[i]Chansijin[/i] (Silk Reeling Energy)

Postby JerryKarin » Thu Mar 02, 2006 12:44 am

Thanks for those quotes, Horacio. I think the second one has often been mis-interpreted but when you put them all together it is quite instructive.
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Postby JerryKarin » Thu Mar 02, 2006 12:48 am

No, he never uses the words chansi or chansijing. This is just my reply to Audi's question about the first few moves seemingly lacking silk reeling. I have adopted the terminology from the Chens for convenience. Whenever I hear Yang Zhenduo or Yang Jun talking about arm rotation it makes perfect sense to me in the context of Chen style silk reeling theory.
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Postby JerryKarin » Thu Mar 02, 2006 12:51 am

I think it is quite possible that the Chen family teachers adopted the term somewhat late, and the Yangs were never exposed to it. In my opinion, though, they are doing the same technique, but not so obviously.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Mar 02, 2006 12:53 am

Hi Jerry,

Re: 'I tend to come down on the other side, with Gu Liuxin, because it seems to me that I detect the same type of turning, winding movement that the Chens call chansijing in what the Yangs do, though they don't use that phrase.'

Gu himself seems to have been inconsistent on this issue. In his introduction to Fu Zhongwen’s book, he stated, “The movements of Yang style are simple and straight-forward; its movement of energy is like the slow circular rotations of drawing silk, different from the windings, twists, and turns (chanrao zhuan zhe) of Chen style, where the movement of energy is distinctly spiral, or screw-like.”

Fu also mentions the drawing silk metaphor in his section on moving jin (p. 39), in the context of continuity and unbroken movement.

Take care,
Louis
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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Mar 02, 2006 1:14 am

Greetings Horacio,

Re: "He asked YZD and YZD said: sung you, sung kua, kai tung."

That would be: relax the waist; relax the kua, and 'kai tong' would probably be something like "open throughout." I remember Yang Zhenduo saying repeatedly, "la kai," which is something like "pull open."

Jerry, have I got that about right?

Take care,
Louis

[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 03-01-2006).]
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Postby JerryKarin » Thu Mar 02, 2006 1:23 am

Perhaps he was saying kai dang 'open the crotch'. He certainly does use the phrase la kai a lot.
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Postby Anderzander » Thu Mar 02, 2006 1:57 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
<B>Greetings Anderzander and All,

Re: “I think chansijin is simply the body being strung together.”

Aruguably, this would refer, not to chansi (reeling silk), but to chousi (drawing silk). Take care,
Louis </B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Louis

In your own words would you say more on what you think Chousi is?

In my own practice I can see grounds for them being different.... but for the purposes of debate (excusing poor grammar please!):

we have:

mobilize jin like pulling silk from the cocoon

silk reeling jin.

The subject of both those sentances is Jin (not at this point shown to be the same one)

The verb for them is reeling and pulling - effectively the same thing I think.

and the adverb (?) is that the reeling / pulling of jin is like that of pulling silk (from a coccoon) - also the same


I believe the Chen style stance is that Chansijin is a jin that occurs all of the time - it is the method of moving energy.

In other words when they are using an or pung (or any other) then they still employing chansijin.

Is it therefore a qualatative description as much as the phrases regarding Chousi?
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Postby JerryKarin » Thu Mar 02, 2006 3:28 am

OK, at the risk of flogging a dead horse I am going to make a few more remarks on the topic of silk reeling, because I think there is a lot of misunderstanding about the concept, which is a shame. Bear with me for a minute because I'm going to start out with an analogy about language.

Most of us learned grammar in school. We were shown how to diagram a sentence, divide it up into verb phrases and noun phrases, we were given techniques relating to subject, verb, object etc as a way to analyze a sentence. Many years ago a brilliant linguist named Noam Chomsky had some insights about language and came up with what he called transformational grammar, which showed, in a different way than the traditional grammar we learned in school, how certain sentences were related to each other and transformed into each other. Now did awareness of this transformational grammar change the way someone spoke? Not in the least! This new grammar yielded new conscious insights into how language worked. Millions of people grow up and become perfectly competent in using their language without any knowledge of this new grammar. In fact they were perfectly capable of using their language even without the help of traditional grammar too. These things are tools used for analysis. Tools like transformational grammar have the added value of being useful and having explanatory value for more than one language. But again, it is absolutely not necessary to learn these tools to speak a language.

Now let's turn back to taiji. Hold out your right arm in front of you. Try to rotate the arm. There are only two ways you can do this, right? It's going to be either this way or that way, clockwise or counter-clockwise, forward or reverse. This is an insight that somebody, probably a Chen family member, had long ago. And he or she noticed that one direction of rotation corresponded to the way he moved his arms when doing peng, and the other corresponded to the way he rotated his arm when doing lu. The peng direction he termed 'forward' and the lu direction he termed 'reverse'. At root, this is all there is to 'silk reeling'. Basically it is nothing more than an analytic tool to describe how the arms and other parts of the body rotate. Can you do taiji without this analytic tool? Absolutely! So why bother with this forward and reverse reeling terminology? Because use of the terms yields conscious knowledge about the system of body movements we call taijiquan. That's all. It's not like something new is being added to taiji when we talk about silk reeling. It's merely a tool for analysis. The Yang family has never adopted this method of analysis. They use another traditional method in which they describe the rotation of the arms etc. on a move by move basis. (The arm rotations etc are still there, whether we choose to think of them as forward and reverse reeling or not).

Personally I think taijiquan is not all that easy to learn. It's a new way of moving which forces us to unlearn some old habits and learn some new ones. Methods of analysis which help us do that quicker are very welcome. When I understood the implications of the 'silk reeling' analysis of taiji, I was very excited because it helped me learn it faster. But if you don't like this type of analysis, there are other ways to get to the same place. The silk reeling concept is not mandatory and Yang style taiji has traditionally done without it.

