Yiquan - a martial art as sweet as honey

Bu Yi


We use to say that Yiquan is Wenhuaquan - the Fist of Culture, i.e. a martial art based on culture, on science. Why? Well, you need to be very intelligent to be able to understand and master Yiquan. Yiquan is realy rich in content, learning it takes a long time, even a lifetime. My teacher says, "Learning Yiquan means eating very bitter". It is not enough to chat in online groups and brag about being an Yiquan practitioner. Of course, if talking just about the basics or about practice for health, there is nothing difficult in it. But if you want to get to the level where there really is some deeper meaning, it's not going to be that easy anymore.


Yiquan is a very unique system. Its training methods include zhan zhuang, shi li, shi sheng, bufa, fa li, tui shou, san shou – all of them making one complete system. Many practitioners only learn the basics, getting to know Yiquan only very superficially. Very often they don't even have a teacher with whom they could learn the whole system in depth. Many only casually learn some excersises from someone in some park, listen a bit to some lectures, read some texts. They might practice and it seems that they are practicing Yiquan, but in fact they remain laymen for years. In tui shou and san shou they have no experience whatsoever, so they only talk nonsense about it, but still they like to teach others. They have no skills themselves, live their fantasies, but often they criticize genuine experts whose teachings do not belong to their fantasy world.


Yiquan is an art that requires a very realistic attitude. When you master it, you will reach the level of true art. It also contains some knowledge from Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism, but the most important are the seven groups of basic training methods. The practitioner should be able to see what is really essential and what is just a surface. Because I notice that some people learn the basics of Yiquan, read the books of its creator Wang Xiangzhai in which he tries to subjectively describe the feelings of the highest level, but then instead of systematically learning to get closer to that level, they start wearing Buddhist necklaces and rosaries, chant mantras, do sitting practices, posing as Buddhist or Taoist monks. It is difficult to find a common language with those who have learned only the basics, but have reached the level of ... being fully convinced that they possess the highest knowledge.


Bu Yi and Yao Chengguang


While learning Yiquan, you have to be honest and realistic, no matter if you are practicing Yiquan as a martial art or training only for your health, if doing Yiquan as an amateur, after work, or professionally. If you want to be really good at it, it will take time and sweat, you have to be ready to "eat bitter." My teacher Yao Chengguang says: "To master the highest level in Yiquan is like reaching the top of a high mountain - being at the base of the mountain you cannot even imagine what views you will see from the top". Few of the martial arts practitioners can go there, and certainly not those internet warriors who are not able of undertaking long-term systematic learning.


Presently in our society the saying is popular: "You will not understand what satisfies a rich man." Let me paraphrase it: "You won't understand what is satisfying in learning Yiquan." But if you want to understand, just study diligently, systematically, persistently.


Author: Bu Yi – Yiquan instructor from Yuncheng, Shanxi province


Translated from chinese by Andrzej Kalisz

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