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Thanks to Beijing and Chen Yu's wife Siyu for providing the text and allowing us to translate it in full! We thought it is a great record, now almost from another time, when the internet world was still young and looked quite different from today.

Note: The following transcript is the first time that Chen Yu publicly communicated with netizens on directly in August 2001. Knowledge of the Chinese language and culture are probably helpful to understand some of the answers in a better context, as Chinese courtesy and so on have to be considered to understand the chat correctly.chen yu taijiquan chenshi interview 2001 : Tonight's guest is Mr. Chen Yu, the 19th generation successor of Chen Shi Taijiquan and the direct descendant of Master Chen Zhaokui. He is chatting with you online from his home in Beijing. Now let him say hello to everyone!

Chen Yu : Thank you very much for providing me with such an opportunity to communicate with everyone. I hope you can ask questions freely and speak freely.

Mumu: Hello, Chen laoshi. I'm glad to have the opportunity to learn from you.

Wu fan: Hello, Chen laoshi! I am a Taijiquan fan in Hebei.

Hua Yu: Hello, Chen Shifu!

Ziran : Good evening, Chen laoshi! Glad to see you at!

Chen Yu: Hello Ziran, have you returned to Shandong? Please send our regards to the Taiji friends in Shandong.

Ziran: We have just returned to Shandong! I have related to them of my time training in person with you in Beijing. They are very jealous! ha-ha!

Zhu Rui: Hello, Chen Yu laoshi, I'm a Chen Shi Taijiquan fan in Jinan. I'm here tonight to say hello to you on behalf of Mr. Hong Youyi (son of Hong Junsheng) and Mr. Meng Xianbin (senior disciple of Hong Junsheng)! And the teachers, students in Jinan say hello to you!

Chen Yu: Send my regards on my behalf to Mr. Hong and Mr. Meng.

Zhu Rui: Chen laoshi, you are very kind. Mr Meng and (martial uncle) Mr Hong are your martial brothers in relation. Thank you very much. I will send them your greetings.  

Pahei: How old is Chen laoshi this year?

Chen Yu: I'm thirty-nine years old this year.

Pa Hei: From whom did your gong fu lineage come from?

Chen Yu: My father Chen Zhaokui.

Pa Hei: How long did you study with Grandmaster Chen Zhaokui? Did you also learn from Mr. Chen Zhaopi?

Chen Yu: Since my youth, I followed my father in boxing and no one else.

Mumu: Have you met your grandfather, Chen Gong (elder title) Mr Chen Fake?

Chen Yu: No, regrettably.

Mumu: Your family's lineage gongfu has always been a mystery. We would like to know the circumstances how your father passed it on.

Chen Yu: This is a complicated matter, and there should be an opportunity to talk about it in detail.  

Zhen Shiyin: Have you heard the name of Wang Zhenhua?

Chen Yu: He is my shixiong (martial senior brother).

Zhen Shiyin: Did your father, Mr. Chen Zhaokui, teach 108 Chen Shi Taijiquan Chang Quan before? Do you know this quan? We have heard that Wang Zhenhua has mastered this style of boxing, is that right?

Chen Yu: It would be a better opportunity to talk in detail about this face to face (instead of on an online chat).

Zhen Shiyin said: Thank you, Chen laoshi. I'm in Beijing. I'm glad you are able to meet with me. I will certainly be in touch with you again.

Chen Yu: I welcome you to come for a face to face meeting.

Zhu Rui: I heard that the Chen family still has many secrets that are not handed down. Is that true?

Chen Yu: As far as I know, no.

Cxznbvm: Hello, Chen laoshi. I'm Fan Xiaofeng. I just bought your CD. How can beginners avoid broken Jin?

Chen Yu: Pay attention to sticking, ahdering and following, so as not to break the Jin.

Aladdin : How can we perfect the practice of Fa Li?

Chen Yu: Top and bottom, combined as One.

Martial fan: I have just begun with Taijiquan. May I ask Chen laoshi, why does the Lao Jia Yilu of Chen Zhenglei differ from your Beijing Yilu?

