Yiquan, also known as Dachengquan, is a Chinese martial art founded by the Xingyiquan master Wang Xiangzhai (王薌齋). "Yi" (意) means Intent (but not intention), "Quan" (拳) means boxing.

Also known asDacheng quan, I Chuan, Mind Boxing
Country of originChina China
CreatorWang Xiangzhai
Famous practitionersHan Xing Chiao
Han Xing Yuen
Shao Dao Sheng
ParenthoodBaguazhang, Liuhebafa, Tai chi, Xingyiquan, Fujian White Crane, Shuai jiao
Olympic sportNo
Literal meaning"Mind Boxing"
Literal meaning"Great Achievement Boxing"


Having studied Xing Yi Quan with Guo Yunshen in his childhood,[1] Wang Xiangzhai travelled China, meeting and comparing skills with masters of various styles of kung fu.[1] In the mid-1920s, he came to the conclusion that Xingyiquan students put too much emphasis on complex patterns of movement (outer form 'xing'), while he believed in the prevalent importance of the development of the mind in order to boost physical martial art skills. [2] He started to teach what he felt was the true essence of the art using a different name, without the 'xing' (form). Wang Xiangzhai, who had a great knowledge about the theory and history of his art, called it "Yiquan" (意拳). In the 1940s one of Wang Xiangzhai's students wrote an article about his "school" and named it "Dachengquan" (大成拳), which means "great achievement boxing". This name was not used by Wang Xiangzhai. Wang thought the name was a poor choice as it was boastful and not very descriptive of the intent.[3]

In the 1930s in Shanghai, Wang's school became famous. A few of his core students were training with him at that time. Brothers Han Xing Qiao and Han Xing Yuan,[4] Shao Dao Sheng (perhaps Wang's most accomplished student), all came together during this period. Han Xing Qiao, who was formally adopted by Wang as a son and lived with him for 15 years, was studying One Finger Tui Na with Qian Yan Tang, a famous scholar and doctor. Wang Xiangzhai and Qian Yan Tang hit it off and studied medicine and culture together, becoming brothers in researching many mysteries. It was here that Qian introduced the idea that further exploration of Zhan Zhuang, a standing practice first and most foundationally taught by Wang's uncle and teacher Guo You Sheng, might be fundamental to the development of Yiquan.

Wang Xiangzhai researched this idea in Qian's library, which was full of classic texts. Wang was always changing the practice and method of Yiquan, always innovating, based on natural principles. Much of the development of Yiquan was done in Shanghai. With the help of Han Xing Qiao, Wang set the Zhan Zhuang in order, creating a system seven stages. Later, the basic eight postures were refined into Ju, Bao, Peng, Tway, An, Hua, Ti and closing with Jia So Su. These basic eight postures are still the core of Zhang Zhuang.

When Wang Xiangzhai (and later Han Xing Chiao) moved to Beijing, Han found that Wang was only teaching three Zhuang. Bao is the universal Zhuang, and so Wang only really taught Bao from that point on. Most of the other practices were dropped as well (for example, push hands and Fa Li). However, students still tried to use Fa Li improperly. When the students saw Wang move fast, they thought of it as Fa Li, or issuing force. There is actually no difference in practicing fast or slow.[citation needed] There is no force at all.[dubious ] The misconception is caused by the mind. The mind conceives of the result as based in two different states, hard and soft, as well as fast and slow. As long as the mind clings to this dualistic model, the student will break everything into two. But the moment of experience is only one.[citation needed] Wang continued development of his art, but few, if any, could follow. Only those who could grasp the one state, and keep it, can move with it. Schools that were founded by students who never progressed this far are numerous to this day. This has always been the social factor of true transmission.

The styleEdit

Yiquan is essentially formless, containing no fixed sets of fighting movements or techniques. Instead, focus is put on developing one's natural movement and fighting abilities through a system of training methods and concepts, working to improve the perception of one's body, its movement, and of force. Yiquan is also set apart from other eastern martial arts in that traditional concepts like qi, meridians, dantian etc., are omitted, the reason being that understanding one's true nature happens in the present, and that preconceptions block this process.

