Xing Yi Books (also spelled "Hsing I ")
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NEW!! KX011 Xing Yi Quan: Art of Inner Transformation    
by Tom Bisio
Illustrations and photographs, 168 pages
$12.95

Xing Yi is based on elements, but it is the changes that make it functional. The emphasis on these phase shifts—ideas as similarly simple as “what goes up must come down”—give Xing Yi its power.

In his new book, Sifu Tom Bisio presents the core beliefs and background of this pugilistic art, while also delving into the ‘transformative’ aspect that designates Xing Yi as what some people refer to as an internal art. By blending theory, history, and concepts, the text fills in the cracks and holes, expounding on what might be called a counter-argument, starting with some of the recognized benefits from martial training.

Drawing from his Chinese medical practice, Tom discusses a key element of the internal arts, namely structure. Chinese medicine promotes the concept that proper posture produces more than a simple mechanical result. This follows the line of thought in Bisio's book where he uses modern medical findings to back up Chinese medical technique.

His book also has an intriging discussion on fasciae and similarities to martial training. Many people see a theoretical approach to things like standing and San Ti, structural integrity and unusual feats of strength.

"Connective tissue is able to adapt and adjust its matrix in accordance with the demands made upon it. Healthy connective tissue has undulations of an elastic quality, while less healthy tissue is flatter and less elastic. Fascial researchers have noted the ability of a gazelle or a kangaroo to jump much further than can be explained by the force of contractions of their leg muscles."

In this concentrated text, he meets questions and key points directly, simply and thoroughly, much like the style itself. It’s the type of book we particularly like at Plum, because it contains the kind of breakdowns, statements and side comments you can normally only get from a hands-on teacher. We recommend this book as particularly useful for those with some basic Xing Yi training.

TrainingPrinciples for Fascial Conective Tissues, Robert Schleip, PhD, MA and DvioGitta Mueller, HP

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Mei Hua Kung FuSpecial: Di Guo Yong's Complete Xing Yi Method in 3 books

NEW! KD018, KD019, KD020
Di Guoyong on Xingyiquan: 3 Volumes
translations by Andrea Falk, most demonstration photos of Di GuoYong
English/Chinese, softbound, illustrations

This is Di GuoYong's definitive package on Xing Yi. With a strong assist—by Andrea Falk in the editing and translation department—and a highly organized progression of subjects, Teacher Di has created a Xing Yi curriculum that, theoretically, could guide a person through all the salient steps of Xing Yi training. From standing practice (a number of methods) through foundational applications and power exercises, with multiple teaching approaches, and fine details on the animals and elements, Teachers Di and Falk offer a storehouse of information for those seeking skills of a special brand. Both teachers contribute more than just breakdown, but also personal experiences which deepen the learning process.

DGY is demonstrator for all photographs. There is also a nice introduction of DGY’s own findings and personal experiences trying to give a narrative quality to the project.

VOLUME I: Five Element Foundation
180 pages, photographic illustratons throughout
$30.00,
PLUM PRICE $25.00
Buy all three volumes and get 10% off

This section of Volume I sticks to the principles, showing basic movements and strong standing sections. Detailed corrections on stillness exercise include Chaos standing, Yin Yang standing, and the famous San Ti Shi, the core standing exercise of the Xing Yi system. As a special note San Ti is given not in one but three distinct levels. Other standing techniques are shown, including Dragon, Tiger, Tiger & Dragon and pounding.  This section shows how thorough this book is; offering different stands greatly, I believe, enhances the standing practices of this style. The San Ti is a powerful, fruitful practice but the variance and progression of stances adds more life to the practice. 

From this begins the core Five Elements play. 80 pages are devoted to the basic Five Elements along with explanations and, most importantly, variance on methods of practice. Finally a short form unifies the elements into a simple but feasible practice. A two-person drill introduces a little contact, and follow-up notes. 

“The Lung moves like the sound of Thunder"—there is a real attempt here to show a reasonable and usful correlation between elemental theory and practical application.

