Silk reeling

Silk reeling

Postby mls_72 » Mon Apr 11, 2011 1:57 pm

运劲如抽丝"- control "jin" like drawing silk

"Silk- reeling"缠丝 in Chen Taijiquan seems to imply a revolvable device inside human body. This is certainly different from “drawing silk"抽丝 taught in Yang Taijiquan and Wu/Hao Taijiquan.

I understand Yang Taiji as pulling silk evenly- to fast will break the silk, or to slow, you will not gather silk.

I still think Yang Taiji may have silk reeling but it is more hidden and not apparent like in the obvious movements of Chen. For instance Grasp birds tail may contain this?
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Re: Silk reeling

Postby Audi » Thu Apr 14, 2011 2:17 am

Greetings Matt,

I agree pretty much with your post, and I think these are important points for those who truly want to grasp the unique characteristics of Yang Style and Chen Style. The most recent opportunity for me to consider this issue intensively was at the Tai Chi Symposium in 2009.

At the Symposium, what I understood from the Chen representatives is that they believed that Yang Style and all Tai Chi styles have silk reeling energy 缠丝劲 (chan3 si1 jin4). As I understand it, this "reeling" or spiraling motion originates at the Dantian. However, I do not recall any representatives of the other styles using this principle in their teaching. Instead, the only references were to such things as "mobilizing the Jin like drawing/pulling silk" 运劲如抽丝 (yun4 jin4 ru2 chou1 si1), "leading movement with the lumbar region/waist," "moving in circles to keep the movement continuous," "and sinking Qi to the Dantian."

I also felt that the logic of the Chen principles seemed to require subtle differences in the timing of arm rotations, so that a Chen ward off tended to differ in execution from a Yang ward off.

My own current view is that "reeling silk" and "drawing silk" refer to different principles, as you have articulated in your post, and that Chen and Yang style look at movement through somewhat different prisms. I think that understanding some of the Chen principles can help with Yang Style, but that adopting too much of them merely changes the flavor of the movement from Yang Style into Chen Style.

What I understand from a Yang Style perspective is that externally, movement should originate from the waist and internally, from the Dantian. The movements should generally proceed in circles; therefore the waist must generally move in a circular fashion, sometimes horizontally and sometimes vertically. In a few cases in the form, the only way for the movement to feel continuous is to move the waist in a subtle spiral or figure eight, but this is not something that is a necessary focus at most times. In Push Hands, you may need to focus on an explicit circling of the Dantian if your opponent tries to put energy there, but again this is not the norm. You need to sink Qi to the Dantian so that it can support the internal movement of the Jin, but you should not force this sinking or focus on manipulating the specific movement of the Qi in any particular pattern. You rely on the fact that the Qi will follow wherever you put your Yi 意 (mind intent) and according to how you put meaning into your movements.

This is all I have time for now.

Take care,
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Re: Silk reeling

Postby Bob Ashmore » Thu Apr 21, 2011 5:28 pm

I lay no claim to understanding Chen style Taijiquan. Everything I know about Chen style would fit in a thimble and leave room to rattle. The same can be said of Wu/Hao and Sun.
I learned most of what I know about the other styles of Taijiquan (I have a beginners POV on both Yang and Wu styles) in Nashville at the Tai Chi Symposium in 2009. Which is to say... Not much but enough to get my face slapped.
What I do remember learning about the subject of Silk Reeling between the styles was from an impromptu discussion I got involved in with several members of Dr. Yang Yang's group and diverse others from different schools of Taiji. There were approximately twelve to fifteen people who were there, all of whom seemed to have deep held opinions on the subject of Silk Reeling and how it was definitely either part of the other family styles or that it was not.
Please understand that I do not recall any of the names of the people there beyond Dr. Yang Yang and myself. Dr. Yang did not get involved in the discussion and I only listened.
However, one of the others there, all I recall about him was that he was a student of Dr. Yang's and he was a teacher at a University, waited until most others had put in their two cents on the subject then he asked a question that really stuck with me, as it answered the question for me quite clearly.
He asked us all this question, as I remember it: "Since all the legitimate "styles" of Taijiquan come from the Chen family, and they all "work" as in they are all clearly martial arts using the same set of principles, how could anyone reasonably doubt the existence of Silk Reeling in the arts of the other "styles"?"
I have not had to waste another moment pondering this question since.

