazhang and Xingyiquan.

Baguazhang is known by it's circular movement. The creation of bagua zhang, as a formalised martial art, is attributed to Dong Haichuan (董海川), who is said to have learned from two Taoist masters in the mountains of rural China during the early 1800s. There is evidence to suggest a synthesis of several pre-existing martial arts taught and practised in the region in which Dong Haichuan lived, combined with Taoist circle walking. Because of his work as a servant in the Imperial Palace he impressed the emperor with his graceful movements and fighting skill, and became an instructor and a body guard to the court.[3] Dong Haichuan taught for many years in Beijing, eventually earning patronage by the Imperial court.[4]

Famous disciples of Dong to become teachers were Yin Fu (尹福), Cheng Tinghua (程廷華), Song Changrong (宋長榮), Liu Fengchun (劉鳳春), Ma Weiqi (馬維棋), Liu Baozhen(劉寶珍), Liang Zhenpu (梁振蒲) and Liu Dekuan (劉德寛). Although they were all students of the same teacher, their methods of training and expressions of palm techniques differed. The Cheng and Liu styles are said to specialize in "pushing" the palms, Yin style is known for "threading" the palms, Song's followers practice "Plum Flower" (梅花 Mei Hua) palm technique and Ma style palms are known as "hammers." Some of Dong Haichuan's students, including Cheng Tinghua, participated in the Boxer Rebellion. In general, most bagua exponents today practice either the Yin (尹), Cheng (程), or Liang (梁) styles, although Fan (樊), Shi (史), Liu (劉), Fu (傅), and other styles also exist. (The Liu style is a special case, in that it is rarely practiced alone, but as a complement to other styles). In addition, there are sub-styles of the above methods as well, such as the Sun (孫), Gao (高), and Jiang (姜) styles, which are sub-styles of Cheng method.

Xingyiquan features aggressive shocking attacks and direct footwork. The linear nature of xingyiquan hints at both the military origins and the influence of spear technique alluded to in its mythology. Despite its hard, angular appearance, cultivating "soft" internal strength or qi is essential to achieving power in Xingyiquan.

The goal of the xingyiquan exponent is to reach the opponent quickly and drive powerfully through them in a single burst — the analogy with spear fighting is useful here. This is achieved by coordinating one's body as a single unit and the intense focusing of one's qi.

Efficiency and economy of movement are the qualities of a xingyiquan stylist and its direct fighting philosophy advocates simultaneous attack and defence. There are few kicks except for extremely low foot kicks (which avoids the hazards of balance involved with higher kicks) and some mid-level kicks, and techniques are prized for their deadliness rather than aesthetic value. Xingyiquan favours a high stance called Sāntǐshì (三體式 / 三体式), literally "three bodies power," referring to how the stance holds the head, torso and feet along the same vertical plane. A common saying of xingyiquan is that "the hands do not leave the heart and the elbows do not leave the ribs."

The use of the Santishi as the main stance and training method originated from Li Luoneng's branch of xingyi. Early branches such as Dai family style do not use Santi as the primary stance nor as a training method.