Chen Yu: The principles of Taijiquan are the same. The postures may be different, but the principles are the same.

Ziran: I get the feeling that there are many more Xinjia practitioners in Beijing.

Wu Mi: I think the routine in Beijing is similar to that practised in Shijiazhuang.

Chen Yu: The 75 form is Lao Jia, while the 83 form is Xin Jia, these differentiation of these styles and their terminology were coined according to the conventional view of the Taijiquan world. In fact, there is no difference between the old frame and the new frame. Both sets of frames are traditional Chen Shi Taijiquan, with the same content, and both are family lineage gongfu frames. If it is necessary to distinguish between the two boxing frames, then in the 83 style the circles are more and smaller, there are more technical attack requirements; while within the 75 style the movements are more flexible. The principles and requirements of both are the same. As long as one has the expert guidance of an enlightened master and practice dilligently, you can attain the gongfu.

Ziran: Chen laoshi well said! Personally, the more I develop in the practice, the more I feel the importance of having an enlightened master. Your last point of instruction is enough for me to practice on for half a year. Xiao Hu (Hu Weihang, disciple of Chen Yu) and others have my envy. Although, my practice environment is a little uncomfortable, I believe I will overcome it under your guidance!

Xiao Jiang: Famous teachers are too difficult to meet. Are there any in Northeast China?

Chen Yu: Taijiquan masters are available everywhere.

Jing Jue Yi Qiang: Which do you think is more important in the learning of Taijiquan, theory or practice? Do you pay attention to theory?

Chen Yu: Both Practice and theory are equally important.

Jing Wei: There are many people practicing Chen Shi Xiao Jia in Xi'an. What is the difference between Chen Shi Xiao Jia and Da Jia?

Chen Yu: The principles are the same in both.

Zhen Shiyin: Which of your father's students do you think have better gong fu?

Chen Yu: My father had many students and many excellent ones.

Ye Lian: Is Mr. Zhang Zhijun your father's best student? Amongst you and Zhang, who learnt more from your father?

Chen Yu: Zhang Zhijun is my father's student. He and I both learnt boxing from my father. It depends on everyone's level of understanding and the degree of hard practice.

Mumu: Mr Ma Hong pointed out many times in his book that only the 83 form is the authentic heir of the Chen Shi taijiquan. Is that right?

Chen Yu: I haven’t heard Ma Hong say that.

Kongudaoren : How does one train neigong in Taijiquan, what is the methodology?

Chen Yu: The boxing frame requires unity from top to bottom, internal and external unity, left and right unity, front and back unity, hand and feet unity, elbow and knee unity, shoulder and Kua unity.

Kongudaoren: That is the requirement in the boxing frame, is there any other special method of training? The books have mentioned Dan Tian gong and Zhan zhuang, can you elaborate on these?

Chen Yu: Indeed there is training on Dan Tian gongfu. Any boxing art would have special emphasis on Zhan Zhuang, training Zhan Zhuang can enable rooting, and increase power of the lower half. Of course, boxing forms are very good dynamic Zhuang too.

Kongudaoren: Is it a requisite that one must attain Xiao Zhou Tian (small heavenly circle) for neigong?

Chen Yu: Attaining xuemai xiangtong 血脉相通 (blood and vessels are linked) can be said to be an achievement for neigong already.

Kongudaoren: Do you train the intention guarding Dan Tian during meditation, or do you train Zhan Zhuang on a daily basis? Or do you just train the dynamic forms?

Chen Yu: I train all of these in fact.

Kongudaoren: Thank you for your guidance. Just one thing I still do not understand, do we add the practice of intention guarding Dan Tian during Zhan Zhuang practices?

Chen Yu: Yes, it is a requisite to add intention (Yi Nian). Kongudaoren : Is Zhanzhuang similar in training as the current trend of Yi Nian Zhanzhuang?

Chen Yu: There is some similarity. Zhanzhuang in Taijiquan has strong emphasis on sinking shoulders and elbows, toes grabbing the earth, feet arches are empty, sinking down naturally. Kongudaoren : What kind of intention (Yi Nian) should be added to Zhanzhuang training? This has troubled me greatly for many years, would you kindly give pointers?

Chen Yu: Pay attention mainly to Peng and Sink (Chen), Jin should be extended (Fang Yuan).

Zhu Rui: Chen Yu laoshi, are there plans to launch a publication?

Chen Yu: At present, I am organizing the relevant materials for that purpose.

Zhu Rui: I very much look forward to that, I am sure everyone are as keen to see it. A sneak preview is a must! Jing Jue Yi Qiang: Has there been any publication on Grandmaster Chen Zhaokui‘s gong fu?

Chen Yu: I am indeed in the midst of arranging my father’s handwritten manuscripts. His disciples have each published on my father, one after another.

Zhu Rui: That’s fantastic news! May we see it soonest!

Wu Mi : I would like to utilize my holidays to come train with you, is that possible?

Chen Yu : Of course! Welcome.

Hua Yu : Where can we purchase the VCD of Chen Yu Shifu?

Chen Yu : You can liaise with me directly, my home telephone number is 010-63517126. Mr Chen, kindly give us an introduction of the VCD content and prices.

Chen Yu: 100 yuan, the content are demos on Yilu and Erlu, as well as Qinna methods.

Ziran: Chen laoshi, I feel that to train Taijiquan well, one needs to have some knowledge of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Chen Yu: Absolutely, one should have prior knowledge about Jing Luo.

Zhu Rui: What do you see about the way Chen Shi Taijiquan is trained in Japan?

Chen Yu: Taijiquan in Japan was transmitted from China.

Zhu Rui: They have said that their level of Taijiquan is excellent, and may surpass that of China.

Chen Yu: Taijiquan will always belong with China, they will not surpass us.

Lan Xing: There is currently online discussions about whether China should continue to transmit taijiquan to Japanese people , I don’t know how you feel about that?

Chen Yu: Knowledge should not be divided by countries, of course, we are also selective about who we teach to our own countrymen, the first importance is Martial Virtue (Wu De).

Xiao Jiang: What kinds of injuries can one sustain from boxing training?

Chen Yu: If the principles of boxing training is understood, there would be no injuries.

Xiao Jiang: Both my heels are currently in pain. Is it in connection with boxing training? Should I continue training?

Chen Yu: Your heels are in pain, have you been „stamping“ too vigorously?

Xiao Jiang: Most probably, how should I manage it? I am training the 56 tournament taolu form.

Chen Yu: Let your feet be levelled, do not use your heels to stomp, let the entire sole reach the ground, it is essential to sink down your Qi.

Xiao Jiang: Thank you Chen laoshi! It hurts to stomp the feet, how should continue it?

Chen Yu: For now, you can soften it, don’t go heavy on it.

Xiao Jiang: 56 tournament taolu form does not conform with the traditional taolu. But can it still be the basis for training the traditional taolu?

Chen Yu: From the health cultivation point of view, yes it is possible.

Xiao Jiang: For how long shuold one train the 56 tournament form taolu before one can be said to have attained gongfu? Can one know this by himself?

Chen Yu: Both our understanding of gongfu standards differ, I believe.

Wu Mi: Laoshi, how can we perfect the Fa Li movement in Yan Shou Hong Chui?

Chen Yu: Heel power (Jiao deng), turn body, chest-waist fa li (Xiong Yao Fa Li).

Wu Mi: Can it be understood as high speed turning of body with spine as axis?

Chen Yu: You can understand like this, but it is turning with spiral force.

Wu Mi: How is this turning with spiral force?

Chen Yu: Mainly you have to pay attention to the opening and closing forces in the chest-waist (Xiong Yao Kai He).

Xu: What do you consider Neiqi is? Can one feel the circulation of Neiqi by training Taijiquan?

Chen Yu: There is no appearance of Neiqi, it is in actual fact a form of intention (Yi Nian) that one can feel Neiqi circulating within the body.

Xiao Jiang: How does one use the waist to propel the arms during Taijiquan?

Chen Yu: Mainly it’s the waist-turning, leg powers combined, leading the arms.

Xiao Jiang: Laoshi can you come to Da Qin?

Chen Yu: If there is an opportunity, yes.

Chun Feng: Is Chen Shi Taiji suitable for senior citizens?

Chen Yu: It is suitable for seniors, but it must be trained according to one‘s level of physical health with the height of the boxing frame adjusted accordingly.

Xiao Jiang: How should seniors train Fa Jin in Chen Shi Taijiquan?

Chen Yu: The Fa Li can be exerted under the condition when Shen 神 and Yi 意 are in unity.

Zi Ran: I feel the sensation of sinking during exhalation, but upon inhaling, it is lifted again.

Chen Yu: The Qi should be sinking down during both inhale and exhale, lifting the Qi is not taijiquan.

Ye Lian: Who would you consider to be the best Chen Shi lineage in Beijing?

Chen Yu: Beijing has plenty of famous Chen Shi Taijiquan lineages.

Ye Lian: Care to refine? Ma Lao (Ma Hong)? Tian Shi three brothers?

Chen Yu: These you have mentioned have pretty good gongfu.

Wu Mi: How do we achieve the unity of Song Rou and Peng Jin in Taijiquan?

Chen Yu: If you have managed to Song Rou, and are able to achieve correct positions in several symmetries, then you would arrive at the unity with Peng 掤.

Wu Mi: What kinds of symmetries do Taijiquan include?

Chen Yu: The requisites of the boxing frame are top-bottom unity, internal-external unity, left-right unity, front-back unity, hands-feet unity, elbow-knee unity, shoulder-kua unity, Zhou shen (whole body) unity, Peng jin fully charged, this is a fundamental requirement of Chen Shi Taijiquan Quan jia.

HHD: Chen laoshi, could you speak about Fa Ke Gong’s practice of Chen Shi boxing?

Chen Yu: This topic is a long one, when there is opportunity we could talk about it in detail.

Lan Xing: I have always wanted to ask you about Tan Dou Jing Zha (pluck vibrate startle burst) force. Tan Dou force can be understood, but Jing Zha force is difficult to grasp.

Chen Yu: Fa Li is characterized by cold, crisp, shock, explosive (Leng Cui Jing Tan). This form of powerful Tan Dou Jing Zha force can only be developed through a combination of long-term training under the oral and psychological instruction of a master.

Lan Xing: I have always wanted to ask you about Tan Dou Jing Zha force. Tan Dou force can be understood, but Jing Zha force is difficult to grasp.

Chen Yu: Fa Li is characterized by cold, crisp, shock, explosive (Leng Cui Jing Tan). This form of powerful Tan Dou Jing Zha force can only be developed through a combination of long-term training under the oral and psychological instruction of a master.

Chun Feng: Do the taolu routines created by Kan Guixiang for the Chen Shi Taiji competition conform with traditional taiji boxing theory?

Chen Yu: I think that they basically do not quite meet the requirements of traditional taolu routines.

Athlon: Does anyone know Mr Chen Youqin laoshi?

Chen Yu: For now, I have not met him.

Athlon: I have heard that Mr Chen Youqin laoshi’s gongfu is not bad, he lives in Guangdong Nanhai city, not too far from where I am.

Chen Yu: If there is an opportunity, more than willing to meet.

Ye Lian: If your student trains seriously under you for three years, would you dare let him enter Sanda competition?

Chen Yu: Of course!

Ye Lian: Are you sure of winning?

Chen Yu: This would depend on physical condition and level of hard work.

Cxznbvm: How should beginners avoid broken Jin?

Chen Yu: Pay attention mainly to sticking and follow through, continuously without breaking. Of course, arriving at this level requires bitter training and perseverance.

HHD: After several years of training boxing, I have come tot he conclusion that Chen Shi boxing is difficult to train without a gong fu base. What is your view on this?

Chen Yu: As long as you study assiduously, even those with no basic level can train.

HHD: Where do you currently reside?

Chen Yu: Beijing Guozi Lane, Nan Da Jie Lane, No. 25.