Learning and practicing good styles, especially a well-constructed one like Xing Yi, can be fun and useful. But that is a little different than working in a system of movement. Some might look at this series without seeing the interlocked logic of the movements. If you are captivated by this progression you will find this one of the most complete learning schedules you could wish for. For further proof, just look at the next section in Volume II. 

 

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 Mei Hua Kung Fu

 VOLUME II: Form and Theory
417 pages, photographic illustratons throughout
$38.00,
PLUM PRICE $34.00
Buy all three volumes and get 10% off

It is accepted procedure at this point to introduce the animal forms of XY. This is done, but with a scale we are not accustomed to. Instead of mentioning the 12 animals of XY—as is generally expected—I’m going to list the breakdown of instruction—something more unique. 

12 Animal Shapes
Stationary training: XY stillness
Movement instruction
Pointers
Turning Method
Closing 
Pointers on movement
Power Generation for the Dragon Form
Breathing cycle for the Dragon
Practical Applications and Interpretation
The Poem About the Dragon Form

A thorough explanation, right? What I particularly enjoyed was the paragraph that portrayed the spirit and energy of the animal as it does for the rest of the eleven. That’s over 160 pages on the Animal Shapes. 

The Eight Skills
Developed by the Baomin Military Academy, these appeared as secret and powerful skills to intercept with the Animals. They encompass such general but crucial qualities as Spreading and Drilling. 

Next is an empty hand routine that combines and separates energies, so we have a Sparrow Hawk Wheels and Dragon Plays with Tiger. This is a form based on pairing other XY skills. 

Finally, notes and discussion including a nicely organized curriculum for this developmental approach. 

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 Mei Hua Kung Fu

VOLUME III: Weapon and Partner Play
313 pages, photographic illustratons throughout
$35.00,
PLUM PRICE $30.00
Buy all three volumes and get 10% off

This book covers the “grandparent” weapons and open-hand partner play. Over 300 pages on these topics. An “advanced” section like this can often seem too advanced, or not important enough to be included at a high level. For me, even reading the section on weapons improves my understanding of a system or method. This is the case here where the breakdowns contain more than rote information, but also insights on just how sophisticated Chinese Kung Fu can be, Even techniques hundreds of years old, in their original use, would be a sign of high quality movement. 

In addition, here is AnShenPao, to my mind one of the best partner sets ever developed, especially considering its simplicity and directness. 

In this teaching system, fundamental techniques are introduced. All levels of this system reflect one another. This is a good example of a system, not a style. It's the organization of information that so strongly reinforces the entire gamut of Xingyiquan. For instance the Five Element Staff came after a long time of reflection and analysis by top teachers. Curriculum like this—if you are not already wedded to another version—just shows you that some styles fit like lock and key, all parts linking. And, of course, there are a limited number of styles that interact so smoothly.
 

Andrea Falk is a dedicated teacher of Xing Yi and Bagua. She has also contributed to the art by a number of translations in clear and straightforward books. She is a teacher of the Ma Gui style of Bagua Zhang. She has brought important information to general usage through her skills.

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Eagle Claw Kung Fu

SC243 TaiYi Five Posture Daoist Boxing     with VCD
by Wu Sheng
English/Chinese text, illustrations and
accompanying VCD showing exercises also with minimal English/Chinese narration.
$17.95

The TaiYi Daoist Boxing style was developed in the Mt. Laoshan branch of Daoism. It is structured in two parts: Five Element Boxing and Five Animal Boxing. These integrate the boxing movements and health benefits. Among its forefathers is Zhang San Feng the legendary creator of Tai Chi Chuan. Though the movements are of the same Five Animals: Tiger, Dragon, Snake, Crane and Leopard; the movements and some of the theory differ. The five elements are not made to think of as “real” as much as characteristic. Water, for example, penetrates and descends. Dragon helps master “air” or qi and intent. Tiger helps sinews. Snake masters qi and vital energy. Crane is relaxed and sensitive. Leopard has fierce, determined energy which seems to come from the bones. The movements are much more relaxed than Shaolin with other forms that are almost entirely energetic. A different approach to many of these concepts. The martial half of the style is balanced with a deep investigation of health and longevity.

