The very name Hsing-i-ch'üan means that it is the ability to use these motions without conscious consideration that gives the system its meaning. The practitioner of Hsing-i-ch'üan must use the forms automatically and without reference to his conscious will. The point that sets Hsing-i-ch'üan most clearly apart from other martial arts is related to this theory, for in Hsing-i-ch'üan training, no matter how thoroughly a person may have mastered the techniques, if he is unenlightened about the basic meaning of the forms, his efforts are wasted. People striving for progress in the martial arts must be aware of this point and must keep it in mind throughout their daily practice.
Relations between opponents in Hsing-i-ch'üan are especially distinctive in three respects. First, since there is no way of knowing what kind of attack the opponent will try, Hsing-i-ch'üan does-not prescribe such things as maintaining fixed distances and employing kicking techniques. Instead, the individual must always move toward his opponent and counter his moves as he attacks. Second, since defense must always be perfect, in Hsing-i-ch'üan, one arm is always used for defence purposes (it may be either the mukae-te or the harai-te method; see p. 34 and 60). Third, there is no strategy, and no restraints are used in Hsing-i-ch'üan matches. Since the individual's body must move naturally, easily, and rapidly in conformity with the opponent's movements, there is no time for mental strategy. Nor is there any need for restraining the opponent with one hand while kicking. At all times, maintaining a perfect defense, the person must conform to the motions of his opponent. This, as I have said, leaves no time for mental strategy.