HHD: Is it difficult to meet you?

Chen Yu: Not difficult, anytime is possible to meet.

HHD: How do we connect with you in Beijing?

Chen Yu: Just liaise with me directly by telephone, 010-63517126.

Zhu Rui: Is there a conflict with the basics training in Chang Quan and Taijiquan?

Chen Yu: No conflict.

Xue Yu Xing Feng: In several photographs your knee appears to have gone beyond the toes? How do you view the Taijiquan requirement that knee should not go beyond the toes?

Chen Yu: My student Xiao Hu might have answered your question already at the forum, but if you still cannot understand, do come and have a details discussion with me.

Qing Feng Xia Yin: If there is a fight between Taijiquan and Boxing, who wins?

Chen Yu: Taijiquan and Boxing each have their own advantages, but if we want to compare them, we need to resolve the issue of rules.

Zhu Rui: Chen laoshi well said! The rules limit martial arts too much!

HHD: I feel that if Chen Shi boxing is not fought according to ist philosophy, then it has no flavour of Chen style boxing. Do you think Chen Shi boxing can be trained in the manner of Da Song Da Rou 大松大柔?

Chen Yu: It can be trained with the method of Da Song Da Rou.

Ziran: In what way is Da Song Da Rou?

Chen Yu: That is, with large opening and large closing (Da Kai Da He).

Ziran: Is it the same concept when talking about Da Kai Da He and the height of the frame?

Chen Yu: Not the same. Da Kai Da He has low frame.   

HHD: I feel that the Song in Taijiquan is too difficult to train, could you point out the way?

Chen Yu: There is not short-cut, only bitter training.

HHD: But there are folks who have lost the essence of Chen style boxing.

Chen Yu: Everyone will have different levels of understanding. Of course, there are tens of thousands who practise, but only a few will succeed, this is so in taijiquan, and so too, with other martial art forms.

Wu Mi: Although the principles in all taiji lineages are the same, I feel that Da Song Da Rou is more in line with Yang style Taiji.

Chen Yu: Similar, but difference arises due to the different levels of training.

Xznbvm: Chen laoshi, should one practise five rounds of the boxing frame continuously? Or should one rest for five minutes in quiet standing and then repeat to practise five rounds in this manner of training to attain gongfu?

Chen Yu: Do not chase after the quantity of practice, it’s the quality that matters instead. The specific number of rounds of practice all depends on the physical strength of each person.

Wen Xian Geng: Chen laoshi, do you make your living through boxing instruction?

Chen Yu: I now teach boxing professional from home.

Ye Ma Feng Zeng: Can you elaborate on the achievements you have attained in Taijiquan?

Chen Yu: What achievements do you refer to?

Ye Ma Feng Zeng: Any competitions or contributions to Taijiquan?

Chen Yu: My contribution is to transmit true Taijiquan gongfu to the world.

Ye Lian: Do you agree to a contest if someone comes to you?

Chen Yu: I am very delighted to have the opportunity to exchange with taiji friends.

Ye Lian: I have seen the Zhaobao frame, and thought it evolved from Chen style. What do you think frankly about it?

Chen Yu: It evolved from Chen Shi Taijiquan. Every format of Taijiquan possess the same set of principles.

Wen Xian Geng: Do you persevere with Zhanzhuang? How long do you practise boxing daily?

Chen Yu: I persevere with Zhanzhuang, I do not calculate how much time for daily practice, but most of the time is largely spent on Taijiquan.

HHD: I feel that Chen Shi Taiji is truly difficult to train. How do you think Chen style boxing can be widely transmitted?

Chen Yu: What I can do personally is to research assiduously on Taijiquan. Of course, we also need everyone’s concern and support.

Xu: The stages of Taijiquan, can you elaborate on it?

Chen Yu: Taijiquan training can first begin with training the Yilu frame, tuishou can also be trained anytime. After the training of Yilu is finished, follow with Er Lu Pao Chui, there are not specific rules. However, the more detailed and solid when you learn boxing for the first time, the less effort you will have to make changes to your boxing later. Otherwise, you would have to spend a huge effort to make the changes later.

