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PHOENIX TALON INTERNAL ARTS
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PHOENIX TALON INTERNAL ARTS WAS FIRST FOUNDED AS AN INFORMAL INSTRUCTORSHIP, OFFICIALLY OPENING AS A PUBLIC KUNG FU SCHOOL IN 2017. THE OWNER, OPERATOR, AND HEAD INSTRUCTOR OF PHOENIX TALON INTERNAL ARTS – *SHRFU AARON W. JOHNSON – STARTED HIS MARTIAL ARTS CAREER IN 1989. DURING THESE 30 YEARS, SHRFU AARON HAS STUDIED EMPERADO'S METHOD OF KAJUKENBO (WHICH IS HIS FOUNDATION STYLE), JEET KUNE DO,  PENCHAK SILAT, BRAZILIAN JIU-JITSU, MUAY THAI, XINGYIQUAN, TAIJIQUAN, BAGUAZHANG, AND BAIYUAN TONGBEIQUAN.

THOUGH HE HAS STUDIED MANY ARTS, SHRFU AARON'S FOCUS HAS BEEN IN KAJUKENBO, XINGYIQUAN, TAIJIQUAN, AND BAGUAZHANG. HE HOLDS A 3RD DEGREE BLACKBELT IN HUAN XU NEIJIA, AND THE RANK OF 4TH DEGREE BLACKBELT IN EMPERADO'S METHOD KAJUKENBO. HE ALSO BELONGS TO THE SHEN LONG TANG SHOU TAO SIN LUNG KWOON,  THE KAJUKENBO SELF-DEFENSE INSTITUTE, INC., THE WORLD TAIJI BOXING ASSOCIATION, AND THE WASHINGTON RESEARCH COUNCIL OF MARTIAL ARTS.

IN 2011, SHRFU AARON WAS IN A TERRIBLE ACCIDENT THAT LED TO 14 SURGERIES IN TEN DAYS AND THREE MONTHS IN THE HOSPITAL, SURGEONS TELLING HIM THAT HE WOULD LIKELY NEVER WALK OR USE HIS RIGHT ARM AGAIN.

NEVERTHELESS, THROUGH INTERNAL NEIJIA ARTS, SHRFU AARON HAS MADE A FULL RECOVERY, WHICH IS WHY HE IS SO PASSIONATE ABOUT SHARING THESE ARTS WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD.

PHOENIX TALON INTERNAL ARTS IS
DEDICATED TO AARON'S NEIJIA TEACHER, GRANDMASTER MICHAEL J. BINGO (1943-2016) AND HIS TEACHER IN EMPERADO'S METHOD KAJUKENBO, TAI -SIGUNG TIRIAQ D. TAYLOR, WHOSE PRESENCE CONTINUES TO BETTER SHAPE THE WORLD OF MARTIAL ARTS TODAY.

*SHRFU (師父 IN TRADITIONAL CHINESE) MEANS “TEACHER”. NEVERTHELESS, THE TERM “SHRFU” HAS SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE IN CHINESE CULTURE. THE COMMON WORD FOR “TEACHER” IN MANDARIN CHINESE IS “LAOSHI” (老師), WHICH MEANS “INSTRUCTOR”. “SHRFU” –  WHICH TRANSLATES AS “SKILLED FATHER” –  IS USED AS AN EXPRESSION OF RESPECT TOWARDS A MENTOR, MUCH LIKE A JOURNEYMAN WOULD HAVE ADDRESSED THE MASTER CRAFTSMAN DURING THEIR APPRENTICESHIP, OR HOW “MASTER” IS USED THROUGHOUT THE WEST WHEN ADDRESSING OR SPEAKING OF A RESPECTED EXPERT IN A CERTAIN FIELD.