In addition to the form and accompanying VCD, the normal photos of an instruction book are supplanted with charming ink drawings of the proper techniques.

 

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Mei Hua Kung FuKM018
The Mysterious Power of Xingyi Quan
:
by C. S. Tang
regular $49.95, PLUM introductory price $39.95
351 pages, English and some Chinese, softbound, photographs and some illustrations by author

People often thank us at PLUM for what they consider a “labor of love” in creating and maintaining this site. Here is another such labor, a book by Hong Kong based teacher, C. S. Tang. In this case the subject is Xing Yi Quan (including Xin Yi Quan). This is, as stated, “A Complete Guide to History, Weapons and Fighting Skills.”

C. S. Tang is not only a teacher and a writer but also a lineage holder in the Xing Yi universe. This might indeed be the most “complete" source to date. After all, here is a text detailing Xing Yi history, notes on basics, our beloved “tips and songs,” photographic form instruction for routines such as Five Element, 12 Animals, Evolving Form, Zha Zhi, Destructing Form, Two-person Drills, and weapons including those wielding all of the Four Grandparents.

An extra bonus lies in the dedication; Tang outlays the WHOLE Xing Yi story (including the Song XY Clan) with its many branches and teachers, sacrifices and daring escapes. The book is peppered with invaluable aids including notes, songs, aphorisms and a lifetime’s gathering of not only theory but insight. Many is the time when a practice of some technique opens up because a simple saying shows the way. This is a book like that.

Decent photos and a lot of them.

 

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Mei Hua Kung Fu
KX009
Xing Yi Quan of Master Li Gui Chang:
Wu Xing & Lian Huan
by Song Zhi Yong with Tom Bisio,
regular $26.95, PLUM price $24.95
161 pages, English/Chinese text, softbound, oversized with photographs.

The two most famous and practiced forms of Xing Yi are demonstrated and deconstructed here. The English/Chinese text is detailed, clearly written and sophisticated. Because Xing Yi is based on single, repeated actions at first this gives an unusual opportunity to give information in layers, covering many details and technicalities not often found in written form.
 
The first form is the crucial Five Elements pattern. Next is a “mixed” form with the five elements “linked” together in different patterns.
 
In addition, there are some good translations of principles and mechanics. Sometimes a line, even in translation, can be a portal to new levels of skill. Most martial artists who have been around for a while have experienced this. Good big and clear photography with a clean layout. In discussing the elemental nature of Xing Yi and the element theory itself, there is some chance for metaphor and poetry, often learning aids that act in their own special manner.

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Mei Hua Kung FuNEW! KL014
Li Tianji's The Skill of Xingyiquan:
translations by Andrea Falk
regular $34.95, PLUM price $29.95
310 pages, English, softbound, illustrations

This is a teasure trove of the art of Li Yulin through his son, Li Tianji and the capable hands of Andrea Falk. The instruction of the forms such as the Five Elements and the Twelve Shapes is accompanied by back detailed explanations on these practice methods.

The book is basically divided into the following parts:
Background Theory
Basic Techniques
    The Five Elemental Phases: the key to Xing Yi with some nice details on execution and form
    The Twelve Animals: Not just instructions but notes on the spirit and flavor of each animal

"Don't underestimate the chicken just because it is one of the more mundane animals in the list. I spent way too much time playing with them in China, and found them to have an extraordinarily fast, powerful, and accurate attack."

Solo Forms: the famous ZhShiChui and others.
Two Man Forms: One of the most practical in Kung Fu, An Shen Pao
    and a smaller two-person Five Elements duet
Stance Training for Health
Reference Materials
    Songs and Explanations: This is where you find the secrets but you have to dig
them out yourself. Dozens of classic instructions and codes.

Andrea Falk is a dedicated teacher of Xing Yi and Bagua. She has also contributed to the art by a number of translations in clear and straight forward books. She is a teacher of the Ma Gui style of Bagua Zhang.

