My new ebook on Silk-Reeling Energy for Tai Chi, Bagua and Hsing-I has 173 photos and detailed instruction on 18 exercises that will help you develop this important physical skill and take your internal arts to a higher level.
In the Chen family Tai Chi classical texts, they write that if you do not understand silk-reeling, you do not understand Tai Chi.
When I first learned about silk-reeling, my teacher, who claimed to be an internal arts "master," told us to screw the foot into the floor and "imagine" our chi traveling in swirling circles from the foot to the hand. And by the way, don't forget to cultivate chi and detach your mind.
I have met many Tai Chi students -- and even some teachers -- who believe similar things because they were also trained by people who didn't know what they were doing. They studied at the local YMCA or at a fitness center and believed their teacher was a "master." I know this because some people have come to my classes and have called me a master. They are always puzzled when I laugh, and then I explain that there are very few masters in America.
Then I investigated Chen Tai Chi and discovered internal body mechanics that have been lost by most Americans who practice Tai Chi. Among those body mechanics are the ones I have identified as the key six:
- Establishing and maintaining the ground path.
- Establishing and maintaining peng jin.
- Using whole-body movement (not as easy as it sounds).
- Using silk-reeling energy.
- Rotating the Dan T'ien.
- Opening and closing the kua.
In these three photos, I show one application of silk-reeling as a means of deflecting a punch.
When the force is coming, you establish contact. Next, you spiral and guide it away. This does not
take very much strength, especially if you remain balanced, centered, and use the body mechanics of the internal arts.
When you have neutralized the force, your opponent should be off-balance enough for you to counter.
This type of deflection is done in a relaxed but structured way -- and by structure, I mean utilizing the ground path, peng jin, whole body movement (whole-body connection), rotating the Dan T'ien and opening/closing the kua. Beyond that, there are other skills including sensitivity and more. The new ebook is a companion to the Silk-Reeling DVD. It is the result of years of practice and learning from students and disciples of Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang and Chen Xiaoxing, and I have also learned directly from Chen Xiaowang and Chen Xiaoxing. This is among the first material I teach my students because a foundation in these six basic skills is crucial to performing quality internal arts. Even then, it takes many years, but that is part of the fun of these arts.