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

Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Wed Apr 12, 2006 5:24 am

Greetings Louis,

If I am not mistaken Richard is just trying to say that chansi jin may be viewed not as a tactile metaphor but as an idea that stands for a certain method of generating (and issuing?) power.

Take care,

Yuri


[This message has been edited by Yuri Snisarenko (edited 08-30-2006).]
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Postby Yuri Snisarenko » Wed Apr 12, 2006 12:10 pm

Another video that may be titled "no comments". I just thought that it may be of interest to some people at this forum.

Shi Ming:

http://www.wch.ru/video/sverh/02.avi
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Postby Kalamondin » Thu Apr 13, 2006 12:28 am

Hi Richard,

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2"><B>
It also has been interesting to me that several Yang style contributors in this thread had a negative reaction to the possibility that their forms might become more Chen-like. </B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Since one of my posts touches on this, I wanted to clarify my position: I donÕt want to incorporate Chen style elements because IÕm still honing my skills in Yang style. Until my form becomes more Yang-like, I donÕt want to incorporate anything else. When I am better at Yang style, I would consider learning other styles, but I have to do one thing at a time. When the Chen-like elements emerged in my form I worked on removing them: not because they were bad, objectionable, or negative, but rather because they are not the form I am working on at the moment.

Actually, when my Yang form became rather Chen-like, I thought it was pretty cool because the resulting larger motions were fun. My reluctance to pursue the more Chen-like motions that came from rotating my dan tien comes from not having a qualified teacher in this style. Combining styles takes more skill than I have to do well, and since I donÕt have any training in Chen style, the last thing IÕd want to do is begin on the wrong foot and end up 1000 miles off course.

At some point I probably will study other styles to get a sense of the various flavors of tai chi. I expect that if one understands the full range of whatÕs possible, then the middle ground (of whatever style you happen to favor) gains depth and subtlety.

Kal


[This message has been edited by Kalamondin (edited 04-12-2006).]
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Postby Richard Johnson » Thu Apr 13, 2006 6:46 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Kalamondin:
<B>Hi Richard,

I donÕt want to incorporate Chen style elements because IÕm still honing my skills in Yang style. Until my form becomes more Yang-like, I donÕt want to incorporate anything else.
</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Yes, this seems like a prudent course.

Good luck,


rj
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Postby Richard Johnson » Thu Apr 13, 2006 7:19 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
<B>
Just to reiterate—and as recondite as it may seem, I think it is important—Wu Tunan did not balk at chansi. I’m sure he would have acknowledged that it is a useful metaphor. What he was concerned about was the notion of “chansijin” as *a kind of jin*, and the suggestion by committee members at a conference back in the 1960s that there is also something called “chousijin,” and the further suggestion that chansijin and chousijin are synonymous. The notion of “chansijin” (silk winding jin) is arguably the method to which you have alluded. It is metaphorically based in the image of silk winding, but, with the addition of the term jin, it is in fact a nominal designation for a type of energy, skill, or strength. There is, however, no textual support for something called “chousijin” (drawing silk energy) It was this confusion of terms that Wu Tunan was objecting to.
</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Thanks for putting Wu Tunan's statements in better context for me. I understood and agreed with the chousi position. I didn't realize that it was simply the Jin addition to chansi to which he was objecting. i'll have to go back and re-read your translations with this in mind.

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
<B>
Also, all taijiquan movement involves spirals, rotations, and circles. If one doesn’t call these “chansijin,” does that mean they aren’t there?

</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Well, that's what I have always thought, so the Yang family teaches about rotations, spirals and circles. That certainly supports my notion that basic principles of Taiji is uniform between styles. I will have to pay closer attention.

rj




[This message has been edited by Richard Johnson (edited 04-13-2006).]
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Postby shugdenla » Thu Apr 13, 2006 3:50 pm

Wu Tu Nan is best remembered as a one who tried to put some semblance of reality in taijiquan practice while getting rid (attempting to) with 'superstitious' version of practice and understanding. On the other hands, some still reference him with 'political overtones' and base their judgemnet of him with bias and contempt.

He was one who tried to put the scientific label of testing taijiquan to see how it worked!
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Postby Audi » Fri Dec 29, 2006 5:01 pm

Greetings all,

I want to thank everyone for the responses to my initial post. I have given much thought to them and have hesitated to respond in what probably would be an inadequate way. Nevertheless, it might be worthwhile to close the loop and explain what I got out of the comments.

