Bruce Frantzis demonstrating Hsing-I with Jess O’Brien
In my 40+ years of working with different forms of energy arts I have found that Hsing-I’s (also called xing yi) first form known as Santi is probably the most powerful method I am aware of that integrate all the elements of your body into one whole. Hsing-I practices like Santi also help your chi develop in the fastest possible process.
Considering the number of different martial and chi development forms on the market this is no small thing. I myself have trained and looked at hundreds of qigong styles. In my opinion, Santi is much stronger and more effective at chi development than any of the standing tai chi postures or any of the standing qigong postures…
What are Hsing-I and Santi?
Hsing-I is one of China’s most powerful martial arts. The oldest of the internal methods, it uses standing qigong ( also chi gung) and short, repetitive line forms to fully unify the body and mind as quickly and efficiently as possible. Without fancy or beautiful movements, Hsing-I is all about getting the job done without any wasted motion.
Hsing-I is based on the Chinese theory of the Five Elements where all the different aspects of movement can be boiled down to five different elements.
Santi is the first of Hsing-I’s training methods. The Santi posture is a standing posture where the practitioner begins the process of stretching the body from the inside out. At the same time the mind is trained to submerge itself in a state of relaxed awareness that allows one to be awake to of all that is outside them, and at the same time gain access to the inner workings of their body and mind.
Activating the Five Elements in Your Body
Santi basically starts to work with everything in your body — your breath, your energy, what you’re doing with your eyes, and what you’re doing in mind, all in one package.
From Santi standing qigong (chi gung), one can then begin to develop the rest of the Hsing-I system, which is composed of five different moving forms. Each of those forms correspond to each of the five elements of the body. Each time you practice, you activate an energetic element within your body. Over time you begin to feel and experience the five elements of Metal, Water, Wood, Fire and Earth.
Each element has a specific energetic that manifests in your body. Each of these elements also corresponds to different fighting applications, a different emotion and a different internal organ. The system is very concise and powerful training.
The purpose here is to use those five movements of Hsing-i to give you a practical form that you can practice afterwards. Like the Tai Chi forms, these are martial movements but they are incredibly useful for anyone who does any sort internal martial art or qigong/tai chi practice.
Summer Workshop – Two Paths
During the course I’ll be teaching this summer, I’ll be dealing with not only how to do the movements of the five elements, but also how to activate the energy of each of those elements inside of you.
I will be splitting everyone into two sections. In one section will be those who have no interest in the martial art side of it. If you have interest in the energetic and the mind work in developing the five elements of energy inside their body this is one of the most direct ways to get your mind and the elements to awaken inside your body. It is a powerful way to strengthen and connect all the parts of your body. For the western mind, it is an incredible training if you want to learn to get things done and to go through any obstacle in your way.
In the other group will be people who have an interest in the energetics as well as wanting to learn how the martial art techniques of Hsing-I are used. I would also say that Santi is a great training method for anyone who wishes to learn Ba Gua at a high level. Santi is one of the most solid foundations you can get, and both myself and many of my teachers used Santi in this way.
In China around 100 years ago, it is interesting to note that many of the premier internal martial arts schools taught Santi to their beginning students in order for them to start getting a genuine sense of internal power. This was the traditional path. They would to do Santi for a long period of time with or without the other forms of Hsing-I.
Hsing-I as a Complementary Practice for Bagua, Tai Chi and Qigong
In China, Hsing-I practices were often a prerequisite to learning Ba gua zhang so that a person could actually have the energetic capacity and physical capability to put their arms in precise positions as they walked the Ba Gua circle and not lose the physical or energetic connections when movements become or complex or are done at a higher speed. This is how many of my teachers were trained.
For those who practice Tai Chi and/or Qigong, Hsing-I and five element practices can be useful to learn. They are also an integral part of the foundation training for meditation to develop concentration and focus. So, that will be the goal this summer, and that will be what the essential content of the weekend will be about.
Discovering and awakening the five elements within oneself is a tremendously powerful and enriching training method, no matter what aspect of the Chinese energy arts you want to work with.
I am looking forward to expanding my teaching of Hsing-I and Santi as well as continuing to teach Ba Gua for those wanting to learn it for martial arts, health and meditation. I welcome interest from dedicated practitioners who are committed to their practice and also those starting out wanting to learn the real deal. This course will help you to build a solid foundation for everything that comes after. I invite you to join me this summer at this powerful workshop: