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mathewjgano
02-18-2011, 02:26 PM
Knowing *what* silk-reeling is would be handy for people to know, in principle, rather than just looking at some outward set of movements and saying "this is an example of silk reeling". In other words, people need to ask questions rather than just "Oh, so that's what silk reeling looks like...
So what is silk reeling then? What are the focus points in the exercise? I'm guessing they're different for different levels/layers of understanding; if so, what might be some of those differences (particularly for beginners and intermediate levels) be?
Also, what are the sensations one experiences when practicing "authentic" silk reeling?

Lee Salzman
02-19-2011, 02:28 AM
It's totally above my pay-grade, but since no one is biting, and maybe to stoke some discussion, I could point out some traps that I have fell into as a beginner doing things LIKE but not directly labeled silk reeling...

That "magnetic" feeling people initially get and are a bit impressed by when they first try doing it, is actually tensile quality, and it is only a self-correction aid, but not actually a state you want to carry over into real movement in application. It helps you feel where the drive is going in your body during practice, since you can't simply jump over the misdirected drive like you would in unresisted movement. But to do, say, an explosive strike, that resistive quality must absolutely be lost, and only imparted in the initial explosive movement. So, again, the resistive/tensile quality, that is felt as a sort of intuitive "magnetism", it's a training tool, but it is definitely not the goal state for martial application.

The next issue is: don't do it as the practice of one rote movement over and over. Do expand out to any and all movements that feel awkward and uncoordinated and try to make them not feel so. Doing so often highlights areas of your body that are badly connected.

Also, don't initially try to get the full tensile quality going through all the body at once. As a beginner, this is impossible anyway. Choose an area that feels "empty" when you start a session, and see if you can, over the course of the session, expand that tensile quality to the empty area so that it is now actively involved in the drive and not merely going along for the ride. Then gradually incorporate these Frankenparts of your body into a more integrated whole pattern of movement. Eventually the drive should spread to encompass most areas of the body, hopefully... Nothing going along for the ride, every area feeling like it is a critical addition to the drive.

And on the role of parts, some particularly tricky things: treat your neck and your tail(bone) as if they were 5th and 6th limbs (or if you are male, 6th and 7th :D). Do pay attention to where you are driving them just like any other part. You are from monkeys, embrace it. :)

Hope that helps. Those are just stuff I've been working on from my own practice, but otherwise, like I said, above my paygrade. :)

Mike Sigman
02-19-2011, 02:00 PM
So what is silk reeling then? What are the focus points in the exercise? I'm guessing they're different for different levels/layers of understanding; if so, what might be some of those differences (particularly for beginners and intermediate levels) be?
Also, what are the sensations one experiences when practicing "authentic" silk reeling?These are all parts of the same thing:

http://www.aikiweb.com/forums/showpost.php?p=277012&postcount=31

Someone misunderstanding exactly what is being practiced/conditioned in the breathing (and related) exercises is going to blow the reeling-silk exercises (or misunderstand what is being talked about) and is going to have some wrong idea about "moving from the hara", in addition. I.e., these things are easily misunderstood without a common dialogue established in person. Most of the people I see nowadays who are "using internal strength" are still moving from the shoulders, etc., which means all the talk about 'silk reeling', 'breathing exercises', 'hara', etc., is actually something else and the terminologies are getting crossed. So my recommendation is to stick with absolute kokyu/breathing basics and branch out into techniques and applications only after the basics have been truly ingrained.

As always, "these things are 'easy to learn' but difficult to correct". Then again studying internal strength is very much Aikido because you get to watch your enemies defeat themselves in their rush. :)

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

Diana Frese
02-20-2011, 12:38 PM
It's nice Matthew thought some of us would like some descriptions of silk reeling and what is going on with the various parts of the body, and the kokyu etc. (I'm just guessing to show where I am coming from)

Where I am coming from is, yes, the shoulder thing rings a bell. Even before I get back to real training I notice my shoulders creep up in daily life and I know "That ain't right"

Today is sunny and I went out with my jo and started doing one handed strikes, trying to extend the tip forward , breathing, using the hips a little as in boat rowing exercise (funakogi undo). I'm not a jo expert but I take pieces that might help and work on them.