Chansijin as explained by the Chen family and their disciples and students is clearly a very deep concept. Considering it has helped me gain further insight into certain aspects of Yang Style, such as the importance and subtlety of rotation. Ultimately, however, I find the concept awkward or incompatible with certain other aspects of Yang Style and think it can lead to incorrect Yang Style practices in subtle instances.

In some cases, I think I rotate differently and for different reasons when I have tried in the past to respect chansijin or when I now try to follow Yang Style principles, e.g., in Cloud Hands, the Beginning Posture, Single Whip, and doing Push Hands circles. In other cases, I do not consciously rotate at all, e.g., in the legs during the kicks, moving the dantian, during Push, and moving the hips.

More subtly, I do not think of spiraling as a necessary aspect of a single joint’s movement, nor as a necessary aspect of all movement per se. Within each posture, I do think there is a linear and a curving aspect, but this is not quite the same as requiring a specific spiral for each invidual movement. Also, while I do find spiraling to be a natural and often subtle aspect of many movements, I am not sure that spiraling is always a natural idea in the way that Yang Style has come to view naturalness and simplicity. While an arrow or rifle bullet may spiral in its movement, I am not sure that a bow, club, whip, claw, pulley, or lever normally do.

Take care,
Audi
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Postby JerryKarin » Fri Dec 29, 2006 7:58 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Audi:
<B>Greetings all,

I want to thank everyone for the responses to my initial post. I have given much thought to them and have hesitated to respond in what probably would be an inadequate way. Nevertheless, it might be worthwhile to close the loop and explain what I got out of the comments.

Chansijin as explained by the Chen family and their disciples and students is clearly a very deep concept. Considering it has helped me gain further insight into certain aspects of Yang Style, such as the importance and subtlety of rotation. Ultimately, however, I find the concept awkward or incompatible with certain other aspects of Yang Style and think it can lead to incorrect Yang Style practices in subtle instances.

In some cases, I think I rotate differently and for different reasons when I have tried in the past to respect chansijin or when I now try to follow Yang Style principles, e.g., in Cloud Hands, the Beginning Posture, Single Whip, and doing Push Hands circles. In other cases, I do not consciously rotate at all, e.g., in the legs during the kicks, moving the dantian, during Push, and moving the hips.

More subtly, I do not think of spiraling as a necessary aspect of a single joint’s movement, nor as a necessary aspect of all movement per se. Within each posture, I do think there is a linear and a curving aspect, but this is not quite the same as requiring a specific spiral for each invidual movement. Also, while I do find spiraling to be a natural and often subtle aspect of many movements, I am not sure that spiraling is always a natural idea in the way that Yang Style has come to view naturalness and simplicity. While an arrow or rifle bullet may spiral in its movement, I am not sure that a bow, club, whip, claw, pulley, or lever normally do.

Take care,
Audi</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think I come away with the opposite impression: spiraling is an essential part of all taiji. Small example. When Yang Zhenduo explains how to do the transition movement to single whip, he shows the hands circle in a very symmetrical fashion and says, 'see, if the hands just go straight and come back straight ( 直来直去 ) the thing is lifeless.' Then he makes the hands move like the pattern of the taiji symbol.



[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 12-29-2006).]
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Postby JerryKarin » Fri Dec 29, 2006 8:17 pm

A worm gear is, I believe, a type of lever. When I practice with weapons, the blades describe spirals, not straight lines or perfect circles. When you hit with a club, if you are using it efficiently, the handle describes a spiral. The whole point is to use the club as a lever, and you can't do that if you move linear fashion or even perfect circle. The same is true of hitting a nail with a hammer. Ok you could hit the nail with some sort of linear move but the power would be significantly different from that generated by a little spiral your hand makes to use the hammer as a lever. Same thing with a whip. Watch what your hand does when you crack a whip: spiral.
Even moves which appear to epitomize linearity turn out to be spirals, such as the push move of grasp the bird's tail. Yang Zhenduo makes a big point of showing that the hands don't go straight out and straight back.


