A Hand-Written Document on Yi Lu by Chen Zhaokui


If I recall correctly, Chen Zhaokui actually wrote two books, one on Yilu and one on Erlu. The books had not only detailed descriptions of the moves, but also something like 600 applications between them. I know my first teacher, Liang Baiping, has a copy that he was always intending to translate in his retirement, and there's a guy in Houston (Cheng Jin Cai) who's basically made a career out of having those books and using them as the basis for his super-secret taiji cult.

From the little bits of translation I've seen, this is not that. Liang Baiping is more fluent in English than many (most?) native speakers, and I know that when he translates he tries more to get the flavor and intent across rather than just doing a literal word-for-word translation. But in comparing the two, even aside from the omission of applications, the structures are a bit different in terms of how the moves are broken down, so that's why I don't think this is the same text as one of those books.

So then I wonder, if Chen Zhaokui was already writing his own books, why or where did this dictated version come to be?


Lao Tou
Staff member
For a while I wondered about this sort of thing and then I just kind of gave up. One thing I realized is that although this look backwards is interesting it has some significant deviation from what I learned from Chenyu. I cannot definitively say why that is. What I can say is that both the structure and the application approaches I learned from Chenyu made more sense and clarity than anything else I had seen previously in this art, and anything I have seen since.

All of the alleged students of Chen Zhaokui, all of those videos that I have seen and some of them that I have met very much did not impress me in comparison to what I learned from Chenyu. I don't know whether CZK did not teach them as intensely or whether they learned at a different period in CSK's life and teaching path than Chenyu. I don't really know the deciding factors in this situation. I can only trust what I learned which made the most sense, functioned the best and was all pretty obvious even on video, which is all that we have left of some of these folks.

When it comes to the written material I am not even sure who actually wrote it, or who altered it, or if CZK himself wrote these things, what was the context or intended audience for the teaching? Was he writing these things for the general public? Was his intent different than what he might have said during teaching his own family?

For me it is all just a lot of questions that will never have answers. If I read this stuff all I see is how different it is from what I learned that as it is, seems to be so clear and logically functional. So, since in the end it is a lot of questions that do not make anything make more sense I decide to forget it and stay focused on the family tradition that I learned, and specifically that family inheritor that I learned from. The style I learned was from Chenyu, not Chen Zhaokui and it all has CY's personal approach. So far it's as good as I am going to get and still I feel it works impressively well. Best I can hope for in this lifetime.

I ignore the writing and leave that to folks who need tangible satisfaction due to not having had the access I had.