On the original thread, Future of Aikido, there is a helpful image mentioned, pool noodling, is that like hanging a long noodle into a pool as if trying to attract fish? This is a serious question, I like images from nature.

For years, I often thought of having an arm like a noodle or a wet towel when drawing the hips back to throw, so uke won't be able to stall the throw by using the resistance in my arm? Sometimes we tried kokyu nage this way by using actual towels in class.

I think funakogi undo is useful as a training exercise, for hips to get power down and out of the shoulders, but since Matthew is connected to a Shinto Shrine, maybe he would explain the breathing aspect, the ey-ho and ey-sa chant if that is the one he uses, and the purification aspect from Shinto, or does his group do this differently?

Or am I too far off topic. I'm just curious because funakogi undo is important to so many of us.

Back to the silk reeling, I am interested in the imagery. Is the silk light or heavy? I was able to watch one of the videos from the other thread, a non-Chinese teacher in a red Chinese jacket.

Is the feeling I seemed to be getting from the video relevant to the katate tori kokyu nage I described?

Mike Sigman
02-20-2011, 01:22 PM
How about just doing exactly what you said for everyone else to do and start explaining silk reeling and quit portraying people as either too dumb to understand or not skilled enough to be at that level.OK, Mark.... tell me what you understand already about Reeling Silk. You're indicating that the idea that you don't know basics is insulting, so I say, fine.... tell me what you know right up to the edge of reeling-silk so I'll know where to begin. If you're not "too dumb to understand or not skilled enough to be at that level", give us a logical and knowledgeable indication so I'll know where to pick from.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
02-20-2011, 01:33 PM
It's nice Matthew thought some of us would like some descriptions of silk reeling and what is going on with the various parts of the body, and the kokyu etc. (I'm just guessing to show where I am coming from)

Where I am coming from is, yes, the shoulder thing rings a bell. Even before I get back to real training I notice my shoulders creep up in daily life and I know "That ain't right"

Today is sunny and I went out with my jo and started doing one handed strikes, trying to extend the tip forward , breathing, using the hips a little as in boat rowing exercise (funakogi undo). I'm not a jo expert but I take pieces that might help and work on them.

On the original thread, Future of Aikido, there is a helpful image mentioned, pool noodling, is that like hanging a long noodle into a pool as if trying to attract fish? This is a serious question, I like images from nature.

For years, I often thought of having an arm like a noodle or a wet towel when drawing the hips back to throw, so uke won't be able to stall the throw by using the resistance in my arm? Sometimes we tried kokyu nage this way by using actual towels in class.

I think funakogi undo is useful as a training exercise, for hips to get power down and out of the shoulders, but since Matthew is connected to a Shinto Shrine, maybe he would explain the breathing aspect, the ey-ho and ey-sa chant if that is the one he uses, and the purification aspect from Shinto, or does his group do this differently?

Or am I too far off topic. I'm just curious because funakogi undo is important to so many of us.

Back to the silk reeling, I am interested in the imagery. Is the silk light or heavy? I was able to watch one of the videos from the other thread, a non-Chinese teacher in a red Chinese jacket.

Is the feeling I seemed to be getting from the video relevant to the katate tori kokyu nage I described?Hi Diana:

"Silk Reeling Energy" or just "silk reeling" is a reference to how the connected body is moved from the dantien. A number of Chinese arts have used this term over the centuries (the oldest one I know of was a form of Chang Quan many centuries ago). If you think about a silkworm caterpillar inside of a coccoon, laying down the silk in a spiralling motion, you can get an impression of where the term originates; imagine the arm duplicating such a spiralling as guided by the rest of the body.

Getting rid of shoulder motion is a great difficulty for most people because they still need to have some form of strength to replace the strength of the shoulder. If moving a sword takes strength, for instance, and you attempt to quit using the shoulder, you still have to have a replacement strength. The idea of "relax and use no strength at all" is actually incorrect, obviously. So the replacement strength involves a person "relaxing" in the sense of not using the shoulder, but in using the connected body, driven by the hara, to do the work. For most people, radically altering the way that they move so that the hara actually controls the strength of the connected body is very difficult. Altering the patterned movements that we have used since babyhood is very difficult. Worse yet, imagine having practiced and learned many techniques/movements in a particular martial-art over many years and then trying to re-pattern all of those movements.