[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 12-29-2006).]
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Postby Audi » Sat Dec 30, 2006 3:41 pm

Hi Jerry,

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by JerryKarin:
A worm gear is, I believe, a type of lever. When I practice with weapons, the blades describe spirals, not straight lines or perfect circles.</font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

I think an example might be in the Saber Form, where we "hide the lotus blossoms in the leaves" (he hua ye li cang). As we rise to stand on the right leg, we push the butt of the saber, which is blade up, into a thrust past the right shoulder and twirl it blade down.

I know that some people punch in this way, but Yang Zhenduo and Yang Jun do not seem to. To me, it looks like they simply prepare the position of the vertical fist and then punch "straight," without an obvious twirl in the subsquent progression of movement.

I have paid attention to this issue, because it took me quite a while to unlearn the type of rotating punch I had originally learned in my Kempo Karate. I also know of one Yang Style teacher, somewhat prominent on the Internet, who also advocates rotation on contact, but not in the progression of the movement of the arm.

I long puzzled over the type of punch that I see in our form, but eventually speculated that our version of the posture is not meant to train a punch aimed at a particular focus point, but rather to train punching through a variety of possible focus points. To do this, you must set your fist before you encounter the first possible focus point. It is like bending a bow to shoot an arrow. I see the same logic in setting the wrist early in the Brush Knee palm strike. In places in the form where this idea does not make sense, we do not set the fist or the palme until the end (e.g., Fair Lady Works the Shuttle).

The only twirl that first came to mind in the hand form was the palm strike used in Fair Lady Works the Shuttles. To me, the final strike has the clear Silk Reeling Energy in both arms I was taught to express in practicing the few Chen postures I learned.

As I consider further, I would call Double Peaks/Winds to the Ears (Shuang feng guan er) and Step Back to Ride the Tiger twirling or spiraling strikes. I would say the same about the bottom strike in Strike the Tiger, but not about the top one.

The strikes in Deflect Downward, Parry, Punch and in Bend the Bow and Shoot the Tiger might be arguable, but to me it looks like the Yangs have a distinctly straight intention, and only position the fist so as to strike. There does not appear to be any deliberate twirling or screwing action to the application.

To me, Needle at Sea Bottom, Brush Knee, Piercing Palm, the final palm strike in Chop with Fist, Step up to Seven Stars, and Golden Rooster, are all straight strikes.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">When you hit with a club, if you are using it efficiently, the handle describes a spiral. The whole point is to use the club as a lever, and you can't do that if you move linear fashion or even perfect circle. The same is true of hitting a nail with a hammer. Ok you could hit the nail with some sort of linear move but the power would be significantly different from that generated by a little spiral your hand makes to use the hammer as a lever. Same thing with a whip. Watch what your hand does when you crack a whip: spiral.</font>


Aren't you talking about two-dimensional, rather than three-dimensional spirals? We are trying to make subtle points here, so let me lay out my thinking in more detail.

I think you can characterize movement in only one of two ways: linear or curving. To me, a two-dimensional spiral is simply a special case of a curve, with nothing linear in it. I have heard it said that spiraling (in this sense, I believe) is a major princple in Aikido, but I do not think of this as silk reeling. I think of the movement of a club, a hammer, and a whip in this way.

What I was taught about silk reeling was that it combined the linear and the curving into a three-dimensional spiral. I do not use a three-dimensional spiral in applying a club, hammer, or whip, only a two-dimensional one.

To me, it seems that a three-dimensional spiral is not fundamental to the progression of movement in Yang Style, but is merely one option. I think that Yang Style uses a variety of methods to unify the line and the curve.

In Rollback, I would say that the Yang Style movement done by the Association is essentially a linear right and left movement (if we ignore the extent of circular movement in the plane described by a merry-go-round). But pure linear movement in this way would violate the principle of continuity. To solve this, we add a small curve at the right end of the movement to change the characteristics from a pure linear one into something resembling an oval. In this way, we neither circle nor move strictly linearly. The oval allows the circle to come into play where it is needed, and the straight line to come into play where it is needed.

Another way to unite the line and the curve is to consider the movement of the body as a whole, or even more specifically the characteristics of the force you are trying to generate. If you consider one point on one body part, its movement might be strictly linear or curving; but if you consider the forces that generate its movement, you may find that they are of a different quality.

Consider Deflect Downward, Parry, Punch (Ban lan chui). To my mind the feeling in the fist and arm is purely linear (except for an initial rotation); however, the waist is applying a strong force at a tangent through circular movement. Here, for me, is the straight in the curve. Straight in the arm, curve in the waist.