I hope this helps.
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Re: Silk reeling

Postby dturker » Wed Feb 18, 2015 3:29 pm

Silk reeling is in Cloud Hands
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Re: Silk reeling

Postby dturker » Fri Mar 13, 2015 2:25 pm

Silk reeling is also in repulse monkey
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Re: Silk reeling

Postby Bob Ashmore » Fri Mar 20, 2015 1:15 pm

And it's in Opening, Grasp the Bird's Tail, the transition to Single Whip, Single Whip, Raise Hands, White Crane Spreads Wings, Left Brush Knee, Hands Strum the Lute...
As well as Lazy About Tying Robe, Six Sealings and Four Closings, Buddha Warrior Pounds Mortar, White Goose Spreads Wings...
We could keep going, obviously, but most of us know the names of the postures or can look them up easily enough.

Whether you call it "Silk Reeling, "Pulling Silk", "Open, rounded, and extended", or simply "Turn waist, rotate hips, rotate arms", most people seem to agree it's necessary.

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Re: Silk reeling

Postby lao-pei » Sun Mar 22, 2015 11:22 pm

There is no mention of chan ssu jin (silk reeling energy) in Yang Chengfu 10 Principles.Therefore...!!!
What Yang Zhenduo said -during the years I had the good fortune of studying with him (1990 to 2001):

Tai chi magazine. 1990
An Interview with Yang Zhenduo
The following is an interview with Yang Zhenduo, fourth generation Yang stylist, who was a guest at the A Taste of China tournament June 30 and July 1 at Winchester, VA. Yang taught a Yang style seminar July 2. The translator was Christopher Pei, president of the U.S. Wushu Academy and vice president of the U.S. Wushu Federation.

T'AI CHI: Is there chan ssu jing (silk reeling energy)in the Yang style?
Yang Zhenduo: The Yang style does not have such a word as chan ssu jing. Chen style is unique to have that. But in the Yang style what we have is twisting and continuous motion. It has the chan ssu jing element, but we do not call it chan ssu jing.

1995 - Yang Style’s Growing Potential
Tai chi Magazine 1995

Chan Si jing (silk coiling energy) in the Yang style involves changing of the hand positions, Yang said. He cited the example of the movement Wave Hands Like Clouds where there is emphasis on the rotation of the arms and hands.
"In the Yang style, it (chan Si jing) is not as apparent as in the Chen style. But that content is incorporated in the Yang style," he said. "It is done subtly in the change of the hand position.
"In the Yang style," he said," most energy has the nature of peng jing (ward off) energy. In T'ai Chi's development, each style has its own characteristics and specialties, and in the Yang style peng jing is No. 1. Everything is based on peng jing and compared to chan Si jing it is totally different. If emphasis was all on chan Si jing, then Yang style would be the same as the Chen style.

"Whether you do Chen style or Yang, or the two different Wu styles or the Sun style, they are all different. You can only say each one is unique. They are all different.
"In China, there are different tastes: sweet, salty, sour, and spicy. You may say spicy is no good. But all the people in the south have to eat spicy food. People in the north, when they eat spicy food, all say this is horrible. So it depends on which one the practitioner likes. You say this one is no good, but I say this one is the best. So you cannot say which one is better than the other."
1997 Cultivating a calm mind
Tai chi magazine

"In the Yang style, the method is very simple. You sink the qi down to the dantian and you breathe naturally. You maintain your calmness and do not think too much about any other thing."

Yang said that there is chan ssu jin (silk reeling energy) in Yang style, but it is not as evident or as intense as in the Chen style. It is continuous in the practice of the form, since all the movements involve making circles.
"Yang style is much more open and in a larger format with larger curves. This is easier for the average person to be able to accomplish." He said that in the development of the Yang style, a goal was to develop and synthesize the movements to accommodate the general public and to modernize the applications. His father, Yang Cheng-fu, in his late life settled the Yang style as it is known today. But the way that Yang Cheng-fu practiced in his middle age and in his late age was different, Yang said.
Similarly, he said the Yang style does not talk about dantian rotations internally. "The Yang style doesn't concentrate on the internal rotation of the dantian. We just sink the qi to the dan-ti an. This is also part of the gradual development of the Yang style so it can be practiced by everybody.
"As long as you settle the qi in the dantian and your heart is calm, then your practice is natural and calm. That is enough.
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Re: Silk reeling

Postby Bob Ashmore » Mon Mar 23, 2015 4:53 pm

Thank you for posting the words of the Grand Grand-Master.
In his words:
"in the Yang style what we have is twisting and continuous motion. It has the chan ssu jing element, but we do not call it chan ssu jing"
In my words:
Whether you call it "Silk Reeling, "Pulling Silk", "Open, rounded, and extended", or simply "Turn waist, rotate hips, rotate arms..."
I believe there's a Shakespeare quote that is pertinent here: A rose, by any other name,...

At the second Symposium in Louisville I was in a discussion with several Chen family instructors as well as instructors from Su and Wu/Hao styles of TCC.
We were discussing this very topic: Chan Si Jin/Silk Reeling
All of the instructors who were not Chen family folks were saying things very similar to "there is no silk reeling in our style".
Which puzzled the Chen instructors more than just a little.
I had been in this scenario before and so simply smiled and waited for it.
One of the Chen instructors finally asked, "How can you say you do not use Silk Reeling when it's so obvious that you all do?"
He was met with a chorus of denial from everyone present, well except for me.
The Chen instructors had us all stand up and started doing pushing hands with us.
Whenever one of us would rotate our arms, turn our waist and roll through our hips they would say, "You're doing it! Right there; the arm rotations, the waist turning, the hips rolling, the continuous energy, that's what it is. That is Silk Reeling!"
I simply replied, "I didn't say I wasn't, but thank you for confirming what I've felt to be true all along."
The instructors from the other styles were then showed what the Chen's call "Silk Reeling" in fairly graphic demonstrations.
Without fail every one of them said, "Oh, yeah. I guess we are doing that."
There you go.
Call it whatever you want to call it.
Silk Reeling.
Pulling Silk.
Open, rounded, extended.
Turning Waist.
Rolling hips.
Rotate arms.

One family. One art.
Have fun with whatever it is you call it.
Makes no difference to me.

By the way...
You mentioned dantien rotation...
We got that in the same demonstration.
Strangely enough...
We were all doing that as well.

Bob Ashmore
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Re: Silk reeling

Postby lao-pei » Mon Mar 23, 2015 5:37 pm

Hi Bob: From YZD:"If emphasis was all on chan Si jing, then Yang style would be the same as the Chen style."
We -Yang Family Style- have the ten principles. YZD described the 10 principles and then added: "When this principles are fulfilled, the true characteristic and essence of Yang Style, become manifested" (quoted from memory).

I think we want to emphasize the ten principles, that is enough work, wouldn't you agree?
He could not said more clear: We just sink chi to Tantien, keep it simple, not think to much. If we did tantien rotation we'll be doing Chen style. Does it mean I/we don't rotate? Not at all. we respond like a ball to force being applied to it. The opponent shows you how you turn. it is not an act of your volition to turn the tontien.
May be we are practicing the same way and being confused about how we describe it.
I follow the ancestors (the best I can). Yang luchan said:
" ”...There is only one school of tai chi chuan: there are not two methods. Don’t be deluded by your own cleverness and foolishly make additions or deletions. If modifications were necessary in the methods laid down by worthy men of the past, then these would have been implemented during the many centuries from the Yuan and Ming dynasties down to the present. Did these modifications need to wait for our own generation?One must be patient if one wants to advance to the highest excellence. The most important thing in learning the postures is not the external appearance but to grasp the (YI) Idea. The greatest danger is in introducing one’s personal innovations and passing on errors as true transmitions…”
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Re: Silk reeling

