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.
Bob Ashmore
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