Master Che Yi Zhai (Che I Chai, Che Yong Hong), called Che er, was born in 1830 in the province of Shanxi, China.
When he was young, Master Che Yi Zhai‘s family worked for the rich Wu family where they tended, among other things, the Wu‘s animals. At the same time, the Wu family had also retained the services, as a professor and body guard, of a celebrated martial arts expert named Li Lao Neng.
portrait of Master Che Yi Zhai
One evening, the young Che Yi Zhai observed in hiding Master Li Lao Neng training xin yi quan to his students. He studied and practiced these techniques in hiding which he observed while discretely observing Master Li‘s classes. One day, Master Li was surprised when he found Che Yi Zhai training and thought him to be an advanced student of another master. When Che Yi Zhai admitted that he had studied on his own, the Master immediately took him as a student.
Che Yi Zhai then trained every day under the tutilage of Master Li Lao Neng and made remarkable progress. He became one of the most celebrated pupils of Master Li and was renowned throughout the province of Xhanxi. He worked as a body guard for many rich families which became his new trade.
Later, Master Che Yi Zhai was confronted by his junior master Guo Yun Shen, another student of the very celebrated Master Li Lao Neng. When Master Guo tried to place his famous peng chuan technique, Chen Yi Zhai quickly moved to his rear, thus showing his astonishing superiority. The two men worked together for a time and developed their capacity and their art of xing yi quan.
Masters Che Yi Zhai (right) and Guo Yun Shen (left)
Master Che Yi Zhai died in 1915 having taught a number of students, including Master Bu Xue Kan.