Xing (acting) Zhang (palm)" is a special Kung-fu in practicing the circulation of your Qi (inner breathing and strength) derived from Shao Lin temple. It was created by Xingyin Da Shi (senior master) while it has been rarely imparted to anyone else apart from a few monks in the temple.
Within the period of the Qing Dynasty, She Genii, one of the disciples of the master went to make a living in Zhongshan passing down this Quan to Xu Yi. And in turns, Xu Yi taught Du Yuxun, from Du to Zheng Yanbin and Zheng's brother, from Zheng Yanbin to my father Liu Yuting. My father then imparted the Quan to my brothers Liu Jinghuan, Lu Zhenyu, Liu Shengyuan and me. My eldest brother and I, are two of his disciples belonging to the sixth generation. Here I will share my own understanding and experience in practicing the Quan.
"Xing Zhang" integrates the Gong Fa (the methods of Kung-fu practicing), fighting techniques and methods in preserving health. All its movements are soft, swift, flexible simple, with a perfect natural sense. Practicing the Quan, you will have your mind controlling all your actions with your forming and your spirit integrated. Even if your forming is not hold constant, your intention is required to be continuous. It looks stiff from an outside view, while it resolves Tai Ji (here representing a softer approach initiating strength) from your within. Strength in also stressed on in practicing. You will experience the process of sending out external strength, then internal strength and finally converting the opponent’s force.
A saying that “Yu You(as swift as a fish) Xia Za(as Pricky as a shrimp) Xie Fu Si(as hard as a crap)” is the unique method of Xing Zhang to refine your Nei Gong (interior Kung-fu), to build your body, to convert interior strength and to practice your attacking-defending techniques. Practicing the Quan, you should have your Qi held in your Dan Tian (an acupoint in your navel), concentrate your mind and converge your Qi following the Quan theory and instruction. Keep practicing it for ages you will enter a state of "combining Yin and Yang, easy transforming between firmness and softness".
"Zhong (middle) He (associated and balanced)" is the truth of any kind of Kung-fu and is reflected in the many aspects. For instance, in exerting your strength, it means a balanced association of your firmness and softness; in attacking, it is to strike your opponent by your intention without any anxious feeling in a hurry. Master Xing Yin was a great monk in understanding and practicing of Kung-fu. Having a thorough and in-depth understanding of the essence and principle of Kung-fu, he created Xing Zhang based on the theory of "associated and balanced". It technical concept of "retaining calmness, withholding flexibility; seeming to be un-ambitious but with ambition within indeed" always embodies the application of "associated and balanced". This is exactly where the essence of Chinese Kung-fu lies in.
"Xing Zhang" has seventy-two forms. Foot work is often done in eight-inch straight stepping, T-shaped steeping, small bow stepping and small four flat stepping while the latter three having their front in emptiness and the back, firmness. It could train both your bones and muscles in the above foot work. Hand form includes falchion-shape palming, angle-shape palming, palm back and finger. In actual fighting, you could hit your opponent by falchion-shape palming, angle-shape palming and palm back and, point and stick him with your middle finger. Most of the leg techniques are kicking with heel and shoveling.
Nei Gong is the core of the Quan while your physical practicing like grasping walnuts, inserting into mung bean stack and, hitting sandy dishware are all required to train your bones and muscles. In this way, you could practice both your interior as well as your exterior.
"Xing Zhang" is too delicate and profound to be explained well further more. Practicing it hard for ages, I could only comprehend a little. I hope our next generation of Xing Zhang could continue the pursuit of its delicacy and profoundness as well and to develop it.