Second Look: The Subtlety of Xingyi Boxing

The Subtlety of Xingyi BoxingYou’ve heard us say this before, but we get so many interesting books to review at Plum, we don’t always have the time we’d like to really get into and thoroughly read each volume before cataloguing and posting.

But sometimes, in what we laughingly refer to as our ‘spare time,’ a specific book or dvd catches our eye and we get to go back and take a Second Look.

We’ve been particularly enjoying Chen Faxing’s translation of Liu WenHua’s Subtlety of Xingyi Boxing. One of the things we like is that it approaches its subject not as an individual collection of punches and kicks, but as a whole art. Liu gives so much about the “feeling” of doing Xingyi by giving insight into each of its animal’s characteristics. 

For instance, this excerpt on the Horse:

The horse farm manual says: horses have the skill of leaving tracks with their hooves. When running at their fastest, the hind hoof can surpass the front hoof multiple times. This is their strength. When training the horse form, the rear foot should be pushed back while the front foot moves forward. Then, with great effort, the rear foot is pulled forward. This step is called the “Fast step.” Practice with the opening move of hacking fist: clench both fists, advance with the left foot and then the right foot, quickly advance and stand still. The right hand strikes out while the left hand retracts, the left foot lifts up in this level with the right shin bone.

Liu continues with each animal’s contribution to the performance of Xingyi.

As we’ve mentioned, we are in a renaissance of translated martial material right now. There will be better and worse, but this one definitely shelves on the side of “better.” We highly recommend this book.

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