Xing Yi part 1
We’ve been building up to this episode of the Heretics podcast for a while, but we’ve finally got there. Here it is, the history of the martial art of Xing Yi, right from the very beginnings.
Damon heads back to the Tang Dynasty to dig into the historical conditions that gave rise to the Song Dynasty and influenced the eventual creation of Xingyi, specifically the An Lushan Rebellion (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/An_Lushan_Rebellion) and its disastrous consequences (some scholars have estimated that we lost a 6th of the world’s population! Although that figure remains controversial) and the subsequent rise of the Wen and Li traditions in the new Song Dynasty, and how this was going to influence the mother of a certain young commoner who hadn’t even been born yet, but whose name would come to be known throughout all of China – Yue Fei.
This is probably starting a lot further back than most people would imagine a history of Xingyi would begin, but we’re not in a rush – we’re going to do it right, placing everything in its historical context. Lots of detail and lots of depth.
I’ll update this post with each new episode.
Xing Yi part 2
In this episode the look at the early life of Yue Fei, some of the factors that link him to the Li Movement, the meaning of some of the symbolism surrounding him, and the reasons for the transition between the Northern Song and Southern Song Dynasties.
Xing Yi part 3
In part 3 of our series on Xing Yi, we look at how the Li movement influenced Yue Fei and other Song generals in formulating effective strategies for use against the Jin, and how they managed to challenge the previously unbeatable dominance of the Jin cavalry. We also discuss the rise to power of chancellor Chin Hui in the regime of Emperor Gaozong.
Xing Yi part 4
We come at last to the great general Yue Fei’s greatest victories, and ultimate betrayal and death – at the hands of corrupt officials on his own side.
Here’s the picture by Fan Kuan ‘Travelers amongst mountains and streams’ which gets a mention often:
The Rainbow Bridge
Not strictly part of the series, but a whole episode about the industrial revolution of the Song Dynasty using the famous painting “Along the river at the Ching Ming festival” as a window into the past.
We return to China in the Song Dynasty, looking through the eyes of artist Zhang Zeduan at the vibrant economy that developed among the common people while their confucian rulers were distracted by external events, and the nascent Industrial Revolution that it gave rise to, which lasted until the early part of the Ming Dynasty.
This link gives you access to the whole scroll to look at as you listen. It’s 17 foot long!
Xingyi Part 5
In this episode we examine the work of the Confucian Scholar Zhu Xi, who lived during the time period we have reached in the narrative (during the Song Dynasty). His philosophy did not impact Xing Yi until centuries later, but when it did, the effect was a large one, so this episode sets the scene for other episodes to come.
Zhu Xi was responsible for what we call the “Woo Woo Tai Chi world view”. If you practice Tai Chi, or almost any of the Chinese martial arts that had input from the intellectual class, then you need to know about Zhu Xi, although you might not like what we’ve got to say about him
Xing Yi part 6
In this episode examine the life of Yue Fei’s best friend, General Han Shizhong, and the circumstances immediately following the death of Yue Fei. We also take a look at the the life of Han’s heroic wife, Liang Hongyu, and internal politics of the Jin Empire at that time.
Xing Yi part 7After looking at the rise of the Mongol Empire for a few episodes my Heretics podcast has come back around to looking at Xing Yi and in particular the use of weapons, military strategy and armour in the Song Dynasty armies.
Part 7 starts with a rebuke to the criticism “You haven’t even got to talking about Xing Yi yet!” then looks at some animal-based military strategy. These are the same strategies that are used in the Xing Yi animals today.
In particular, we look at Ma Xing – Horse strategy – but also look at Snake (She Xing) and Eagle (Ying Xing).
Xing Yi Part 8
Part 8 looks at Chinese armour in more detail, but also talks about Xing Yi fighting tactics in relation to armour and how the armour influences the way the art works – stepping, continuous movement, minimal movement, twisting the fist in Tzuann, etc…
There are two versions of part 8, the first is for public consumption, available here:
and we got into some controversial topics at the end of the episode, so the full version is reserved for our Heretics/Woven Energy Patrons ($5 and up):
Here’s some nice Song Dynasty style armour a google search turned up
Like Damon says, you could show that to a ‘normal’ person and tell them it’s Samurai armour and they would probably believe you 🙂
Also, here’s an interesting clip showing how effective Lamellar designed armour was. This design is taken from the much earlier Tang Dynasty armour:
Xing Yi part 9
In this episode we discuss the role of General Zhang Jun in the survival of Yue Fei’s tradition, as well as in the survival of members of Yue Fei’s extended family. We also discuss how Zhang Jun managed to protect himself from the purges carried out by Qin Hui.