Hope that helps.

Mike Sigman

dps
02-20-2011, 01:40 PM
OK, Mark.... tell me what you understand already about Reeling Silk. You're indicating that the idea that you don't know basics is insulting, so I say, fine.... tell me what you know right up to the edge of reeling-silk so I'll know where to begin. If you're not "too dumb to understand or not skilled enough to be at that level", give us a logical and knowledgeable indication so I'll know where to pick from.

Regards,

Mike Sigman Of course Mike you realize that Mark is not the only one reading your posts. So just assume that the others don't know the basics and explain to us as you would a beginning student.

A video of yourself would help.

dps

Mike Sigman
02-20-2011, 01:57 PM
Of course Mike you realize that Mark is not the only one reading your posts. So just assume that the others don't know the basics and explain to us as you would a beginning student.

A video of yourself would help.
Not even a please or a thank you? Just directions on what I should do?

Let's see what Mark knows first.

Mike Sigman

DH
02-20-2011, 02:05 PM
Reeling...really?
A while ago I was fishing with Howard. Watching experts fish is sometimes boring and sometimes entertaining. I asked Howard once
"How come the fish never get wise to the bait and turn their backs on it?"
"Some do" He said. I aint gonna tell you the rest of his reply.
I just went back to focusing on the reel reeling in.

MM
02-20-2011, 05:11 PM
OK, Mark.... tell me what you understand already about Reeling Silk. You're indicating that the idea that you don't know basics is insulting, so I say, fine.... tell me what you know right up to the edge of reeling-silk so I'll know where to begin. If you're not "too dumb to understand or not skilled enough to be at that level", give us a logical and knowledgeable indication so I'll know where to pick from.

Regards,

Mike Sigman

First, you brought my post over from another thread. Now who's harassing whom?

Second, let's examine what I said in that other thread:


It seems fairly straight forward that he does. Then why hedge on explaining it? What is silk reeling? After all, "it's perfectly legitimate if someone claims to be doing "silk reeling" or some other buzzword to ask them to explain it." If Mike stays true to form, it'll either be silence or a turn-around asking the poster to explain it.


Notice that I predicted exactly what Mike would do. He stayed very true to form and tried to turn things around. But, notice, which Mike conveniently hides, that I *never* talked about silk reeling. Mike did. And he did so while making everyone else out to be subpar in their understanding of it.

To re-quote Mike, "it's perfectly legitimate if someone claims to be doing "silk reeling" or some other buzzword to ask them to explain it."

As noted below, you still haven't explained the buzzwords you used to describe your knowledge of Ueshiba's breathing practices or Ueshiba's traditional system. Care to elaborate on that? Or just remain true to form and ask me to explain my knowledge first?


Speaking of explaining, how about explaining knowing what Ueshiba's breathing practices were and what Ueshiba's traditional system was in regards to kokyu? Especially considering most of Ueshiba's students had a very hard time understanding what Ueshiba was doing, let alone recreating those skills. Bold below is my addition:

MM
02-20-2011, 05:24 PM
Let's see what Mark knows first.

Mike Sigman

Since some people are not following along, let me re-iterate specific points.


In terms of Aikido and the future of it, it's perfectly legitimate if someone claims to be doing "silk reeling" or some other buzzword to ask them to explain it. To just dumbly nod without anything going through the head but fleecy clouds is to ask for trouble. The idea that anyone can assert anything publicly and that no one is allowed to ask questions is a sure sign of trouble in an art.

Any discussion about a 'future' should allow for critical and specific questioning (not some of these "I demand you explain this" absurdities to crop up occasionally on the forum).

Mike Sigman

Mike, you talked about reeling silk and I took your very own advice to ask you to explain it. You not only balked, but you told everyone to just go back to basic breathing practice. Then, true to form, you attempted to get other people to explain what you, yourself, were talking about.

You know, all your talk about silk reeling and breathing exercises is actually something else. My recommendation to you, Mike, is to stick with explaining absolute breathing basics and then branch out into reeling silk explanations only after you've truly ingrained the basics.

Mike Sigman
02-20-2011, 05:55 PM
Since some people are not following along, let me re-iterate specific points. Give us some starting facts on breathing basics or something, Mark. So far you're leaving the distinct impression that you know nothing and your attempt to skew my words about Aikido instruction falls flat. Try it..... put down some facts.

Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
02-20-2011, 05:57 PM
First, you brought my post over from another thread. Now who's harassing whom?
Er..... did you really miss the fact that you were disrupting another thread with another of your O.T. personal attacks? That's why I moved it over here.

Mike Sigman

DH
02-20-2011, 06:07 PM
First, you brought my post over from another thread. Now who's harassing whom?

Second, let's examine what I said in that other thread:

Notice that I predicted exactly what Mike would do. He stayed very true to form and tried to turn things around. But, notice, which Mike conveniently hides, that I *never* talked about silk reeling. Mike did. And he did so while making everyone else out to be subpar in their understanding of it.

To re-quote Mike, "it's perfectly legitimate if someone claims to be doing "silk reeling" or some other buzzword to ask them to explain it."

As noted below, you still haven't explained the buzzwords you used to describe your knowledge of Ueshiba's breathing practices or Ueshiba's traditional system. Care to elaborate on that? Or just remain true to form and ask me to explain my knowledge first?
Oh I think it's time to be more specific

Breath work
Lets have Mike factually site a detailed and verified how-to specific from Ueshiba that ANYONE can lay claim to

Silk reeling
Then factually site a detailed and verified model for silk reeling agreed to among a cross section of ICMA master class teachers.

I don't mind that Mike is an unproven amateur teacher on the scene. he has real skills so all the power to him. But this cat and mouse pretending to know more than everyone,else and pretending this is all codified and agreed to by everyone in the Chinese community is simply unsupportable nonsense, mostly patched together from an outsider looking in. The Chinese teachers do no agree any more than the Japanese do. The very idea that the Chinese or anyone else agrees on all aspects of IP is ludicrous..There are arguments at master class level over peng, over the use and understanding of six harmonies, over breath power (type, use, when to begin...if taught at all), Silk reeling, training of Dantian etc..

*Mike has ya'll convinced THEY all agree and he knows the answers. So, where are these pros backing up Mikes "theories as unanimous codified facts of IP?"
They do not exist.

*Where are his students who have power ...from years ago...who have a long standing relationship with him that can vet his own understanding and methods to teach from way back?.

He just openly stated he laughs at Koryu and Daito ryu secrets
Is this a personal attack to challenge his ideas?
Is this bickering to question unsupported claims of high level knowledge he holds but never discusses?
To point that he has not produced long time students?
He openly stated asking was something everyone should do
Okay...since you keep bringing it up Mike, let's
Dan

Mike Sigman
02-20-2011, 06:10 PM
You know, all your talk about silk reeling and breathing exercises is actually something else. My recommendation to you, Mike, is to stick with explaining absolute breathing basics and then branch out into reeling silk explanations only after you've truly ingrained the basics.Mark, you don't have the foggiest idea what reeling-silk is. You guys lurk on material swiped by your Seattle buddy from QiJin and try desperately to make a patchwork quilt of ideas become a "system". If you want to debate facts, debate 'em. Show me up with your massive knowledge. Surely you guys can stoop low enough to debate a topic if you can stoop low enough to get information from QiJin?



((from 2007 through the present))

> A nice lady from the Roppokai
> came to train at Aunkai a few weeks back, and she also trains with Dan
> Harden. She then boasted about how Dan gets all the QiJin information
> that is supposedly private, since he has someone on the inside passing
> it on to him. Since she did boast about it pretty publicly, I thought
> you might want to hear it too, if only for confirmation of what you
> suspected in any case.



Mike Sigman

Mike Sigman
02-20-2011, 06:15 PM
I don't mind that Mike is an unproven amateur teacher on the scene. Heh. Stop with the insults, Dan. You're the one who's desperately been grabbing information from me for years. A lot of people know it.

If you want to debate something about breathing or silk-reeling or anything fact-based, start it off. Let's see it. See if you can do something besides attack me personally.

Mike Sigman

phitruong
02-20-2011, 06:32 PM
would you guys mind cease fire? there are civilians getting caught in cross fire!

DH
02-20-2011, 06:38 PM
Heh. Stop with the insults, Dan. You're the one who's desperately been grabbing information from me for years. A lot of people know it.

