Practicing Xingyi spear is simple, practical, stresses inner strength, requires speed, and encompasses subtle uses of ones body.
The basic spear postures include the five elements and twelve forms. Spear sets include Lianhuan Spear, Liu He Spear, Ba Shi Spear, etc.
The manner of practice is divided into solo practice and drilling with a partner.
Solo practice is gripping the spear and practicing huajuan: powerfully moving the head of the spear in circles of increasingly smaller size. This should be drilled using all of the different stances until it is up to standard. One should then practice the five stepping and twelve formal postures as well as the various sets in order to improve the mobility and consistency of ones head, eyes, body, hands, and stances. Afterwards go on to exercising accuracy. The method is to set up a wooden rack on which are hung three rows of three coins each. These are analogous to the nine regions of the human body. Stab the coins with the spear. First practice this in a fixed stance, then practice using all of the different moving stances. Practice until you can handle the spear with ease at a medium level of proficiency.
Practice with a partner is divided into huagan, pigan, rougan, and shici.
Huagan is two people alternately fending each other off. One person stabs, and the other parries by scratching the surface of his opponent's spear. First practice in a fixed stance, then practice in moving stances. Gradually practice to bring out completely brittle and hard strength.
Pigan involves one person defending and the other doing his best to break his partners spear. This exercise requires one to utilize all his strength against the shaft of the spear. After one is able to do this drill proficiently he can beat off an enemy's spear with just one strike.
Rougan is also known as chanqiang [winding the spear]. It is a way to practice understanding strength. Two people touch spears, one slowly- moves in to stab and the other unhurriedly parries by scratching his opponent's spear, lightly maintaining contact without sliding off or going against the spear. After frequent practice of this drill, one's senses become more acute and in encountering opponents, one will be more aware of their strong and weak points.
The aforementioned techniques are the basis for shici [actual spearing]. By means of the shici exercise, one can achieve mastery of all the moves he has learned through real use of the spear.
Whether practicing solo or with a partner, one should of course apply strength, focus one's thoughts, maintain calmness of spirit, and possess swift and violent technique. Practice until your mind moves the spear as it pleases and the meaning of the spear is none other than to avail one's self to the way of the spear.
-translated by Brian Wright
-edited by Joseph Crandall