Based on reliable information, Chinese Tai Ji Fist began between the late Ming Dynasty and beginning of Qing Dynasty. It was created by Chen Wang Ting (1600 – 1680), who was born in Chen Jia Gou Village, Wen County, Henan Province. He was skilled in academic and martial arts studies. He did research in Qi Ji Guang (1528 – 1587) military book (Quan Jing) in Ming Dynasty, and collected Quan skills from [the Society of Common People]. He also did research in “Dao’s” book (Huang Ting Jing), and based on Chinese traditional philosophy (Zhou Yi’s) Tai Ji Yin Yang theory he created “Tai ji Quan”.
The whole Boxing (Quan) system consists in 29 system out of 32 from (Quan Jing) and some boxing system from the society (?). Internal system was based on Doa Jia’s (Huang Ting Jing). “Huang Ting” is the other name for “Dantian”. So in “Quan Theory,” it includes everything from Yin Yang balance, yin in yang, yang in yin, and yin yang exchange, to yin yang overlap, and so on. During practice, it focuses on Yin Yang exchange, i.e. spirals. Tai Ji Quan includes Dao Jia’s inhale, exhale, leading, and moving of Dan Tian. So it is an unique martial art for improving health, building the body, protecting, nurturing character, and so on.
It has been over 300 years since Chen style Tai Ji Quan was founded. From Chen Yu Ting (9th generation of Chen Family, 1st generation of Tai Ji Quan), Tai Ji Quan handed down to Chen Chang Xing (1771 – 1853) who was 14th generation of Chen Family, 6th generation of Tai Ji Quan. Until that time, Tai Ji Quan was consolidated into the first set and second set. They are traditional Tai Ji Quan, the 1st set and 2nd set that are still practiced today. Tai Ji Quan has developed different branches such as: Yang Style, Wu Style (I), Wu Style (II), Sun style and so on. Only since Chen Chang Xing’s generation, has Tai Ji Quan stated to be taught to practitioners outside of the Chen Family.
1. The Development of Henan Ma Style Xin Yi Six Harmony Quan
Henan Ma Style Xi Yi is also known as "Xin Yi Six Harmony Quan", "Xin Yi Men", "Xin Yi Quan", "Six Harmony Quan", and
"The Art of Protecting the Dust of the Cave".
According to legend, this style was created by Yue Fei, a famous general during the Southern Song Period. Legend has it that
all of General Yue Fei's troops were well versed in Xin Yi Quan. They would use it against soldiers of Jing for many victories.
Unfortunately, an imbecile emperor and devious imperial councilors murdered General Yue Fei. After the Jing annexed Zhong Yuen
(Middle Ground, Middle Pasture), they ordered the prohibition of the practice of Xin Yi Quan. Consequently, this style was almost lost
forever during the Yuen and Ming Dynasties.
At the end of the Ming Dynasty, Ji Ji Ke (alias Ji Long Fong) of Sanxi Pu Province was searching for teachers when he met a Yi Re
(lit. extraordinary or unusual person) on Zhong Nan Mountain, who have him the manuscripts of General Yue Fei. After practising day and
night, Ji Ke achieved high level understanding and skills, and taught this style to the next generation.
According to the historical records of Henan Xin Yi lineage holders: During the end of the Ming Dynasty and the beginning of the Qing Dynasty,
Ma Xue Li of the Islamic tribe of Henan Nan Yang City learned of the profound skills of Xin Yi Quan. He then went to the house of Ji Long Fong
in San Xi, with the intention of studying under Ji. However, he was afraid that Ji would not teach him. He therefore pretended to be mute, and
stayed at Ji's house as a servant for three years while secretly learning the style. When he was found out, Master Ji was impressed by his tenacity
and therefore taught Ma everything that he knew. This is how Ma Xue Li received all the indepth knowledge of Xin Yi.
