Yilu Challenge

In Practical Method, we are constantly seeking methods to actualise simple principles and concepts into physical reality. During Master Chen Zhonghua’s online class on 16 November 2022, he showed a device to fix the two feet.

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We were at the Sydney Practical Method workshop. Master Chen was demonstrating a partner exercise with me, to show the attendees. The exercise was to fix the front foot, and I had my right leg in front of his left leg. Read more

2022.09.01 悉尼笔记锺百豪 (英文) Sydney Notes by Brian Chung (English)

Airport Drive
  1. We will be entering into a new era.
  2. We are retro fitting new technology into our old systems. A change requires something totally new.
  3. Do you understand money?
Breakfast at Laneway Cafe
  1. Master noticed the foot of a bird was damaged.
  2. Students are making vast progress with online classes. Consistency.
  3. What was your enlightenment?
  4. Write it down and publish it. Other people will read it and may learn.
  5. Did you try it? Your next step is the physically try it.
At home
  1. Master’s elbow is open. I held onto his bicep. It did not move.
  2. Fix the front, move backwards.
  3. Size of the stance for training vs fighting. In training we go from a perfect position and stretch out. In fighting we adopt a smaller position to go into the perfect position.
  4. Hand to elbow.
  5. Foot on the wall.
  6. Rear kua down, rear knee up.
  7. Pivot on middle of the thigh. Rear kua goes lower.
  8. Actualise a dot in space.
  9. Pulling two ends of Marcus’s fluffy vest.
  1. There are no moves. Only rotation.
  2. No space.
  3. Hong. Rotation and a stretch.
  4. Back on wall. I could not push. No direction.
  5. Master showed how to go through. Chest sound. Finger of steel.
  6. Empty space.
  7. Forearm lever. Positive and negative. Entice into emptiness.
  8. One piece to pull and push.
  9. Sinto repeats one move.
  10. The reality is, I am stronger than you. Structure (distance), angles, timing. I use my efforts to make myself strong, not fight with you.
  1. Procedure of learning. Do not use your own body.
  2. Hand attach to phone. Elbow. Kua.
Evening Online Class
  1. Forearm on chair, no move. Move the rest of the body. Worry about the relationship later.
  2. Master demonstrated turn with waist in Six Sealing Four Closing. I was touching his elbow and wrist. There was no movement.
  3. Master used his fingers to go through a dot on on my left chest. I took two photos of the position.


2022.09.02 悉尼笔记锺百豪 (英文) Sydney Notes by Brian Chung (English)