If you want to debate something about breathing or silk-reeling or anything fact-based, start it off. Let's see it. See if you can do something besides attack me personally.

Mike Sigman
Have you debated any one of my on topic points about what you said about silk reeling and Chinese arts with verifiable sources that they all agree to?
Have you answered anything at all about the topic you brought up?
About Ueshiba's breath training as certified and agreed to by anyone- instead of something you leaned elsewhere?
Nope.

I have asked about your student base before to vet you and your methods...even though I give you the benefit of the doubt, and still recommend people go to train with you. I get nowhere. I am left to say "His methods and skills as a teacher are unproved, but he personally has skills."
Seriously, why is asking you questions, not getting any answers, while you continue to state that anyone who talks about these things should be asked.......attacking...you? How does that work?
Can you defend/ explain that logic?
Dan

gregstec
02-20-2011, 06:52 PM
Reeling...really?
A while ago I was fishing with Howard. Watching experts fish is sometimes boring and sometimes entertaining. I asked Howard once
"How come the fish never get wise to the bait and turn their backs on it?"
"Some do" He said. I aint gonna tell you the rest of his reply.
I just went back to focusing on the reel reeling in.

Oh, I don't know about that - I think that fish being fish, they just got to go for the bait - after all, why would we bother to fish - personally, I think its all about the the three Bs (Beer, Babes, and Boats) with the subset of bait and fish :)

Greg

gregstec
02-20-2011, 07:00 PM
would you guys mind cease fire? there are civilians getting caught in cross fire!

You gave up your civilian status a long time ago buddy :)

Best to duck in the foxhole and enjoy the show :D



Greg

Mike Sigman
02-20-2011, 07:06 PM
while you continue to state that anyone who talks about these things should be asked.......attacking...you? Never said anything about "anyone" doing anything. You guys. Now.... have you got any facts to debate or should I post something on QiJin you can use as a starter?

Mike Sigman

lbb
02-20-2011, 07:08 PM
Best to duck in the foxhole and enjoy the show :D

I suppose that works if you're a voyeur. Personally, I wish they'd just get a room already.

DH
02-20-2011, 07:26 PM
Nope..I'm out.
Dan

Mike Sigman
02-20-2011, 07:48 PM
Nope..I'm out.
DanNah, not yet. You've still got this comment that affects my personal reputation and I've legally put out professional tapes, workshops, web-forum, etc., so you need to address this comment of yours:
[quote=Dan Harden}
I don't mind that Mike is an unproven amateur teacher on the scene. [/quote]

Given that you've been gathering information from the QiJin forum, my articles and videos for a proven number of years, it's just not acceptable that you try to run down my reputation at the same time that I've been aware of you 'borrowing' information for years. You can't have it both ways. Your representatives who assist you in teaching are also attempting to smear me. I need to hear some sort of public statement from you since you've gone out of your way to attack my reputation while at the same time copping information.

Mike Sigman

Janet Rosen
02-20-2011, 08:10 PM
I am getting so tired of pissing contests.....

mathewjgano
02-20-2011, 08:40 PM
Holy crap on a stick, guys. If you keep picking at it it's never going to heal. Ignore function, anyone? Seriously. Without getting into blame for whatever and whatnot, this is the kind of stuff my wife deals with as a 2nd grade teacher. At this point I feel confident saying you both feed into it a little too quickly.
Thank you folks for the information given.
Take care.

MM
02-20-2011, 08:44 PM
Mark, you don't have the foggiest idea what reeling-silk is. You guys lurk on material swiped by your Seattle buddy from QiJin and try desperately to make a patchwork quilt of ideas become a "system". If you want to debate facts, debate 'em. Show me up with your massive knowledge. Surely you guys can stoop low enough to debate a topic if you can stoop low enough to get information from QiJin?

Mike Sigman

Uh, Mike, you are basically stating that I don't know anything. You're stating that I swipe material. For the record, I didn't. And you continually keep trying to get other people to toss out information when you, yourself don't.

Jun, are you getting this? These continual passive/aggresive style attacks on people by Mike should be stopped. I'm officially and publicly reporting the above post as an attack on my character. Can you do something to stop Mike from continually doing this to me and other people? Thank you.

