How to train Yilu

by Sarah on 2015/11/13

I have a question regarding the training speed of Yilu. I remember Chen Laoshi saying, that doing two slow and one fast Yilu (and then again two slow, one fast) would be good. But I am not sure about the context anymore. Here on Daqinshan the „group“ prefer to do fast Yilus (like 4:30 minutes), instead of slow ones (like 8 minutes).

What I would like to know is, if there is a certain method to train Yilu (like two slow – one fast) or if the speed is just depending on the circumstances (learning level, day`s form and so on).

Thank you!

About Sarah

I am learning Taijiquan - Practical Method since 2011.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Carlos Hanson November 14, 2015 at 6:13 am

I have not heard Master Chen suggest a method or pattern of speeds. My speed is based on my focus. There are times when I want to go as fast as I can. However, when I am working on something new, my speed slows quite a lot.


Andre November 14, 2015 at 6:50 am

I was originally told that anything under 6 minutes is a good time for yilu, generally speaking.
But its like Carlos said, both have their benefit. Speed forces some things in your body, while doing it slow allows focus.


Lutz November 14, 2015 at 12:50 pm

Hallo Sarah,

I also remember that Master Chen told us to change speed. I myself always tend to do very slow. Sometimes the first Yilu take me twenty minutes, or even more 🙂
That’s why I sometimes give myself a task, like for example do 10 yilus in one hour. Than I am forced to do faster.
I feel both, doing slowly and doing fast is beneficial. But I guess without doing slow I had no chance to be accurate. Fast yilus let me feel which connections in the body are already done. It’s good to have not all the details in your mind every time. Besides speed I also change the level of power and variate the stance (lower or higher). Sometimes I concentrate only on the legs, sometimes more on the upper body.
I hope because of all these variations my training will avoid to be onesided (einseitig?).
Overall I try to keep some main pricipals in the mind: Don’t move the knees, Shoulder down, move the dantian, open the kua.

Ganz liebe Grüße aus Potsdam!
Alles Gute!


Sarah November 14, 2015 at 4:52 pm

Hej Lutz,

that`s sound really good! Here we are doing ten yilus in a row, nearly same speed – quite fast and I had the feeling, that this was not the best for my training. So I am now doing some Yilus all alone.

Thank you and also thanks to André and Carlos!

Ganz liebe Grüße nach Potsdam zurück und bis Anfang Januar 😉


Kelvin Ho November 15, 2015 at 8:44 pm


As you know, for a particular yilu, one speed throughout during training. Doing slow and fast have their own benefits. Doing it slowly allows you to focus on the details. Doing it fast trains your stamina. In my experience, I naturally slow down after every correction, and when I get familiar with the changes, it automatically becomes faster. Every now and then, I will do one that goes as fast as I can, without worrying much about the detail. When in group yilu practice, go with the speed of the group.



Paul Janssens November 15, 2015 at 9:57 pm

Slow, fast, medium? Slow, good for detail. Fast, good for stamina. Medium, good for other things. Cold? Start slow, by end of Yilu you’ll be warm and can speed up. Every Yilu becomes different. This one I had more elbow awareness, in the next one, my stance was a little wider, the next one, pulled my shoulders down better, the next one, picked myself up on leaning forward with head. Next one, paid special attention to where I look. Getting better, doing more, become more aware. Different every day….


Michael Winkler November 16, 2015 at 5:07 am

From my understanding I would confirm most of what was said here. I just want to add one issues and also I beg to differ another.

I don’t think that fast Yilus does ultimately train your stamina, maybe it could, but my impression is more that fast Yilus are done very often also much more easy, and also that slow Yilus could (!) train stamina even much more, totally dependent on how you do them.
But in general I think these things change all the time during long term training process, so for instance I had times when I needed much slower Yilus to have more intense training (to use a most general term), and afterwards I was able to have the same “ammont of intensity” doing Yilu also much faster. Then later on the same thing again.
My interpretation, probably goes along with what everybody wrote above: working on new things means more intense training, and to do new stuff you need to slow down, then later on these things can be integrated in faster Yilus.
To do all that you have to vary speed here and there. I personally think that therefore it is necessary also to train by yourself, not only in a group.

Then one point I like to add:
Maybe some of us also have a tendency towards perfectionism too much, meaning that through trying to do everything super-correct all the time we will create a big obstacle for the learning process. For instance I had this situation quite often among my students that it became very hard to make them just repete moves (sometimes even a single repetition hardly happend …). These type of people also hardly accept that it is literally impossible to do a thing perfect and they also might have a hard time to let go in generall. Therefore some faster Yilus, and also just following a group doing Yilu, could be benefitial.

Further I think following the group can prevent us from creating our own style, subconciously in a longer run.


Michael Winkler November 16, 2015 at 5:17 am

BUT I also remember Master Chen saying something like “most training effekts do not happen consciously” …
Conclusion? Everything we can talk about is consciously, right? …


Kelvin Ho November 16, 2015 at 2:28 pm

To clarify, the speed I consider fast is what is faster that you would comfortably do without thinking too much. Yes, it depends or how you do them. There are other things that train stamina, like how low your instance is.


charlie wishon November 16, 2015 at 8:18 pm

Speed, and power must remain constant throughout the form . Power must be constant “the material must not change . A steel rod cannot change to silk. Do not train loose.


Hugo Ramiro November 18, 2015 at 10:05 am

That’s a good point Michael, training as a group is one method to help prevent creating our own styles in the long run.


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