The characteristics of the circular force in Deflect Downward, Parry, Punch become more apparent if you consider the follow-through in Apparent Closure. Here, the arm yields up its linearity and yields to the waist circle and so circles to the left. almost like the bar that links to rotating train wheels.

You may then well ask: "If the arm gives up its linearity, is there no longer a unity of line and curve?" My answer is to look at the legs and the weight shift. The weight shift is purely a back and forth linear movement that turns the waist circle into an ovoid shape, again uniting the line and the curve. There are also, of course, arm spirals during the beginning and middle of Apparent Closure, but it is not the only type of movement.

<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Even moves which appear to epitomize linearity turn out to be spirals, such as the push move of grasp the bird's tail. Yang Zhenduo makes a big point of showing that the hands don't go straight out and straight back.</font>


As I understand it, in the Chen Style equivalent of this movement (Six sealing, Four Closing?), the palms rotate from palm up to palm down as we do in Apparent Closure. I would even presume from the names (especially in Chinese or in a closer translation than I am using here), that Chen Style really has no Push psoture like ours, but rather a posture more akin to Apparent Closure. In our version, I see no hint of this rotation.

I do agree completely that our movement is not purely linear, but I would not call it a spiral or even a circle. In fact, when I have talked with fellow students about slightly circling back and forward in the Push posture, they usually do not obtain a good result. Their arms describe a motion that is too much like a ferris wheel.

What I now say to anyone who is not a complete beginner is the following.

In my mind, my intention is purely linear, backward and forward. There is no circle at all. However, you need to think of the backward motion as a sticking motion centered on the back and/or pinky side of the palms. To keep your palms somewhat flat and able to stick, you have to bend your wrist in a way that is slightly unusual for our form (similar to the Fair Lady's wrist advocated by Cheng Man-Ch'ing). You are aiming your wrists more or less at the tops of your shoulders, and your elbows flair out to your side seamin order to begin to engage your back more and to respect the principle of "plucking up the back."

Once your sticking intent is starting to run its course and new yin turns into old yin, you must smoothly change into a capturing and issuing intent (na2 and fa1). To capture, you seat your wrists in front of your arm pits and then thrust back up to shoulder height to issue.

It turns out that the seating motion, if done smoothly, converts the back and forth linear movement into an ovoid shape (really more like an ice cream cone or half of a figure 8). The movement ends up not being linear at all. For me, this kind of situation, where you use indirect means to achieve results, is an essential part of what I feel in the Associaton's Taijiquan.

Other examples would be the kicks in Separte Right and Left Foot and the back fist in Chop with Fist. In these postures, I think of my striking movement as circular, but what comes out, because of the constraints of the limb positioning, looks pretty linear.

I once had my steps described as being nice and circular. This was a surprise, since I did not do this with any intention. I have also read that Yang Style is sometimes described as having Bagua stepping, because of a circular aspect in its visual expression. As I have considered this, I have concluded that all we do in the Association is emphasize Central Equilibrium by moving the foot in, where practicable, before stepping back out. If you do this in a continuous way, what results is a curve, even though mentally all you are doing is moving your foot in and out in a linear way.

These are my further thoughts on "spiraling."

Take care,
Audi
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Postby JerryKarin » Sat Dec 30, 2006 8:58 pm

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Audi:
<B>Aren't you talking about two-dimensional, rather than three-dimensional spirals? ....(snip)What I was taught about silk reeling was that it combined the linear and the curving into a three-dimensional spiral. I do not use a three-dimensional spiral in applying a club, hammer, or whip, only a two-dimensional one.

To me, it seems that a three-dimensional spiral is not fundamental to the progression of movement in Yang Style, but is merely one option. I think that Yang Style uses a variety of methods to unify the line and the curve.
Audi</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

OK well I've got you 2/3's of the way to admitting there is a spiral in there. Image
I think a lot of times where you are thinking this is a 2 dimensional spiral, like in rollback, it isn't.

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 12-30-2006).]
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Postby bamboo leaf » Sun Dec 31, 2006 5:39 am

I look at a spiral as a point in space that defines the rotation of a sphere. In some lines of taiji this may be more apparent then others even to the point of over emphasizing in which case the movement seems like it would defeat the idea behind it, becoming just an external manifestation instead on an internal reality.
.
all taiji has this idea and usage, just expressed or emphases differently.
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