After Master Ma finished his training with Ji, he returned to Henan and started the "Henan Style" Xin Yi Six Harmony Quan. He taught Ma San Yuen,
Ma Xing, Zhang Zhi Chen, and others. After that, Zhang Zhi Chen taught Li Zhen from Lu Shan, Li Zhen taught Zhang Ju from Lu Shan,
Zhang Ju taught Mai Zhuang Tu of Lu Shan, Mai Zhuang Tu taught An Da Qing of Chang An, and also Yuen Fong Yi, Sang Xue Li, and others.
This began the lineage of the Henan Xin Yi Six Harmony Quan.
The Specialty and Fundamentals of Ma Style Xin Yi
Since Ma Xue Li of Lua Yong, Henan received the lineage of Xin Yi Quan, the last few hundred years
have seen Henan Xin Yi Six Harmony Quan become one of the biggest branches of Xin Yi Quan.
Xin Yi Six Harmony Quan is so named because it follows the principles of using mind and intent as the center,
and using limbs, body, and shapes/forms/postures externally. It requires the body to follow the "six postures":
Chicken Leg (Step), Dragon Waist, Bear Shoulders, Eagle Claws, Tiger Holds its Head, and the Sound of Thunder.
Emphasis is placed on "Internal and External three harmonies". "Internal three harmonies" are: mind harmonizes
with intent (xin and yi), intent harmonizes with chi (yi and chi), and chi harmonizes with strength/power (chi and li).
"External three harmonies" are: hands harmonize with feet, elbow harmonize with knees, and shoulders harmonize
with the "kua" (hip). This will lead to the synchronization of hard and soft "jing" (energy), and internal and external
power working as one.
The form/set in Xin Yi which mimics the ten animals: Chicken, Dragon, Tiger, Snake, Swallow, Hawk, Horse, Monkey,
Eagle, and Bear, is called "Shi Da Zhen Hsing" (Ten Animal Form). Within the form, the two basic/root animals are
Eagle and Bear. Eagle is mostly used for attacking and capturing. Bear is mostly used for defending and guarding.
To neglect these two animals will mean that your martial art has lost its true colour/flavour.
The sets/forms are mainly practiced alone; there are no sparring sets/forms. After starting the set, one practices on
the left and right sides, moving from side to side, moving forward in a "straight" line. When winding up for an attack,
one must maintain sideways body. When attacking with fist or palm, one must use the waist energy to move the shoulder,
then in turn, use the shoulder to move the elbow, the elbow to move the hand, with the hand hitting relaxed and shaking.
The hands are never far away from the cheeks, and the elbows are never far away from the ribs. When hitting with the palms,
all the fingers must be open wide. When hitting with both palms, the two thumbs are tightly clasped together. Keep the six
directions within the body, sink the shoulders and sit the elbows. Suck in the chest and expand the back, as if
you have have a Chinese wok on your back. Pull up the head, and push the tongue up to the top of the inside of the mouth.
Contract and sit the body down, then forcefully stretch and straighten the body up, opening and closing like a spring.
When using a technique, the energy releases with the release of the sound. The sound is "yee". When striking an opponent,
you only hit the most vulnerable areas, with ferocious movements and quick release of energy. "Hit up to the throat,
hit middle to the heart, lift from bottom up to hit the groin." Always use all seven fists to strike, causing the opponent to be
unable to retaliate after he is struck.
There are two different methods/ways in the teaching of Xin Yi Quan: "The drilling and spiraling method", and "the covering/
wrapping method". The drilling and spiraling method refers to: close in with the body, entering with protection, leaning into
the opponent's center for the strike. This method exerts high demands for spiraling, turning, twisting, and inserting of the middle
joint. It is mainly suitable for people who are smaller in stature and are more nimble. The covering/wrapping method, as
its name implies, refers to: striking and hitting from top to down, and pressing down and hitting. This method requires more natural
strength of the practitioner, and the harmonization of the points/tips and joints, and is therefore more suitable for people
who are taller and stronger. When a master teaches his students, he usually chooses the teaching method according to
the natural ability of the student. This is why there is a rule in Xin Yi Men (School/System) which states that even students
under the same teacher may not exchange techniques and knowledge with each other.