Yiquan is a distillation of the internal aspects at the core of all arts that Wang was exposed to, including Fujian hèquán, T'ai chi ch'uan, bāguàzhǎng, and Liuhebafa[citation needed]. Other arts as well, such as the swimming dragon posture, present in shiao jiao, is transformed through feeling, understanding, and the condition of the practitioner[citation needed]. In fact, typical movements and postures from other systems abound in yiquan. It was the internal core of these other arts that made them effective. This core is what Master Wang decoded.


The actual training in yiquan can generally be divided into:

  • Zhan zhuang (站樁) Standing pole postures where emphasis is put on natural condition, working to improve listening to the body and on developing hunyuan li, "Natural living force" or "all things that make the whole".
  • Shi li (試力) Testing force moving exercises, trying to bring the sensations of hunyuan li developed through Zhan zhuang into movements.

All of the other practices can be put into one of these two methods.

Different schools practice some degree of different footworks, (Bu Fa and Mo ca Bu), and different movements leading towards free expression of the collected state.

Principle of Nature: All truth and action occur in Shunjian, the split second of now. Everything before and after this moment is 'Wu', the Void, and thus, uncontrollable or unknowable. All objective and preconception is fixed and not in accordance with this undetermined state of Nature. "The Dao that is called the Dao is not the eternal Dao".

Important Figures and noteable practitionersEdit

  • Wang Xiangzhai - founder of style
  • Yao Zongxun (1917-1985), a native of Hangzhou County, Zhejiang Province. A famous martial artist in modern China. Writer of "Yiquan-Chinese Modern Practical Boxing."[5]
  • Han Xingyuan (1915-1983), a native of Hebei Province with the word Ruoshui, was a disciple of Wang Xiangzhai. He and his brother Han Xingqiao were both inheritors of Yiquan and passed Yiquan to Hong Kong.
  • You Pengxi (Professor Pengsi Yu), (1902-1983), professor of medicine, famous for "Empty Force". He is disciple of Wang Xiangzhai and lived in the United States following the Cultural Revolution.
  • Kenichi Sawai (1903–1988) - Japanese martial artist and associate of Mas Oyama, the founder of Kyokushin Karate. Sawai visited Beijing in 1939 to challenge Wang Xiangzhai. He made several attempts to defeat Wang, but Sawai was soundly defeated each time. Kenichi subsequently applied to study under Wang and Yao Zongxun. Kenichi subsequently returned to Japan, where he introduced a slightly modified version of yiquan which he called Taikiken. [6][7][8]

See AlsoEdit


  1. ^ a b The Way Of Power, Lam Kam Chuen, Gaia Books, 2003
  2. ^ Jan Diepersloot. "The Tao of Yiquan. The Method of Awareness in the Martial Arts. ISBN 0-9649976-1-4. page 69, pages 73-74.
  3. ^ Jan Diepersloot. "The Tao of Yiquan. The Method of Awareness in the Martial Arts. ISBN 0-9649976-1-4. pages 78-79.
  4. ^ "Genealogy". Canada Yiquan Society. Retrieved 2016-09-26.
  5. ^ "Yiquan-Chinese Modern Practical Boxing", ISBN 7-81003-202-X
  6. ^ Martial Arts of the World: R-Z. ABC-CLIO. p. 776. ISBN 978-1-57607-150-2.
  7. ^ Chris Crudelli (1 October 2008). The Way of the Warrior. Dorling Kindersley Limited. p. 87. ISBN 978-1-4053-3095-4.
  8. ^ Guangxi Wang (9 March 2012). Chinese Kung Fu. Cambridge University Press. p. 90. ISBN 978-0-521-18664-3.

Further readingEdit

  • Jonathan Bluestein (2014). Research of Martial Arts. Amazon CreateSpace. ISBN 978-1499122510.
  • Bruce Frantzis (2007). The Power of Internal Martial Arts and Chi: Combat and Energy Secrets of Ba Gua, Tai Chi and Hsing-I. Blue Snake Books. ISBN 978-1583941904.
  • Jan Diepersloot (2000). The Tao of Yiquan: The Method of Awareness in the Martial Arts. Qi Works. ISBN 978-0964997615.

External linksEdit