Xu: Make changes to the boxing? Do you feel that everyone who has trained Taijiquan previously needs you to make changes to their boxing?

Chen Yu: You have understood wrongly, what I meant is the problems encountered by the individual at different stages of personal training.

HHD: If one has diligently finished training a frame, is there a need to make any changes later?

Chen Yu: It still needs to be changed. No one’s boxing frame remains forever unchanged, it will constantly evolve before falling into place. Everything is in a constant state of flux and development.

HHD: At present, I feel extremely confused, whether what I have been training to present without the guidance of a shifu is correct.

Chen Yu: Communicate with boxing friends more. I am very willing to communicate with you.

HHD: I am most eager to accept your instructions! Would like to become your student, is that alright?

Chen Yu: I would be very happy, welcome!

HHD: Thank you!

Tu Tu: The Wang Yongquan school of Yang style taijiquan emphasizes Shen and Yi, how does the Chen style taijiquan think of Shen and Yi?

Chen Yu: The unity of Yi, Qi, Shen, Li should be organic.

Tu Tu: Do you truly believe that without Li but merely using Yi, one can Si Liang Bo Qian Jin (Using Four Ounces to deflect Thousand Pounds)?

Chen Yu: Si Liang Bo Qian Jin requires knack and ingenious skill to break the enemy, but you must have the trained Jin, if you have no Jin to speak of, then there is no knack nor ingenious skill to talk about.

Tu Tu: Ingenious skills depends on cultivating Gong Li, some folks speak about how Qian Jin Bo Si Liang, do you think it is right?

Chen Yu: What you mentioned is not unreasonable, but it’s not absolute either.

Lan Xing: Why do we sweat profusely and gain weight from daily training of Taijiquan?

Chen Yu: These are genetic factors affecting height and weight.

Lan Xing: Do you feel that the fundamental purpose of Taijiquan is to combat or to cultivate health?

Chen Yu: With respect to the modern society, I would say to cultivate life and health as it’s fundamental purpose.

Ye Lian: How is the level of gongfu of Qing Hua boxing instructor Tian Qiu Xin?

Chen Yu: His gongfu is very good.

Lei Yu Xing Feng: The title of Grandmaster? Is it hype overdrive? The modus operandi of modern enterprises?

Chen Yu: Sorry, I do not deserve the term „Grandmaster“.

Taiji Mi: I have heard that the 24 Form Taijiquan could possibly be an entry fort he 2008 Olympics (Beijing), why hasn’t it entered as of today?

Chen Yu: This is not something that an individual such as myself can decide, besides, the competition is divided into duelling and demo.

Cxznbvm: Chen laoshi, is lengthening the medial thigh ligament the prerequisite for Song Kua (low frame)? Is there a good way to lengthen the medial thigh ligament?

Chen Yu: Yes. A good way would be tot rain bitterly.

Cxznbvm: Do come over to Texas to teach when you have time, Chen laoshi.

Chen Yu: Do contact me, thanks. Taiji friends, due to time constraints, tonight’s chat will end here, thank you everyone! Thank you Chen Yu laoshi! Please look out for the transcript of this online chat that will be published shortly!

Chen Yu: Thank you everyone for their strong support of Chen Shi Taijiquan. At the same time, thank you for providing this platform and opportunity. I look forward for more opportunity to communicate with everyone. Thank you!

Zhu Rui: Chen laoshi, I will convey your greetings to my teacher, thank you once again! And Chen laoshi, please be welcome to Jinan to enjoy the scenery and give guidance to our boxing methods. Goodnight, Chen laoshi, goodbye!

Wu Mi: Grateful to Chen laoshi’s advice!

Wen Xian Geng: Chen laoshi goodnight!

Taiji Qian Mian Wang: Wishing Chen laoshi all the best! Here’s hoping you will come to often!

Ziran: Welcome Chen laoshi to gather in Shandong when you have time!

Zlxh: Good night!

This is some video footage of Chen Yu from the same year:

Contact information Beijing:





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