Hsing-I Chuan arose out of the ancient Chinese philosophy surrounding theory of the five elements. Together with tai chi and ba gau zhan, they form the trinity of internal martial arts.
Hsing-I is an aggressive fighting style which is used in the Cheng Ming system as the foundation for training of "fa-jing" or expressed force. The foundation of Hsing-I is a set of five fist forms called Wu-Xing Chuan or the Five Element Fists.
Hsing- I trains Gan Jing or "hard" power and Ming Jing or "obvious power. These Jings are used in techniques involving the hands, fingers, wrist, waist, hips, belly, kicking, take downs and grabbing.
These five elements make up the human body and their interactions with each other. These elements are metal, water, wood, fire and earth. Each is represented by a specific hand technique.
These techniques are used to describe the essence behind each separate fists main technique which are splitting, crushing, drilling, pounding and crossing.
Physically performing the five elements has many levels and requires constant training in the order to develop all the finer nuances and ultimately have the ability to "fa-jing" an opponent. It is also related to an internal organ in the body. Each posture promotes the circulation of chi and provides gentle massage to that specific internal organ.
Training in the Hsing-I includes the twelve animal forms and several weapons forms as well as various long pattern forms.