Postby Bob Ashmore » Mon Mar 23, 2015 7:38 pm

Your posting seems a bit contradictory on first read:
From YZD:"If emphasis was all on chan Si jing, then Yang style would be the same as the Chen style."
From Yang Lu Chan:
"...There is only one school of tai chi chuan: there are not two methods."
Until you read the word "all" in YZD's statement. That helps clarify things a bit, I think.
Silk Reeling is no more the entire art of the Chen family than Peng energy is the entire art of the Yang family.
I have had many lessons from Yang family instructors that encompassed many other aspects of the art then simply Peng energy.
The Yang Family Tai Chi Chuan is not all Peng, any more than it is only "open, rounded, and extended". It is a lot of things all rolled into one.
That said...
ALL of the emphasis in Chen style is not on Silk Reeling either.
I have never heard a Chen stylist claim that Silk Reeling, or dantien rotation, or any other single thing, is definitively their entire art.
The Chen stylists I have been privileged to work with have taught me many different things, silk reeling and dantien rotation being only two of them.
Their art is also comprised of many different things:
They have a Silk Reeling form.
And a Fa Jin form.
And a Pa Chui form.
A fast form.
A slow form.
A form that varies the speed.
They seem to use forms that are aimed at teaching one single aspect of their art at a time, then forms that incorporate all of them together.
It seems a bit much to those of us who practice the other family styles, which mostly have one form and then you learn the various aspects and incorporate them all into that.
But it seems to work for them, so I certainly can't argue with their approach.
Nor would I argue with the Grand Master of the Yang Family. I hope it is now clear that I am not doing so.
I am merely stating that doing something but calling it by a different name doesn't make it different. It's still the same thing no matter what you call it.
If I'm doing Yang Family form and incorporating the Essentials and Principles that it teaches and a Chen Family member points at me and says, "You're clearly doing Silk Reeling" then in my mind we're doing the same thing no matter what the Yang Family calls it.
That's no insult to the Yang Family.
In fact...
It's the highest compliment I can pay them!
One Family. One Art!
Why should we be surprised when we see the other named styles doing the same things we're doing?
All I'm saying is that everyone can call these aspects anything they'd like. Just as long as they're doing them that's the important thing.

Which always make me think of this...
One of the first things I ever learned when taking classes with Si Kung Eddie Wu was this paraphrasing of how I remember his saying very much the same thing we're discussing here:
There is only one Tai Chi Chuan.
There are five paths you can take to reach it.
It doesn't matter which path you take, they all lead to the same place.

I'm sure I'm messing that up a bit, Eddie clearly says it better than I ever could remember. But I think that's fairly close.

To be clear I do not put all of my emphasis on any one thing; not Silk Reeling, not the 10 Essentials, not dantien rotation, rooting, not "open, rounded, and extended", not Peng, etc. Not when I practicing Yang style or when practicing Wu (Chien Chuan) either.
I pay attention to all these things, then nothing.
Meaning I pay attention to each of these things, sometimes only one, sometimes many together, to the best of my ability when I am training.
Then I do my best not to think about any of them when I am doing.
Does that make sense?

I don't feel it's good to get caught up in any one thing too much. To do so seems like it would just bog me down.
It takes all of these things, and then ten thousand more, to learn and use this art.
I try to learn as many of them as I can to the best of my ability.
Sometimes my ability with certain aspects is good.
Sometimes not so good.
All I can do is keep trying.
I have had very good teachers. I trust them implicitly.
Si Kung Eddie Wu was my first teacher of this art, a truly amazing teacher from whom I learned the basics. I still wish I'd have listened more and been a better student. Alas, I was young and didn't see the gold he was pushing into my pockets until much later.
Grand Master Yang Jun is now my Master and teacher. He is one of the best teachers I have ever met, he has never steered me in the wrong direction and has helped me to truly understand much of what I thought I knew but really did not.
Neither of them, not by word or omission, ever tried to dissuade me from learning from any of the other family styles.
In fact, both have flat out told me to learn everything I can from them. Many times.
So how could I not do so?
Master Yang has now held two Symposiums on Tai Chi Chuan. I have been privileged to attend both of them.
There we learned that, just as Yang Lu Chan states in your quote, "There is only one school of tai chi chuan: there are not two methods."
Which, at least to me, means that we're all doing the same things.
What we call them makes no difference.
Let's just do them and not worry too much about the names of things.
Bob Ashmore
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Re: Silk reeling

Postby T » Sun Mar 29, 2015 3:35 am

I trained Chen Silk reeling with Chen Zhenglei but my lineage is in Yang style to Tung Ying Chieh

As my sifu said (his sifu was Tung Ying Chieh) of silk reeling, "its all in the form"

And based on what I trained (Chen and Yang) I would have to say it is all in the form, it is just more subtle in Yang style
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