Morning Session
  1. Whatever you I do to my body, you will feel.
  2. Push hands exercise. Stretch out front hand, rear elbow. Rotate shoulder. Turn Waist. Legs.
  3. Peng is to stretch out your opponent. Five points stick figure. Five points struggle out. This is full. Wu Dian Wai Zheng.
  4. Three ring spiral. Shoulder (small) kua (mid) foot (large).
  5. Peng exercise. The waist reverses the mid.
  6. Bie is a pair of scissors. Gap, paper will fold. On is stuck.
  7. The flip. Cannot engage muscles. Emptiness.
  8. Bie with a gap on my elbow and wrist. Two actions locked onto the middle.
  9. Master showed multiple variations of bie locking onto a dot on my forearm, elbow, bicep, rear shoulder, rear foot.
  10. I held Master’s rear kua and knee while he pushed Rory. There was a stretch from the knee going out and around. The toe was lifted.
  11. When two two ends are equal, the result is balanced.
  12. Balanced is not moving. Not moving is the physical property.
  13. In learning, the original cannot be lost. We have to go deeper without changing.
  14. Song is everything in its original state.
  15. Han xiong ba bei. This is lock the two ends and move the middle.
  16. Example of lock middle move two ends (A) is a lever. Example of lock two ends move the middle (B) is a bow and arrow.
  17. Both are bie.
  18. We must fit everything into our logic. Is this example that worked (A) or (B)? It must be one or the other, you just can’t see it. Do not allow others to change your logic.
  19. To be precise is clear. The opposite is muddy.
  20. Cai is plucking. To yank grass.
  21. Lie is to break the middle.
  22. Zhou is to twist. Twist to break the structure.
  23. Template for training the front hand on a dot. (1) Hold onto something. (2) Star on the mirror. (3) Laser pointer.
  24. Hong’s Taiji is the original Taiji. Something that is right cannot be improved.
  1. Elbow on the table. Match the elbow with grip. Match with muscles in forearm.
  2. Exercise to bend the wrist. Use the elbow to shoot power to the finger. This is stretching the two ends of a rubber cord to make the middle strong.
  1. When you are stuck in a problem, the solution must come from someone else (outside).
  2. To know something, continue without, advancing, without changing. No deviation from the original design. E.g. Rotation is a continuous lever.
  3. Hong said distance is fake. When two dots line up there is no distance. How to line up? Small.
  4. Story about Hong speaking French.
  5. Three dimensions. Front and back (elbow), left and right (waist), up and down (knee).
  1. No confrontation. Reverse and go over. We went through different variations on this. Master was holding my right forearm. My rear shoulder had to go back towards the fridge.
  2. Master showed the connection to his elbow, front shoulder, rear shoulder and rear elbow. Used my push to follow and reconnect.
Evening Online Class
  1. Waist and knee separation. I held onto the knees and the waist turned. I held onto the waist and the knees turned.
  2. Knee pump.
  3. Knee can only move backwards. Forwards will cause injury. Master showed this is still the case in stepping.
  4. I held Master’s front ankle and front knee. It inflated like a strong rubber tube.


2022.09.03 悉尼笔记锺百豪 (英文) Sydney Notes by Brian Chung (English)

Workshop Day 1 Morning Session
  1. (1) Kai kua (open kua). (2) xuan zhuan (rotate). (3) budong (not moving).
  2. One fixed dot controlling everything.
  3. Quan. Hong said Authority is the counterweight on a scale.
  4. We must touch something solid. Facts are solid.
  5. Fix Hand Exercise. (1) Fix one hand hold onto a non moving pole. (2) Let the rest of the body go. (3) Whatever you let partner does to push and pull, do not respond.
  6. Activity on the rear shoulder vs front hand.
  7. Active vs passive usage of the dot.
  8. Back on Wall Exercise.  (1) Place the back of your front shoulder on the wall with one dot touching. (2) Partner pushes into front hand. (3) Compress the two ends. (4) Switch the dot on the rear end that is touching the wall to a dot closer to the middle of your back. (4) Continue this nine times until the dot on the rear end is on your rear shoulder.
  9. Yao dang zhuan huan (switch). There is a Lid on the waist. Master showed the transfer of energy.
  10. Xia ta wai nian (lever). The original is a mudslide.
  11. Master showed an exercise to hit the back on the wall.
  12. Everything comes out of nothing.
Workshop Day 1 Afternoon Session
  1. I had my finger on the bar. Master said to isolate one dot on the rear knee against the middle finger. Eventually the foot. Only one, let the rest go. He demonstrated this with a pull while I held his wrist – isolating one at at time the elbow, shoulder, kua, knee.
  2. Exercise. (1) Place a elbow against the wall. (2) Partner pushes into it. Pretend to fight. (3) Align elbow against push. Forearm solid.  (4) Use your finger to cross over their centre.
  3. Finger Reverses Push Exercise. (1) Partner pushes your arms. (2) Do not respond with upper body. (3) Align the rear foot. (4) Use fingers to aim back at their centre.
  4. Switching Exercise.
  5. There are three directions. (1) Forward backward. (2) Left right. (3) Up down.
  6. Space and no space. Both are the same. Master made a huge ball. There was no space for me.
  7. Ba Chang. Telescopic rod of a tripod. To attach yourself. To pull yourself open.
  8. Yilu with Power. Kenny corrections. My corrections.
Post Workshop
  1. I was working on the move after initial closing. Fix the left kua and thigh. Turn the waist to the left. Stretch the rear heel out. This causes the tension to be not lost.
Evening Session
  1. Master adjusted a student’s feet.
  2. Master corrected my stance smaller.
  3. Zhuo. We do not know how to contact.
  4. To line up without deviation, use two perpendicular straight lines at each end. Master used a book as an example. A secondary example was a cup.
  5. Fix the contact, move the feet. Master said this is winding a clock. There is a delayed build up of tension. I felt there was no push.
  6. Lid on the kua, use the knee to open backward. I must practice this. Secondary example was Master pushing my back down from a bent over position. This is the same thing.
  7. Rick Pietila story of hummer gun. The machine gunner is locked into one piece.
  8. Open into an arch. Back must open up, buttocks must go down.
  9. Push chest exercise into foot.


