Xingyi Twelve-style Boxing is composed of twelve basic fist techniques which imitate the advantages and features of the dragon, tiger, monkey, horse, alligator, cock, swallow, sparrow hawk, snake, Chinese ostrich, eagle, and bear - combining the fist forms and applying the principle of practicality of skillful attack.
Twelve-style Boxing is advanced content for further improvement after Wuxing Quan (Five-element Boxing). During exercises, true meaning rather than actual shape take priority. For example, the Dragon has its way of searching bones. Tiger preys upon its food with valor. Monkey utilizes agility as it jumps among mountains. Horse has its strength of bumping hoofs. Alligator has its skill of swimming in the water. Cock has its gestation of struggle. Swallow has its ability to skim over the water. Sparrow hawk has its art of turning about. Snake has its ability of slithering through the grass. Chinese ostritch has the interesting habit of raising its tail. Eagle is the master of hunting. Bear has tremenous strength.