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Mei Hua Kung FuNEW! KX008 Xin Yi Wu Dao:
by Wu ZhongXian
regular $34.95, PLUM price $29.95
143 pages, English, softbound, oversized with photographs and illustrations

There is almost nothing in English on the Dai Family style of Xin Yi. This book approaches the subject from the specialty of Daoist arts. If you have seen this fist demonstrated you will immediately note the unusual angles and postures. This is explained by the correlation between Dai family Xin Yi practice and Daoist alchemical tradition. Every posture and attitude has a Daoist interpretation. In this book the aspect known as Internal Alchemy counts for much more than the applications, though they are also described. Even if you are already familiar with Xing Yi this book will show you a style rarely seen. Dai style is well known for its odd starting postures and elegant finish postures. The elements look different and are expressed differently. This presentation of the material may be the area where meditation and movement meet. For instance, all the basics of Xing Yi are covered but the elemental forms are divided into yin and yang and emphasize quiet training. In addition there is a section on the Eight Trigrams with each primary change showing a special exercise or Gong. Hun Yun and Dragon body standing are further illuminated. The subtitle gives the hint: "Heart-Mind—The Dao of Martial Arts." Be prepared for a Daoist journey.

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Xing Yi Boxing Manual KX002  The Xing Yi Boxing Manual
Revised and Expanded Edition
Edited by Jin Yun Ting: Compiled by Ling GuiQing: Translated by John Groschwitz
$16.95 Plum price $14.95, 139 pages

"Written in the 1920's, published in 1931, and now available for the first time in English, {this book} clearly explains the concepts and images behind the five elements of XingYi. Compiled by Jun Yun Ting, student of Shang Yun Xiang and Sun Lu Tang and a grand-student of Li Cun Yi, the true boxing classic provides a wealth of information for practically every practitioner including:
Images of each posture • Songs and images of the five elements • the guidelines for practice contained in Xing Yi's "Seven Words" • Essential points of the Six Harmonies and the extremities • Historical notes and biographies..."

Xing Yi Boxing ManualI called this "a decent translation" on the art of Xing Yi when it first came out. Since then Mr. Groschwitz has obtained a fuller edition and added information never before available in English. Many books have the typical "head erect" and "six harmonies" explanations. But this reaches beyond most texts; no one goes to the trouble of translating a book like this because they feel it's unimportant. The many biographical notes alone, make this essential to a well rounded Xing Yi library. Also the inclusion of the original Chinese is a plus. Groschwitz's translation is even better than in the earlier edition. To be honest, many of the writings on Kung Fu from the Qing period are not really as important as they are made out to be. This is the shift from experiential to academic but with solid information back by life long practitioners.

See this in the collector's Chinese reprint series.

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Mei Hua Kung Fu

Shang Yun-Xiang Xing Yi Quan:KS057
by Li Wen-Bin with Zhi-Rong and Shang Li Hong
regular $22.95, PLUM price $19.95
295 pages, English, softbound, oversized with photographs.


Xing Yi is a great style for many reasons. There is nothing quite like the interplay of motion and stillness, or the clarity of the Elements. This book is best suited to the student of XY who wants to delve into the finer points. It has an entire section on the writings and teachings of the masters with some textural analysis among sources. This thorough and scholarly approach is repeated when a section is reserved for discussing XY weapons and which "are" and which "aren't" original to the style. All four of the XY grandparent weapons (which I call the "four Mei Hua Kung Fuesses"—spear, sword, saber and staff) are shown with detailed key points and breakdown. I would have liked to see pictures bigger but I always want to see bigger pictures even in my own books. A major text, one might say a document, on the art of the Five Phases. Worth the money.

This is an English edition of a major Chinese text on Xing Yi Boxing. Li Wen-Bin, a well-known teacher, studied under Grandmaster Shang Yun-Xiang.

