The Xingyiquan taught at Dragon and Garuda Yoga is primarily influenced by Kenny Gong’s teachings as well as a couple of other Hebei Xingyiquan and Yiquan lineages.
Kenny Gong’s art is a combination of Hebei Xingyiquan, Jiang Rong Qiao’s Baguazhang, and an advanced Neigong set called the Double Butterflies. This Neigong is very similar to Cangzhou Wuji Butterfly Palms. Like many other students of the internal arts his teachers were not always there with him and he had to take on the path of the teacherless teacher. Gong’s Xingyiquan teacher was an elusive general in hiding and was no longer available to him. It’s said he only spent a few months learning Jiang Baguazhang in Hong Kong from a Liuhebafa master in exchange for teaching him the logic of the Yi Jing or Classic of Change. The flavor of his Baguazhang is most similar to how Chen Yiren’s Hong Kong school practices the set.
In New York his Xingyiquan is taught by James Montalbano. In Florida by Jean-Michel Walker. Here in Arizona those who trained directly under Kenny Gong are Lloyd Day and Tom Morrissey. Tom Morrissey has certified a number of instructors including Lloyd Day, Rob Williams, Anthony Spaltro, Matthew Johnson, and John DeSmet. Lloyd is one of the few people who preserves the Gong style in full.
The Founder of Xingyiquan
The art of Xingyiquan originates with Li Luoneng in the mid-1800s. He learned the Dai family’s Xinyi Liuhe Quan and created his own art based on its principles and his study of prior arts, likely Bafan Quan, Gongli Quan, Praying Mantis and/or some kind of Tongbei. The disciples responsible for spreading the art in China and that our lineages descend from are Guo Yunshen and Liu Qilan. Li had many other disciples with their own unique styles and his four most skilled students were Che Yizhai, Guo Yunshen, Liu Qilan, and Song Shirong.
Guo Yunshen was famous for his half step beng quan. He trained two of the leading exponents of Xingyiquan – Sun Lutang and Wang Xiangzhai. Guo was also known for opening the door of esoteric practices and integrating them into his martial arts. Guo did not train many students but his martial nephew Li Cunyi trained with him for some time. It’s thought that Guo Yunshen may have learned Bajiquan as well. The primary exposure of this lineage to the world is from Paul Andrews’ Xingyi Academy.
Liu Qilan knew Jingang Quan before studying Xingyiquan. It is thought that Liu was responsible for developing most of the theory of the Hebei Xingyiquan. Liu Qilan’s son, Liu Dianhua, wrote a comprehensive book on the style of Xingyiquan. Liu’s two most famous disciples that were responsible for spreading Xingyiquan were Li Cunyi and Zhang Zhaodong. Li and Zhang were also martial brothers in Baguazhang. While technically listed under Dong Haichuan, they were primarily taught Dragon Baguazhang by Cheng Tinghua due to Dong’s advanced age.
Li Cunyi was responsible for spreading Xingyiquan in Tianjin. He founded two martial arts societies where he taught primarily Xingyiquan. Known for his skill with the saber and his security company, Li was an exponent of Hebei Xingyiquan and many consider his style a standard to aspire. Li also practiced Cheng Tinghua’s Baguazhang but not many schools of his Baguazhang share publicly. Few know that Li also taught Han Xing Qiao.
Zhang Zhaodong or Zhang Zhankui
Zhang also learned Mizongyi Quan and throughout his life he continued to exchange and learn other martial arts and evolve his practice. Zhang was credited with creating the Xingyi Baguazhang system that is said to overlay the movements of Baguazhang with the Ming jin or Obvious Force of Xingyiquan. Zhang was intimately involved with Yiguandao as well as organized crime. He was called Lightning Hands – who know how this reputation was gained as he owned brothels later in life.
Jiang Rong Qiao
Jiang Rong Qiao was a famous author, martial arts professor, and renowned expert who lived 1890-1974. His family was primarily responsible for preserving the art of Mizongyi Quan and he became a formal disciple of Zhang Zhaodong. While he learned Baguazhang and Xingyiquan from Zhang as a disciple he also co-wrote a book on Xingyiquan with Li Cunyi and learned much from him. Jiang was a devoted martial scholar and also learned Liuhebafa, Chen and Yang Taijiquan, Wudang Sword, and Yiquan.