Some teachers have mixed up this method of analysis with other concepts like dantian rotation. And this is unfortunate I think because when you lump these things together people get the impression that "Chen style has silk reeling and other styles don't". It's a pity because the silk reeling concept is really just a method of analyzing your form (like 'open and closed' 'full and empty') helping you incorporate the essentials into your form. All styles of taiji have the principle that when one part moves, all parts move, and the parts must function as one big unit together. Silk reeling is an analytic method which focuses attention on the rotation of the limbs in order to better unify the workings of the body.


[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 03-01-2006).]
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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Mar 02, 2006 3:29 am

Greetings Anderzander,

In my view, I have always considered chousi (drawing silk) to refer to the way practice feels, more than how it appears. Are there spirals and rotations in my form? You bet. But I find something in the chousi image that really gets to a tactile, experiential aspect of practice. I strive to maintain a feeling of continuity of jin, by which here I mean a tactile feeling that matches my focus of intent as it threads (sorry, but that’s the word that works best for me) throughout my body, for example from the heel of my foot through my legs, torso, shoulders, arms, and out to my palm at the end point of my ulna. From joint-to-joint, posture-to-posture, I strive to maintain this sensation, and when it’s “on,” my practice feels right. This may just be me, but the “reeling” imagery of chansi lands on me as more of a visual, mechanical sort of thing, and hence it seems useful with regard to the outer manifestation of movement, but is not as evokative for me of this tactile sensation. Most of the classic taiji texts strike me as records of experience, or records of what training feels like, so I’ve always found the chousi imagery to fit that category. I’ve never pulled a silk fiber from a cocoon, so I can only imagine what it is like, but the whole notion of not pulling too hard or too abruptly, or avoiding not engaging enough, calls up experiences that are probably analogous, such as the feeling of holding a kite string and flying a kite. You have to set up a connection with the kite through the string, and you need to be sensitive to changes in the air current.

Somewhere on this board I once quoted a passage from the Liezi about a man who was able to catch a fish from a rushing river using only a single fiber of silk as his line. I won’t repeat it here, since that wouldn’t be using my own words, but it sure did sound familiar to me when I first encountered it.

Take care,
Louis


[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 03-02-2006).]
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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Mar 02, 2006 6:03 am

Hi Jerry,

I posted my last post in a rush, before heading out the door to a meeting at my daughter's school, so I didn't get a chance to read your most recent post until getting back home. Great post!

--Louis
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Postby JerryKarin » Thu Mar 02, 2006 6:16 am

Thanks Louis. It occurs to me that we get into a kind of bind with this silk reeling because on the one hand we want to say Yang style has the same arm rotations that the Chens call silk reeling and yet it is also true in another sense that Yang style lacks the concept and the terminology of silk reeling.
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Postby Richard Man » Thu Mar 02, 2006 8:41 am

It's not as bad as it seems. I practice both Chen Yi Lu, and Wu (Shanghai and HK) and even some Yang. The end you want is the whole body connectedness / the peng jin / coiling / threading etc. One mean to get it is the silk reeling jin, but it's not the only mean. The Yang/Wu method of training can produce the same results.

So really no need to feel inadequate :-)
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Postby Anderzander » Thu Mar 02, 2006 10:11 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JerryKarin:
It occurs to me that we get into a kind of bind with this silk reeling because on the one hand we want to say Yang style has the same arm rotations that the Chens call silk reeling and yet it is also true in another sense that Yang style lacks the concept and the terminology of silk reeling.</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Thats what I was trying to illustrate with my grammatical comparison. A rose by any other name as someone said.

To complicate things, as from the quote I posted earlier in the thread, to emphasise the connected rotational lines of movement changes the 'flavour' (perhaps even the recipe) of the movements.

Perhaps this is the difference you refer to Louis? (when you talked of threading over pulling/reeling)

Chen style ime seems to have connected rotational lines of force - rather than connected rotational lines of movement. What's more it is a constant state in 99% of the practitioners I have seen.

I think I differ from others on this board in how much I attempt to not use force (albeit jin) - so perhaps now I am getting into those differences.
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Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Thu Mar 02, 2006 11:07 am

Greetings All,

Louis, thank you for the translation of Wu Tunan's comment!

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
There are some people, then, who have illogically contrived to make the words chou si be regarded as a designation for a kind of jin, even mistakenly giving explanations of some sort of “chousijin.” </font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

This is exactly what I was trying to say speaking that "chousi" is not a type of jin.

And it seems that I understood your "proprietary language" terminology at last… Image Image That's really valuable approach in this sort of cases.


Take care,

Yuri

[This message has been edited by Yuri Snisarenko (edited 03-02-2006).]
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Postby Rich » Thu Mar 02, 2006 3:29 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by laopei:
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.</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Regarding the differences in Yang/Chen usage in the silk pulling/reeling imagery, I believe that Chen has a specific method of turning the waist to get power, which they emphasise alot. It is to do with the counterintuitive use of the legs - for instance to pull someone with your right hand from your left side to your right side, instead of pushing with the left leg causing the right leg to bend, you would push with the right leg, causing the left leg to bend. This turns the waist to the right and provides this counterintuitive pulling power.

I suggest that perhaps this is the Chen specific chansujin. It is present in the Yang form but much less overtly and frequently.

To repeat the above quote: In the Yang style peng jing is No. 1. ...If emphasis was all on chan Si jing, then Yang style would be the same as the Chen style.

Just my ten pence worth.

Regards,

Rich
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