SCHOOL CURRICULUM
XINGYIQUAN
(HSING-I CH'UAN)


EXPERIENCE HAS TAUGHT US THAT THE METHOD OF XINGYIQUAN 形意拳 WE TEACH IS – WITHOUT DOUBT – THE MOST EFFECTIVE MEANS WE AS A SCHOOL HAVE IN HELPING A STUDENT ACHIEVE SELF-UINITY. SELF-UNITY – WHICH MEANS THAT THE ENTIRE BODY, MIND, AND SPIRIT ARE INTERGRATED INTO A SINGULAR WHOLE – IS THE CORE PURPOSE OF INTERNAL ARTS TRAINING. “XINGYIQUAN” TRASLATES AS “THE FORM OF INTENTION FIST”, MEANING THAT BODY, MIND, AND SPIRIT MERGE INTO ONE THROUGH THIS ART. THE “FIST” PORTION OF THE TRANSLATION SIMPLY REFERS TO IT AS A KUNG FU STYLE. BECAUSE OF WHAT OUR SCHOOL’S XINGYIQUAN METHODOLOGY HAS YIELDED, WE HAVE PLACED ALL OTHER INTERNAL ARTS TEACHING INTO THE SUBSETS OF OUR CURRICULUM. THIS MEANS THAT THOSE INTERESTED IN BAGUAZHANG AND TAI CHI CH’UAN WILL NOT BE INTRODUCED TO THESE ARTS UNTIL THEY HAVE MASTERED THE NUMBER ONE ELEMENT OF XINGYIQUAN FIRST. WE HAVE NOT COME TO THIS CONCLUSION LIGHTLY; IT IS THE PRODUCT OF “TESTING THE THEORY” FOR TEN STRAIGHT YEARS. WE’VE LEARNED DIRECTLY THAT BEGINNING WITH WALKING THE CIRCLE (WHICH IS THE CORE OF BAGUAZHANG) AND FORM WORK (WHICH IS WHAT MOST PEOPLE INTERESTED IN TAI CHI WANT TO PURSUE) SIMPLY DOES NOT PRODUCE THE SAME IMMEDIATE RESULTS AS MASTERING THE FIRST (NUMBER ONE) ELEMENT OF XINGYIQUAN, SPECIFICALLY THE METHOD WE LEARNED FROM OUR TEACHER, SIFU MIKE BINGO.
THE FIRST ELEMENT OF XINGYIQUAN IS METAL – KNOWS AS “PI CH’UAN 劈拳” – THE “SPLITTING ENERGY”, OR “SPLITTING FIST.” EVERY XINGYIQUAN SCHOOL PRACTICES THIS ELEMENT, YET NEVER IN OUR DECADES OF EXPERIENCE HAVE WE ENCOUNTERED A SCHOOL, SYSTEM, OR PERSON WHO PRACTICES AND TEACHES PI CH’UAN THE WAY WE LEARNED IT FROM OUR INSTRUCTOR. IT IS SIMPLE YET PROFOUND. AS THE OLD ADAGE SAYS, “DEVIATE BUT AN INCH AND YOU MISS BY A THOUSAND MILES.” LESS IS MORE IS OUR PHILOSOPHY. MASTERING THE METAL ELEMENT OF PI CH’UAN THROUGH THE METHODOLOGY WE LEARNED IS ENOUGH TO SERVE A STUDENT’S HEALTH, LONGEVITY, AND VITALITY FOR A LIFETIME. SOME – PERHAPS MANY – MIGHT SCOFF AT SUCH AN ASSERTION, YET LONG, DIRECT EXPERIENCE HAS PROVEN THIS. AFTER LEARNING THE FIVE ELEMENTS (THOUGH HE KNEW THE ENTIRE SYSTEM BACKWARDS AND FORWARDS, WHICH IS QUITE INVOLVED), GUO YUNSHEN 郭雲深 – ONE OF THE MOST FAMOUS XINGYIQUAN MASTERS IN HISTORY – PRACTICED ONLY THE WOOD ELEMENT, “BENG CH’UAN 崩拳” (THE “SMASHING FIST”), AND HE LIVED TO A VIBRANT OLD AGE WHILE NEVER LOSING A MATCH (SAVE A DECIDED DRAW TO BAGUAZHANG’S FIRST PUBLIC TEACHER, TUNG HAICHUAN 董海川, A LEGEND WHICH CONTINUES TO BE SHROUDED IN MYTH).
EACH OF THE FIVE ELEMENTS IS A LIFELONG STUDY, AND JUST AS THE WOOD ELEMENT, BENG CH’UAN, SERVED GUO YUNSHEN, SO THE METAL ELEMENT, PI CH’UAN HAS SERVED US. QI GUNG 氣功 (BREATH AND ENERGY WORK) & ZHAN ZHUANG 站樁 (STANDING EXERCISES) ARE ALSO AN INTEGRAL PART OF OUR XINGYIQUAN CURRICULUM.
   