2022.09.04 悉尼笔记锺百豪 (英文) Sydney Notes by Brian Chung (English)

  1. Boiling point. At 98 degrees, the water is still water. We have to go past the threshold.
  2. Learning is breaking the pattern. This is very rare.
  3. Look for the pattern in human behaviour and make notes.
  4. In promotion, the order is photos, videos, writing.
Workshop Day 2 Morning Session
  1. We never lose power. We only change structure.
  2. The curvature never existed (Six Sealing Four Closing).
  3. Two sticks on a rail. Everything is stiff. The setup makes it look smooth.
  4. Master held my forearm and touched a dot on my chest in Six Sealing Four Closing. Stretch back against the front hand.
  5. Six Sealing Four Closing with power. Master said power was on my chest. He pointed to use the dantian.
  6. I held Master’s thigh. It did not move.
  7. Hong’s number one characteristic is a half pipe with the back on the wall.
  8. Pushing Exercise. (1) Touch the chest. (2) Fix the elbows. Stretch the fingers. Forearm is 45 degrees forward. (3) Rear foot in. Opponent is on the edge. (4) Then move the feet. This is a snow plow (blade 45 degrees, vehicle is straight). The trajectory of the contact is an arch. Continue the track the opponent with your hands (Example is of a tiger tracking prey jumping up and landing down on it).
  9. Snow plow. Master asked me to explain the main points. Do not change the structure. Do not deviate. Our human nature is to deviate on what we see.
  10. We must find a method to motivate us.
  11. Step up exercise. Action of the front foot. The front pulls the rear. Every push is a pull.
  12. Intention is fine tuning the angles to adjust longer.
  13. Exercise. Pinch forearm. Master showed how to catch the entire body, allowing him to walk in.
  1. Master showed his forearm while I held onto his wrist. He said he is actually pulling the ligaments inside.
  2. Inside of the glass cup. Hong told Master Chen he was wrong as he was touching the outside. The inside eventually relates to the core. The outside is unrelated. The inside is about the restriction.
Workshop Day 2 Afternoon Session
  1. Exercise. Line up front hand and rear elbow touching the the wall.
  2. Exercise. Rear foot line up with dantian. Hold the compression. Step forwards.
  3. Block Touching Coat application. (1) Intercept punch (2) Pull to your left side (3) Seven inch knife on throat (4) Catch neck (5) Stay on neck and push out.
  4. Four Corners Exercise. Get stuck. Turn the waist.
  5. Hand elbow exercise. Touch the wrist and elbow. Hand must always touch the elbow. We have to reverse our normal habit. Line up and pull the elbows in.
  6. Horizontal Rod exercise with James Strider pushing us. The rod is the point of reference. This allows the body to be very calm. Without it we always stumble.
  7. Five flowers. Four circles intersecting one middle. Watch the video again on Hunyuan.
  8. Bu liu shui. Not moving water. Master demonstrated this. The fist stopped on my chest. Power went through. I tried it, Master said I am too stiff.
  9. Talk about Jing Qi Shen.
  1. Story of Liu Yang challenge.
  2. Story of Sun Yang challenge.
  3. Normal power is based on movement. We create power without moving. To fight someone strong, do not allow them to move.
  4. Pieces of information can be taught. Do not try to combine them. It will happen automatically.
  5. We need new ideas to conduct real Taiji research. Example, photo analysis from western science practitioners.
  6. Story of Hong’s photos.


