What is Yi Chuan?

Master Cheuk Fung demonstrates Yi Chuan's explosive power

Yi Chuan (also known as "Yi Quan" or "Da Cheng Chuan") is a solid, down to earth martial arts style from China that is attracting practitioners world-wide.

For most people the term "Chinese Martial Arts" conjures up images of Shaolin Monks performing their powerful and stylized forms or the soft, slowly-moving postures of the Tai Chi player. Yi Chuan is different. Rather than transmitting understanding through techniques and choreography the method provides its students a framework to discover and cultivate whole-body or "Hunyuan" strength as the foundation for improving health, strength, energy and self-defense capacity.

The name "Yi Chuan" translates roughly to "Intention Fist" in English. The creator of Yi Chuan, Grandmaster Wang Sheng Chai, sought to strip out unnecessary and misleading martial arts theories and practices to help students achieve results faster and more consistently. As the name implies Yi Chuan is designed around using intention to activate and express Hunyuan strength in any movement or posture. In stark contrast to other Martial Arts, Yi Chuan's methodology uses no fixed forms, routines or exercises.

Yi Chuan teaches appropriate utilization of space and gravity through a balanced body structure. Students learn how to use "Yi" or mind intent to activate the body's strength in a unified manner. For example, a student may visualize pushing and pulling on heavy objects to align their body "as-if" the actual work is being done. Eventually this alignment is created by recalling the feeling of it without need of the visualization. Through practice, testing and experimentation the student learns how to use Hunyuan strength for self defense, all the while benefiting from the holistic exercises embodied by the method.

Master Cheuk Fung Pushes Hands with a Student

Standing practice or "Jam Jong", the central practice of Yi Chuan, is widely practiced and studied in China for its therapeutic qualities. Patients are often proscribed the Jam Jong while still confined to bed after surgery or illness and as part of their rehabilitation. The practice of Jam Jong has also been documented to improve physical health and sharpen mental faculties. Even professional athletes are using the time tested method to develop their core strength and improve their performance.

Yi Chuan can boast such a broad range of benefits because it works to harmonize gravity, structure, strength, energy, distance and timing through proper use of intent. These elements form the foundation for all human activity and bringing them into balance is like finding the sweet spot on a baseball bat, maximum effect is achieved with minimal effort. Yi Chuan teaches how to apply self defense techniques from this sweet spot, where awareness and intelligence overcome brute strength and aggression.

Yi Chuan is very true to the practitioner. Diligent practice results in rapid changes to the feeling and quality of one's movement. These changes, teacher guidance and partner practice form a continual feedback loop that helps root out misconceptions, bad habits and old training that may hinder progress . Yi Chuan's essence is Kung Fu or "hard work over time" where the discipline of the practitioner is rewarded with the ability to freely express his or her art.

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