Trinity Standing. Essential to any style of Xingyi but all styles differ in how they stand. For example in this style the weight is evenly distributed between the legs, in order to balance the blood and chi. In others it may be as much as one hundred percent on the rear leg, although a distribution of 60/40 is often the case. In San Ti all of the energies of Xingyi are developed: wrapping, drilling, expansion, contraction, rising, falling, forward, back etc. It is motion in stillness. Like a tree, the roots are strong and the trunk and branches are flexible. All of the five forces are there and can be made manifest upon movement. The six harmonies are developed: The heart (Shen) harmonizes with the mind (Yi), the mind harmonizes with the Qi, the Qi harmonizes with the strength (Li). The hand harmonizes with the foot, the elbows harmonize with the knee and the shoulder harmonizes with the hip. The Dantien is developed. The joints are opened. The body develops exterior softness and interior firmness. A deep awareness of the interior and exterior is achieved. The ability to Fa Li is developed. You can read much more about this in this section of my web site.
The five Phases or Forces, commonly translated as Elements. These are practiced with Pi (metal) being in predominance. They are done with a fixed or stake step, an advancing step and a follow step. They are not individual "things" in their own boxes. Within its self, each one has the potential to change to another . All of the potential forces are within Pi. The idea that one Phase "overcomes" or "defeats" another is just a teaching device. It has no combat reality. In fighting everything changes according to circumstance. If the Shen Fa (body method) is developed the body can respond. The intent and form are simultaneous and when you are hit, and you will be hit if the other guy has skill, you will not be rattled and the body will not revert to old fear based habits. Eventually one begins to see all combat applications in terms of the Five Phases. For instance, I have seen Pentjak Silat masters express Pi many times even though they call it something else. You can constantly see the expression of Heng in Aikido etc.
Wu Xing Lien Huan:
Five Forms Advance-Retreat Ring Linked Fist. An advancing, retreating, linking form. All styles of Xingyi have a version of this form. It usually contains all of the Phases with some of them expressed in animal form.
Wu Hua Pao:
Five Flower Cannon. A two man form using the Five Phases that teaches sensitivity, timing, distance with advancing and retreating. It is done with the same sensitivity as push hands.
The above are what I have been taught are the most important parts of Xingyi on which to focus. I know very skilled practioners who do only those. In addition to those are:
The Twelve Animals:
Dragon, Tiger, Monkey, Horse, Water Lizard, Chicken, Sparrow Hawk, Swallow, Snake, Tai Bird, Eagle and Bear. In some Chinese Martial Arts an animal form may consist of many movements. In Xingyi the idea is to capture the nature of the animal doing one of the Phases, usually Pi. The forms are quite short and usually consist of a few essential movements which are repeated many times in a line. This can be very valuable as it can open up the mind to different ways of expressing the Five Phases and it also introduces different combat applications. A single form can lead to a hundred applications. Ultimately they should be absorbed into the body. I should not be thinking "now I will use my Chicken form". It should express itself according to circumstance. One may only really reach that level with a few of the forms. Which forms are expressed will vary according to an individuals personality.
Ba Shi Quan:
Dragon Style Eight Method Fist. A form I like to do for variety. It is about the same length as Lien Huan and contains some of the same movements. Often done as a line of Lien Huan and then a line back doing the other moves.
Pi Wu Xing:
Draping Five Forms. A two man form, more complex than Wu Hua Pao, utilizing the Five Phases. This is a very good form and contains many principles within it. It greatly helps to develop fighting skill within a controlled form. It is done with the same sensitivity as push hands.