2022.09.05 悉尼笔记锺百豪 (英文) Sydney Notes by Brian Chung (English)

Privates Morning Session
  1. Bicycle chain. We all have one extra piece.
  2. Normally our shoulder is out. We have to totally change the body until it all fits.
  3. There is only one move. It is so tight, it only moves as a conveyor belt.
  4. Bie. Knee, calf, toes. Toes grip, knee back. Calf erect. I need to work on this.
  5. Exercise. Touch the wall.
  6. My rear foot was moving. Master put his foot against mine. Only hand on the wall and rear foot are solid. Middle is empty.
  7. Touching the wall timing exercise. Horizontal and vertical.
  8. I was pushing the wall with my left palm and rear foot. Shifu touched my left ribs and left thigh and stretched them out.
  9. The unbendable arm. This is Peng. Exercise. Partner pulls down on your elbow. Stretch the two ends (front hand and shoulder).
  10. Going over exercise. Long stick on the two arms. Lock the body as one piece. Stretch the two ends. Fix a dot on your chest in the middle. Go over it.
  11. Master let me feel what stretching the rear is. This is a rotation. Not a push.
  1. Vertical is length. Horizontal is width.
  2. Power is on the vertical.
  3. Story about Zhang Lian En.
  4. I asked Master how to bie the knife, I need three dots. If I draw a diagram, there are only two. Where is the third? He said write an article about this.
  5. The third is created. It is very elusive. The action is two separate trajectories meeting at the middle.
Privates Afternoon Session
  1. Master was holding my wrist. Pull the elbow in. Crunch dantian. Connect elbow to dantian. Connect both to front heel. Get this feeling. Only work on the three dots.
  2. Pulling exercise after fist draping over body. Engage. Squeeze down to waist. Connect R arm to L kua. Here must be there. Lift L heel. Open L knee straight to L foot and L kua. L kua has a total vertical restriction. This causes a rotation and the L heel to grind out.
Privates Corrections
  1. There is a switch of side on the fingers in closing the first move.
  2. No Chou. No pulling (to pull the shoulder up).
  3. Six Sealing Four Closing. Front elbow and front kua can open or close. It must be one or the other.
  4. Turn Left to Pound Mortar. Kick from the right heel to cause the waist to turn. It must spin like a top.
  5. Brush the Knee. Turn over a dot in the middle of the chest. We must continue to expand.
  6. Master showed the rotation on brush the knee. Slide. As you rotate, the chest goes down. The correct feeling is nothing to hold onto.
  7. When I rotate, there is no surface.
Evening Online Session
  1. We repeated the learnings at the Chinese online class.
  2. Use a stick to go over. Forward backward, left right, up down.
  3. Unbendable arm.
  4. Pie Shen Chui.
  5. Discussion with Kelvin. He is very clear.
Teacher: Master Chen Zhonghua
  • Saturday 3 Sept 2022 – 9:00am to 11:30am, 2:00pm to 4:30pm. Workshop Day 1.
  • Sunday 4th Sept 2022 – 9:00am to 11:30am, 2:00pm to 4:30pm. Workshop Day 2.
Location: Dance 102 (Studio 1) 2/575 Pacific Hwy, St Leonards NSW 2065
Public Transport: 5 minutes walk from St Leonards train station.
Topics: Theory, Foundations, form (Yilu), applications and push hands
Fee: $380 for 2 days, $220 for 1 day.
Register: http://bit.ly/PM2022Sydney
Private Sessions:
  • Monday 5th Sept 2022 – Private Sessions (contact Brian to book in).
For further information, contact:
Brian Chung
+61 423 035 857
Suggested preparation for first-timers, get yourself familiar with the following:

