INternal Martial Arts

A Living Tradition

The Neijia,  internal schools of  Chinese boxing consist of three sister arts, Xin Yi, Tai Chi and Bagua. Although each of these arts has its  unique shapes and methods, they all share similar principles and practices.

The internal arts put a great emphasis upon body changing methods to separate the bones, strengthen the tendons and cultivate the Qi or life force energy as the means of attaining health, strength and vitality.   Mindfulness in movement is the method and physical transformation the means, the skill of self defense is the fruit of the practice. 

At 12 Rivers we are lucky to train in these arts as they have been handed down from master to student over the generations. 

 12 Rivers | Internal Martial Arts: A Living Tradition

Xin Yi Liu He Quan (XYLHQ)  is said to have originated in the Chinese military from the famous general Yue Fei in the 12th century it  is the oldest of the three internal arts of the Nei Jia Quan (XIn Yi, Tai Chi & Bagua). Historically, XYLHQ has been a secret tradition of the Muslim Hui community which was brought to Shanghai at the turn of the 20th century and taught openly for the first time by Lu Song Gao.

Prior to this, the art had been considered a form of Jiao Men Quan or spiritual boxing and was a closely guarded secret not taught outside of the community.  

Xin Yi Liu He Quan literally means to integrate the heart and mind through the six harmonies. The Xin is the heart/mind responsible for consciousness. Yi is intention. Six harmonies is a metaphor for the coordination/unification of the parts that leads to an integrated  and powerful body that is the hallmark of the practice.

Tai Ji Quan (TJQ)   is a martial art said to have originated with the Daoist monk Zhang San Feng in the 12th century, based upon his observing a snake and a crane fighting for survival.  TJQ iis easily recognized for its slow and purposeful movement. It emphasizes the releasing of tension through cultivated  awareness. This awareness is trained  through standing meditation, form and partner exercises. Its form is a beautiful practice consisting of long flowing wave like movements done in succession.  

Focus is placed on coordinating full body movement with deep breathing and focused mental attention. TJQ is known the world over for promoting health and longevity and inner peace.  Lesser known,  but also essential is its focus upon  internal strength and power development. Tai chi will make you strong, flexible, focused and profoundly relaxed. Philosophically, the term Tai Ji represents the interface of yin and yang, the two pole or opposites.  These oppositional and complementary aspects exist in all forms and phenomena and the constant change that moves between them  is the motion of life which we learn to ride and balance upon through the art of TJQ

Bagua Zhang (BGZ)  is the youngest and most modern of the three internal martial arts . It can be considered the distillation and evolution of Xin Yi Liu He Quan and Tai Ji Quan principles into a complex mind framework, synthesizing the various aspects of the preceding arts into a seamless integrated whole. Its distinguishing characteristic is using Zhuan Quang/‘walking the circle’. Originally a Taoist meditation technique, martial arts were applied to the circle walking by Dong Haichuan, widely regarded as the originator of Ba Gua Zhang in the early 19th century. It uses agile stepping in the shape of the circle and training a wide variety of martial methods. The methods are categorized using the 8 trigrams from the Yi Jing, an early Taoist text used throughout the ages in China to understand patterns of change. Emphasis is on striking while moving and moving while striking, using flexible stepping and agile body methods. It contains the full spectrum of hard and soft. Ba Gua Zhang was brought to Beijing by Dong Haichuan and employed by the imperial court. It is a wonderful form of practice, strengthening the tendons, invigorating the body sharpening the mind.


 12 Rivers | Jin Shin Jyutsu: Now Know Myself

Jin Shin Jyutsu

Now Know Myself

Jin Shin Jyutsu (JSJ)is a traditional lineage of energy medicine and meridian healing from Japan. It is a very refined form of traditional healing  based upon number and principle.  JSJ teaches us to manage stress and tension by holding mudra and working with our meridians.  It is a profound method and practice that teaches us  how to circulate and direct the Qi (life force energy) for health and healing.  It is clear, direct and profoundly simple, leaving one with an incredibly powerful tool set  for self regulation, meditation and mastery.