Contents:
Search for Missing Points in XY's Origins
Features of Shang style XY
Foundation: Stance and Grips
Five Element Boxing
Five Element Linked Boxing
Traditional XY Weapons:

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Mei Hua Kung FuMei Hua Kung Fu

Xing Yi Quan:
Tu Na Si Ba KX007 
by Song Zhi Yong with Tom Bisio,
regular $24.95, PLUM price $22.95
166 pages, English/Chinese text, softbound, oversized with photographs.

Contents:
Various prefaces by Li Gui Chang, Song Zhi Yong, Tom Bisio and Valerie Ghent; also an interview on this method of Xing Yi Qi Gong with Song Zhi Yong himself.

TuNa respiration with body alignments, coordinating movement and breath...
Intention and Emitting Force
Spontaneous Movement
Internal Movement
FOUR forms of Tu Na Continuous Sequences
Tu Na benefits and Important Considerations
San Ti (Xing Yi's special standing practice)

In addition, Tom Bisio has provided free videos of the four key nei gong sequences. Video reference for the book can be found at http://www.internalartsinternational.com/tu-na-si-ba-videos/.

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Mei Hua Kung Fu

-SC 244 Xing Yi Five Elements and Twelve Animals  
Edited by SuLing,
$17.95 Simplified Chinese Characters;
146 pages, English/Chinese text, illustrations and accompanying VCD showing exercises also with minimal English/Chinese narration.

XingYi developed in the later Ming dynasty has had a strong effect on Chinese Martial Arts. It is a well-structured style based essentially on Five Elements and Twelve Animals. The Five Elements Boxing shown here is so fundamental it is called the Mother Boxing. The Twelve Animals add not only variation but angular changes and even the predatory aspects of the animal qualities. The demonstration in the book is clear and simple, the one on the VCD is Teacher Li SuLing, the editor of the entire masters series.

Note: We have been successful in playing these VCDs using a few different programs—such as VLC and Quicktime—but no one specific app. They also have worked on our stand-alone DVD player.

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Xing Yi Boxing ManualKT057  Taiji, Xing Yi and BaguaQuan by Way of Our Modern Masters   
Mark Small
103 pages, $29.95, oversized

Sifu Mark Small brings the teachings of many instructors together in what might be called a book of comparative principles. Having studied over a forty year period with various instructors such as Chang Tsung-Sheng, “The Butterfly King”; Liang Shou-yu, a Shuai Jiao champion; JouTsung-Hwa, Chen Yun-Ching and Choy Kam Man, he can legitimately claim to know something about his subject.

For instance, here is one important and powerful example: Small shows that the basic fighting posture of all these arts is essentially the same. Further, he demonstrates that this meta-posture can be applied to many throws. He then goes on to enumerate the use of different energies in throwing, including well-known concepts like Warding, Pressing and Plucking. He also offers us a wealth of comparisons between the arts and the styles uncovering key principles used by the various methods. There are so many ideas tucked away in the middle of paragraphs and side notes that the reader will have to be attentive to break them out to apply them. This is a good text for intermediate and advanced martial students.

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Xing Yi of Chinese ArmyKX005 Xing Yi of the Chinese Army

Note: This book has recently been republished in a nice edition by Blue Snake. The newer edition is softbound with 144 pages and contains, in addition to the original text, Hu

This takes its basis from Huang Po Nien's famous "Xing Yi and Weapon Instruction" which, in chapter three, contains the first attempt in writing to apply Chinese martial methods to modern military weapons. It is in this book that Xing Yi is applied to bayonet practice. The author of this book takes this as a beginning. His own experience includes teaching military units, and operating in high threat environments and war zones. He was trained by Colonel Chang Hsiang Wu a former chief instructor of military strategy and Xing Yi at Whampoa Central Military Academy. THIS VOLUME contains translation of Huang original instructions, Rovere's demonstration of the technique a nice section of the original Xing Yi Spear techniques with somewhat restored photographs. All this and a DVD demonstrating the applications of the bayonet techniques. Also there are interesting notes on the entire structuring of Chinese techniques to meet modern needs and threats such as the Japanese invasion.    