  1. Positive and Negative Circles: Two Circles of Taiji
  2. Yilu First 13 Moves: Chen Style Yilu 13 Moves

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  • Circle: the circle drawn by the shoulder must be bigger than the circle drawn by the hand.
  • Exercise: use a support for the front wrist, like a chair. The wrist cannot move (but it rotates). Do a negative circle with the rest of the body going up and down. The middle today is the shoulder, the two not moving ends are the rear foot and the front hand.
    Going down is physical at the beginning, later on is how we connect to the foot.
  • Every move in Yilu is to tie and untie a knot, to lock and unlock the body. We need a lot of torque and twisting.
  • Training process. We go from a unary system (based on one) to a binary system (based on two) to a ternary system (based on three). Three is stable, but not usable. So we go to a quaternary system (based on four) and we’re in chaos again and come back to stability in a quinary system (based on five). Five, like the five elements, means stable. Three is structural stable, five is rotation. To have stability in space, we need to rotate, we need to have five.
  • The interaction between the five elements, based on Dantian/centre, means stability. Chinese value the colour yellow, like yellow earth. It represents stability and for this reason is the colour of the Emperor.
  • Training exercise: “Fist draping over body”, “Lean with back”, “Fist covering hand downwards” with power. The intent: we have to throw something out of the body. At the beginning don’t worry about the structure, later on we can control it.

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  • In fighting we need to be in a position where our opponent can only see our fist, not the body. (Can somebody please write the Chinese word for it? I recall the sound, but not the spelling). The ni position is the opposite, the body is exposed to our opponent.
  • Kick with the heel: as we extend one leg ,the body has to go down for the kick to result in a straight extension. It has to remain on the track.
    Generally we have to remember: the pivot must be anchored (stability=dot), the movement must be on the track. In doing the Form we cannot add these things too early.
  • Learn to listen to the sounds. Clothes, stepping, breathing… it gives us a wider view of the system. The ability of replicate the sound relates to the ability of replicate the move. “Body breaking wind” sound.
  • To dig/scoop (chinese wa includes both concepts). We used “cloud hands” for training the digging. Lock the front hand and foot and use the middle (elbow-shoulder-kua) to dig. Lots of power on the kua, because of the kua cannot move, the resulting action is a rotation.
    To dig properly we cannot move the rear shoulder. Two body parts not moving, only move the middle. It is humanly not possible, we have two but we need three. If we can do a little bit of it, we already have uncommon abilities.
  • In learning the count is one-two-three, in the real move everything is performed at the same time
  • Increase differential: capacity to move the body without moving the outside.
  • When we dig, we cut something off of our opponent

Kelvin Ho took on the yilu challenge once again and completed 200 yilus on Dec. 24, 2021 as inspired by Sooyeon Zacharias’s 180-yilu record on Dec. 18, 2021. He first attempted the challenge back in 2018, and completed 115 yilus. He started at 3:35 am and finished at 1:05 am. The entire duration was 21.5 hours broadcasted on zoom with 16 hours and 5 mins actually doing yilus. Many people came to visit and cheered. Many thanks for everyone’s support, especially for Sevastianos Maillis from Greece, Jojo Juarsa from Indonesia, and Sooyeon Zacharias from Canada who did yilus along side through zoom. They definitely helped ease this challenge. Sevastianos completed 36 yilus, Jojo completed 71 yilus (his personal best), and Sooyeon did another 100 yilus. For more information about Yilu Challenge, please refer to https://practicalmethod.com/2014/07/the-yilu-challenge/.