OF COURSE, DAILY PRACTICE IS NECESSARY FOR A STUDENT TO REAP THE BENEFITS OF THIS METHOD, BUT MOST OF US CAN SPARE FIFTEEN MINUTES A DAY, WHICH IS ENOUGH.
 
HISTORY

ACCORDING TO TRADITION, XINGYIQUAN 形意拳 TRACES ITS ROOTS TO YUEH  FEI 岳飛
 (COURTESY NAME PENGJU  鵬舉, POSTHUMOUS NAME WU MU  武穆; 1103-1142 A.D.) DURING THE SOUTHERN SONG DYNASTY OF IMPERIAL CHINA. XINGYIQUAN  IS OFTEN SAID TO BE THE OLDEST OF THE INTERNAL ARTS, THOUGH RESEARCH INDICATES THAT CHEN TUAN'S (872-989(?) A.D.) WATER BOXING SET, LIUHEBAFA 水拳, 六合八法  PRE-DATES XINGYIQUAN BY ALMOST 200 YEARS. IN FACT, ACCORDING TO YUEH FEI'S JOURNAL, IT WAS CHEN TUAN WHO WARNED YUEH FEI'S FATHER ABOUT THE GREAT YELLOW RIVER FLOOD WHEN YUEH FEI WAS ONE MONTH OLD. ACCORDING TO YUEH FEI'S FATHER'S RECORD, CHEN TUAN TOLD HIM TO PLACE YUEH FEI AND HIS MOTHER IN A LARGE CLAY JAR TO SAVE THEM FROM THE FLOOD. YUEH FEI'S FATHER DID SO, AND BOTH WERE SAVED.

AS YUEH FEI GREW INTO ADULTHOOD, HE BECAME AN ACCOMPLISHED ARCHER, SPEAR FIGHER, AND WARRIOR, TUTORED IN THE MARTIAL ARTS BY THE FAMOUS ZHOU TONG 周同. SOMETIME DURING HIS TENURE AS COMMANDING GENERAL FOR THE SOUTHERN SONG DYNASTY, YUEH FEI MET A WANDERING TAOIST IMMORTAL WHO TAUGT HIM XIN YI LIU HE CH'UAN 心意六合拳 (HEART-INTENTION SIX HARMONIES BOXING, ALSO KNOWN AS HUAYUE XIYIMEN 華嶽希夷門), WHICH IN TURN DEVELOPED INTO MODERN XINGYIQUAN (WHICH WAS COINED BY LI LUO-NENG 李洛能 IN THE 19th CENTURY). BECAUSE OF HIS FAMILY'S PAST ENCOUNTER WITH CHEN TUAN COMBINED WITH THE FACT THAT XINGYIQUAN'S ELEMENTS APPEAR IN LIUHEBAFA  六合八法, IT STANDS TO REASON THAT THE TAOIST IMMORTAL WHO TAUGHT XIN YI LIU HE CH'UAN TO YUEH FEI WAS NONE OTHER THAN CHEN TUAN HIMSELF. NEVERTHELESS, THIS IS ONLY SPECULATION. XINGYIQUAN - WHICH MEANS "THE FORM OF INTENTION FIST" -  GENERALLY MOVES IN STRAIGHT (OR WEAVING) LINES, EMPHASIZES LINEAR ENERGY, AND IS BASED ON THE FIVE ELEMENTS OF METAL, WATER, WOOD, FIRE, & EARTH, AND THE 12 ANIMALS. OF DRAGON, TIGER, MONKEY, HORSE, ALLIGATOR, ROOSTER, SPARROWHAWK, SWALLOW, SNAKE, PHOENIX, EAGLE, AND BEAR. LIKE ITS KINDREDS, TAIJIQUAN AND BAGUAZHANG, XINGYIQUAN IS FAMOUS FOR ITS HEALTH BENEFITS, YET WHAT SETS XINGYIQUAN APART FROM ALL OTHER ARTS IS ITS UNIQUE ABILITY TO BRIDGE THE EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL, & – OF COURSE –  ITS FAMOUS, INCREDIBLE POWER.