Practical Method Yilu – Short Version

With very limited times these days to train, I must that admit I like to do a short version of the forms I know. For example, if I want to practice the Yang form, I may do only the first 6 or so movements of the long form. The same holds true when I used to train in Chen Village Laojia set.

For me, I don’t really need to practice a long set to feel like I’ve done my share of training.  Sometimes, it’s the quality of movement that counts as opposed to the quantity of movements we perform. Example being, in previous practice sessions, I would spend about an hour just going through the first 6 movements. I am not entirely sure how many repetitions of the movements I did, but I know I did a lot. More importantly, I was able to focus on the little things, the subtle things going on with each and every move as opposed to merely glossing over the form.

However, one negative of doing a partial form is not having a feeling a variety of movements to work on. It is hard to just work on the same 6 moves over and over and really tries one’s patience. Additionally, I would often end by just stepping into the ending posture. Sure, this can work but perhaps it would be nice to work on a short set that a trained instructor has put together.

A lot of teachers have created short versions of the forms.  Initially, I saw little value in these sets and scoffed at them. But now, I do see value in training the short sets because that is essentially what I do.  Long forms have their place in a curriculum as do short forms.

Below is a video clip of “Little Yilu”, a form that was put together by a Brazilian student of Chen Zhonghua.  As noted in the comments below, the form is not an “official” version, but can be used as an example and for further exploration.

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About wujimon

taiji, meditation and health
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10 Responses to Practical Method Yilu – Short Version

  1. mrinal says:

    and here is zhu tian cai's 13 step short form:

    he has done it twice over in this video.

  2. gwinston99 says:

    I also have limited time to train – I often practice a portion of the Yang long form, but vary the movements I am working on. I have been practicing the same form for almost 30 years, and started the public Yang Jian Form about 10 months ago. I am really taking my time with the form. I only learned and practiced the first half-dozen or some movements the first 3 months, and even now I am only now up to about the first third of the form.I agree that the quality of the movement is the most important thing. Working with a weapon, I wanted to become one with the weapon. The Tibetan meditation master, Chogyam Trungpa introduced the concept of “spiritual materialism.” In my 30 years in the internal martial arts I have witnessed a lot of that.Thanks for your thoughtful writing on this blog. I enjoy reading it.Gregg Winston”The highest form of victory is winning without contending.” ~ Sun Tzu

  3. wujimon says:

    Greetings, mrinal. A lot of teachers have short versions of forms. I believe at the more recent world-wide taiji event, instructors of each of the 5 main styles taught a 13 form version of their respective styles. Even to this day, one of my favorite short forms is Chen Xiaowang's 38 form.

  4. wujimon says:

    Greetings, Gregg. Like you, I enjoy taking my time with forms. I am not a “forms collector”, and therefore have really no strong need to add more forms to my repertoire. In fact, I have been working on the first 13 moves of the Chen Practical Method Yilu for like the last 6 months now … 😉 You're a bold man for attempting to do weapon forms! I love the taiji jian, but have basically vowed not to really practice it until I am able to control my own body, let alone trying to add an extension of my body ;)I'm glad you enjoy the blog 😉

  5. gwinston99 says:

    Wujimon – I held off on the sword for 30 years, but I can tell that what I was taught is true. Traditional weapons are not “practical” for combat use today, but we continue to train with them because they improve our empty hand. Truly moving your hand with your mind intent and tan tien is challenging enough, it is harder when the hand is holding a 3 lb. wooden sword, but this does serve to give greater feedback. When you go back to the empty hand, something has changed.

  6. pmbrazil says:

    Hi Wuji. Just to give you some background; my motivation for putting this short version together was to have a short version for beginning students to have a quicker sense of accomplishment (learning the long form can take years), having a form for the group to do together at demos, and for individual practice when you want to experiment or just don't have time for the long form. Also, I would like to clarify that I put the form together out of necessity since practical method does not have any official short form that I know of as do some other versions of Chen Taijiquan. In that respect, Master Chen Zhonghua would be much more qualified than me to put an official version together for our style. That said, this version meets my needs and at a certain point I think that it is a natural progression to be able to “put the pieces together” in many different ways once you understand how they fit together. In that sense I hope that the video might inspire other practitioners to explore this as well.

  7. wujimon says:

    Hi PMBrazil. I am glad you provided some background because I was getting ready to comment on the video to ask who created the short version. Thank you for sharing your video.

  8. pmbrazil says:

    You are very welcome.

  9. Tim Koloto says:

    I wold agree that short forms do have there place. I would like to add that free styling is also a nice way. The movements after a while do become part of you and you them at some point you leave subtracter behind a just fly. Try it! Some times even as I am in the middle of a form I'll bust out and flow and move and feel then I may come back to where I as and continue all with out a stop or a break in the reel. (p.s not for beginners )Love your Blog. I wold agree that short forms do have there place. I would like to add that free styling is also a nice way. The movements after a while do become part of you and you them at some point you leave subtracter behind a just fly. Try it! Some times even as I am in the middle of a form I'll bust out and flow and move and feel then I may come back to where I as and continue all with out a stop or a break in the reel. (p.s not for beginners )Love your Blog.

  10. wujimon says:

    Greetings, Tim. You are correct that free style is a nice way to go. I often freestyle just walking around 😉 However, I generally do not freestyle during a form. If anything, I will pull a piece out and just drill that piece. In a way, that's like a short form too 🙂 Thanks for your comment 😉

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