Unlocking the Secrets of Xingyiquan’s Santi Shi: A Comprehensive Guide


Xingyiquan, one of the most revered Chinese martial arts, is deeply rooted in Daoist philosophy and the principles of Yin and Yang. At the heart of this martial art lies the Santi Shi posture, a foundational stance that serves as the gateway to mastering Xingyi. This blog post aims to shed light on the intricacies of Santi Shi, exploring its philosophical underpinnings, essential techniques, and practical applications.

The Three Elements: Heaven, Earth, and Man

“Santi” translates to the three elements of heaven, earth, and man. In the context of martial arts, these elements symbolize the head, hands, and feet. Each element is further divided into three sections:

  • Waist: The root section, further divided into the outer waist and the inner Dantian.
  • Spine: The middle section, with the back as the outer section and the heart as the inner section.
  • Head: The top section, with the head as the outer section and the “Ni Wan” acupoint as the inner section.

These divisions align with the “Nine Numbers” in the Luoshu, a Daoist scripture that explains the origins of the universe.

The Golden Elixir: The Internal Strength of Xingyi

The Daoist scripture describes the Dao as originating from the void, leading to the unity of Yin and Yang, which then gives birth to the three elements. This process is known as the “Golden Elixir,” representing the internal strength in Xingyi martial arts. Contrary to popular belief, this internal strength is not a tangible force but a profound understanding that practitioners should strive to grasp.

Essentials of Practicing Xing Yi Quan

To master Santi Shi, one must adhere to the following essentials:

  1. Sink the Waist: Raises the yang qi through the Governing Vessel.
  2. Contract the Shoulders: Withdraws power back from both shoulders.
  3. Tuck in the Chest: Opens up the chest and guides the descending yin qi through the Conception Vessel.
  4. Lift: Refers to lifting the tongue, the head, and the hands.
  5. Raise: Refers to raising the Qi inside the body.
  6. Horizontal and Vertical Movements: Understand their importance.
  7. Rising, Plunging, Falling, and Overturning: Distinguish clearly between these movements.

Necessary Requirements of Zhan Zhuang

  • Head Rises
  • Neck Straight
  • Shoulders Drop
  • Hips Embrace
  • Forearms Wrap the Elbows
  • Lift the Knees
  • Lift the Perineum
  • Palms Retracting Inwardly

The Precision of Wu Xing Quan (Five Elements Fist)

Wu Xing Quan is a precise technique that explains the body’s various parts, from the shoulders to the anus. It covers:

  1. Body: Importance of posture
  2. Shoulders: Vital role in extending strength
  3. Arms: Balance between bending and straightening
  4. Hands: Proper positioning and force
  5. Fingers: Shape and strength
  6. Hips: Maintaining a stable stance
  7. Feet: Proper alignment and grip
  8. Tongue: Role in Qi circulation
  9. Anus: Importance in leading Qi to the extremities


Santi Shi is not just a posture but a comprehensive system that encapsulates the essence of Xingyiquan. Understanding and mastering this stance is crucial for any serious practitioner of this martial art. By delving into its complexities, one can truly grasp the essentials of Xing Yi Quan and unlock the path to Dao.

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