Quantity   Reg $16.95 Plum price $15.25 , 144 pages 
Although the DVD is NOT included in this edition, single copies are available for an extra $15.95
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Sun Lu Tang's Xing Yi KX004  Xing Yi Quan Xue (Boxing Studies) : The Study of Form Mind Boxing
by Sun Lu Tang, Translated by Albert Liu
Compiled and Edited by Dan Miller
$24.95, 320 pages

Sun Lu Tang's treatise o n Xing Yi Boxing was published in 1915. His first book it is said to be the first text published publicly in China to integrate the theories of martial arts with Chinese philosophy and Taoist Ch'i cultivation. This started the designation of martial arts into the so-called "internal" schools which some have applauded and some deeply regretted. Nonetheless this is a true classic. This translation has detailed instructions on the Five Mother Fists and the Twelve Animal motions along with a linking set. Mr. Miller has done a service to English speaking students of Xing Yi by producing this work. Included are a detailed biography of Sun and an interview with his daughter Sun Jian Yun.

Click for collector's Chinese language reprint.

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Xing Yi Nei GongKX003 Xing Yi Nei Gong  
Compiled/Edited by
Dan Miller and Tim Cartmell
$24.95, Softbound, 200 pages

Drawing on information from Zhang Bao Yang, Wang Ji Wu and He Yu Qi all students of Wang Ji Wu; Miller and Cartmell have created a text based on Xing Yi but geared toward Nei Gong (Internal Training). Few people today realize that "Chi Kung" is a neologism referring to what has generally been termed Nei Gong for centuries.

In other words "Breath work" was always called "Internal Work". What's the diff ? Nei Gong implies a greater discipline, more power and most importantly a more rigorous application of the principles with more formal structure. Chi Kung implies a watered down version one might teach one's grandmother if she's had no previous training. There is a place for either but, with the sudden popularity of "Chi Kung" it is refreshing to see this admittedly technical but basically sound text on the subject from a Xing Yi Boxing standpoint.

Included are sections on: Wang Ji Wu and his lineage
LiuHe (6 Harmony) Xing Yi written transmission
Xing Yi Standing Practice
Health and Strengthening Exercises from Xing Yi.

Take a look at Tim Cartmell's DVD  of this series.

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Xing YI Boxing KH002 Hsing Yi Quan Illustrated
Li Shuang
$16.95, 213 pages

This book is very straight forward and cocked full of information. While the text is bare bones it has the advantage of everything being en face, that is to say English and traditional Chinese side by side. A number of forms are covered including Five Elements, 12 Animals, The Famous AN SHEN PAO Duet, Mutual Restraint Duet and the less common Three Hand Pao. Cut out photos floating on the page give the presentation a 70's look. No history, just instruction. Demonstrations of the movements is by Yeung Sin Kwan, a former Wushu coach in Suzhou.

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Xing Yi Internal StrengthKS002 The Science of Internal Strength
by Zhang Nai Qi
Translated by Marcus Brinkman
$24.95, 72 pages

This is a translation of a book originally published in 1933. It is a thin but very interesting volume: essentially an essay on the practice of internal arts. Most books in the martial field are instructional but there are a few such as Adam Hsu's and Daniel Furuya's which are reflective, based on an self-awareness of the nature of practice. This book is one of the best we've seen attempting to explain the rationale of standing practice, relaxation, internal studies etc. It originally garnered some ire from that other outspoken group, the Yi Quan members. But many of the ideas have been adopted since its initial publication. Still, there is much fresh and honest material here.

Excerpt: "In fact, the so called dan tian is neither a point of concentration or a point of tension. Disciples of the Tung Shan sect, while in sitting meditation concentrate upon the area between the eyes, therefore their dan tian is between the eyes. For others who practice cultivating qi and internal strength boxers who concentrate upon the tension of the abdomen, it is therefore located below the navel...."

See our "second look" review here

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Here are further translations of important Xing Yi texts, all by Joseph Crandall