In order to fully appreciate the method and progression of study developed by Hong Yi Xiang, it is necessary to look at the backgrounds of both of Zhang Jun Feng's teachers, Li Cun Yi and Gao Yi Sheng, and gain an understanding of how other Xing Yi/Ba Gua practitioners of their generation were brought up in the martial arts. The first fact to consider is that the large majority of the Xing Yi and Ba Gua practitioners of this generation grew up in rural farming villages. This fact tells us that these individuals were naturally strong from working in the fields and performing other manual chores in the village. The strength and stamina these individuals naturally developed when they were young is considerable compared to that gained by modern day practitioners growing up in an urban or suburban environment. So, when they began their martial arts training they already had a base of physical strength, stamina, flexibility, and coordination.
The second important fact to consider is that almost all of the well known Ba Gua and Xing Yi practitioners who were of Li Cun Yi and Gao Yi Sheng's generation started their martial arts training with some form of Shaolin or "family style" martial art. This means that by the time they studied Ba Gua and/or Xing Yi, these gentleman had also developed a foundation of strength, balance, coordination, and flexibility in the martial arts context. They had also worked out other various fundamental martial arts concepts such as timing, rhythm, distance, and angles in fighting situations, as well as learning to develop martial bravery and fighting spirit. Therefore, for these practitioners, Ba Gua and Xing Yi became arts practiced to refine and polish the fundamental skills and strengths they had already acquired.
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