During the 12/22/21 English Zoom class, Master Chen showed some clips of Chen Xu aggressively overwhelming a student.  I think I saw how he did it.  Besides taking the student’s space, he moved as if he was a chainsaw; that is, just as the teeth on the chain bite into the wood and are pulled backward by the chain, Chen Xu’s feet caught on the ground and were pulled backwards, which pulled him forward.  He never punched or even pushed, he only pulled.  Even when he had pulled himself to the student he never punched or pushed.  He continued to pull, not so much with his legs, but with his arms as he clawed his way around the student.

Maybe the way you fight using tai chi is the same way a tiger attacks.  Predators never punch.  In fact, the only reason they extend their front legs is so that they can pull them back.  I don’t remember where this saying came from, maybe xingyi: ”The hand never comes back empty.”  In other words, the hand or claw is extended, grabs something and then pulls back.

So, I suggest an English name for Chen Xu: Chain Saw.  Chen Xu and Chain Saw even sound pretty much the same!

Past Video Highlight
Ong Wen Ming’s yilu" target="_blank">Link on 25th of December 2021 in Bali Island, Indonesia.

Sooyeon Zacharias is the new record holder for doing the most number of yilus in single day. She did 180 yilus on Dec. 18, 2021 from 6:00 am to 11:59 pm with an actual effort of 18 hours. She has so far performed a lifetime total of 12579 yilus.

The previous record was held by Han Rui and Wang Kai for 172 yilus back on Aug. 31, 2017.

For more information, please see: https://practicalmethod.com/2014/07/the-yilu-challenge/

A: Hey Sooyeon, are you on vacation?
S: Yes, I am.
A: What do you do then?
S: Yilu
A: Don’t you do that everyday already?
S: Yep, just more of it, about 9 times more to be exact.
A: That’s not a vacation.
S: It’s an yilucation, and I love it.

Recently I understood how to continue a stretch by switching to different body parts.
  • For a while I had experienced tightness in the shoulder while performing Yilu. This is also apparent when practicing Basic Foundations, specifically in a three count Positive Circle right between Step 2 and Step 3.
  • In a recent online lesson on 18th August 2020, an Master Chen gave an instruction on second count of the Positive Circle. Excerpt from Kelvin Ho’s notes http://practicalmethod.com/2020/08/64906/ In the 3-count positive circle: In with elbow, turn with kua, out with hand. When we do turn with (front) kua, the rear kua does not move. This action itself has already started to drive the hand out. When the front kua can’t go anymore, we open the armpit, and the rear knee while the rea kua is still not moving.
  • After practicing according to this instruction by sequentially focusing on (1) opening the front kua, then (2) the rear knee and armpit. This completely changed my Basic Foundations and Yilu.
  • When splitting in step (1), there is a clear ‘hit’ point where continuing the action beyond this will cause the front shoulder to get stuck, the chest will pop, and the torso will toss sideways.
  • By locking in position at the ‘hit’ point and switching to open the rear knee and armpit without moving the rear kua, the split in step (1) is continued while the body itself remains stable.
Practising this throughout Yilu and all of the Basic Foundations it suddenly became clear to me today that there is a three way split occurring. Implementing this concept every move in Yilu took forty two minutes.
Example – Six Sealing Four Closing
The result is as follows:
  1. Front Kua splits to
  2. Rear Kua / Front Shoulder / Front Knee
  3. Rear Knee / Front Elbow / Front Heel
  4. Rear Heel / Front Finger / Front Toes
Keep in mind it was only necessary to follow the simple instruction to create the result.
  • These moves are sequential.
  • What is done must be maintained. Nothing can be undone.
  • Overall there is only one outcome of splitting on the 45 degree line.
  • In each segmented step, the action is on a specific body part. In order not to break this action, the other body parts adjust in position without themselves moving.
  • Different body parts are used to complete the one action in a sequential order.
  • In the final step, the end result is that the power is on the front finger and rear heel.