十二形 Twelve Animals

The 12 animal forms of xingyiquan are, depending on the variant of xingyiquan/xinyiquan, training methods, techniques, or applications based on the movements of animals. In xingyiquan, these advanced methods are learned after training the 5 phase fists (五行拳), i.e piquan (劈拳), zuanquan (鑽拳), bengquan (崩拳), paoquan (炮拳), and hengquan (橫拳). Once these fundamentals are mastered, the student typically moves on to the 12 animal forms. Although animal forms are common in the Chinese martial arts, the xingyiquan animals include more than a few animals that are not well known to the public. To give a face to the form, an example of each animal is given below (with the appropriate English common name and species name), except for the Chinese dragon (which, at least to my knowledge, does not exist in the present day).

十二形Twelve Animals
Amur Tiger
(Panthera tigris altaica)
King Cobra
(Ophiophagus hannah)
Tibetan Macaque
(Macaca thibetana)
Przewalski's Horse
(Equus ferus przewalskii)
Golden Eagle
(Aquila chrysaetos)
Chinese Goshawk
(Accipiter soloensis)
Edible-nest Swiftlet
(Aerodramus fuciphagus)
Chicken
(Gallus gallus domesticus)
Asiatic Black Bear
(Ursus thibetanus)
𩿡Asian Paradise Flycatcher
(Terpsiphone paradisi)
Chinese Alligator
(Alligator sinensis)

It is also interesting to note that the various xingyiquan/xinyiquan styles do not always share the same animals, although about ten of them tend to be the same in each substyle. In the old Dai family style, there were originally 10 large forms and 7 small forms, for a total of 17 animals; lists of the changes by style are given below:

十大形七小形
戴氏心意拳(戴魁係)螳螂𩿡喜鵲蹬梅蜻蜓點水
戴氏心意拳(馬二牛係)---𩿡--
心意拳(郭維漢係)--鮐/虫台--
心意六合拳(魯山係)-------
心意六合拳(洛陽係)-------
形意拳---𩿡--