Mike Sigman
02-20-2011, 09:06 PM
I am getting so tired of pissing contests.....I agree with that, but one time, a few years back, I let a group of people just continue with the personal attacks and after 4 days, no one had called for the senselessness and childishness to stop. As soon as I finally replied, several people suddenly saw fit to talk about "pissing contests", etc., although they hadn't said a word up until then. As soon as I replied, Jun did a "time out" on me and it was a shared blame thing. Now I generally wait a while to see if anyone is going to complain as long as it's one-sided. Funny thing is I never see the complaint until I finally respond to a lot of personal attacks.

Can you and Matt point out to me where you've said anything during the recent archived posts where Mark Murray and Dan have both continuously made personal attacks for a while before I responded? It's just a curiosity of mine about human behavior.

Thanks.

Mike Sigman

dps
02-20-2011, 09:37 PM
Mike and Dan are fighting again.
The natural order of things have been restored.
The universe is in balance.
dps

gregstec
02-20-2011, 10:00 PM
I suppose that works if you're a voyeur. Personally, I wish they'd just get a room already.

now that would be a show :)

phitruong
02-20-2011, 10:26 PM
now that would be a show :)

greg and mary, eewwww. that's gross. i was eating too. now i lost my appetite and in need of a mind wipe. sheesh!

mathewjgano
02-20-2011, 10:39 PM
Can you and Matt point out to me where you've said anything during the recent archived posts where Mark Murray and Dan have both continuously made personal attacks for a while before I responded? It's just a curiosity of mine about human behavior.


You may well be right about people commenting more after a response is issued, I couldn't say. It would fit certain preconceptions I have about human nature, but I believe that's somewhat moot where my point is concerned.
I was trying to steer clear of cause and focus on the end effect with my analogy. Teachers regularly find themselves in the middle of two people who have different accounts of reality. After a certain amount of time, it doesn't matter who started it. That it keeps getting started becomes the issue; that the same people are involved becomes the issue. I didn't mean to be disrespectful by comparing you guys to 2nd graders, and in retrospect I think I should have chosen kinder wording to describe the fact that, regardless of who started it, you both seem to take whatever bait the other tosses out there. I don't know who's more to blame; I don't care. As I see it, you both probably ought ignore anything you see the other guy doing which could be in poor taste. I believe I've seen you both needle each other. Am I right? I don't know. I don't really care. I do care that I was looking forward to different takes on silk reeling and got the same crap I've seen only too recently. I'm honestly surprised I'm seeing it this quickly. It's from that surprise that I'm being this direct...and again I apologize if I'm completely out of line. I'm sure Jun would rather I ignore it like I'm telling you guys to do toward each other (I'm sorry, Jun), but I feel compelled to tell you both what I think at the moment because frankly I'm tired, a little cranky, and I still have to start my nasty job for the night working at the nasty airport.
No offense intended, and now that I've expressed myself to the best this moment's ability will allow, I'll leave it be for a day or two.
Take care, everyone.
Sincerely,
Matthew

gregstec
02-21-2011, 08:46 AM
greg and mary, eewwww. that's gross. i was eating too. now i lost my appetite and in need of a mind wipe. sheesh!

Wow, we were able to gross Phi out - now that is an accomplishment :)

lbb
02-21-2011, 09:50 AM
My work here is done.

Diana Frese
02-21-2011, 10:19 AM
Wait, here's something from one of the "metaphor people"

I read on the first page of this new thread that the silkworm makes the cocoon in a spiraling movement and that rang a bell. It kind of appeared in my mind when I woke up this morning.

Previously I had thought silk reeling had to do with people reeling cloth that had been made out of silk, either for washing, or folding it. Maybe I thought of the fluttering silk in the gymnastics exercises until I read the clarification, I think it was Mike who wrote it.

So it's what the silkworms do, not what the people do that the metaphor refers to.

The spiral was one of the first things Saotome Sensei used as an example of Aikido following the principles of nature. I also have a book on Architecture, called Origins of Form which also mentions the spiral seashell which was mentioned by Saotome Sensei.

Now we have a link that we can make in our minds from a Chinese teacher of Chinese arts to a Japanese teacher of Aikido .....

Basic structures and concepts from Nature...

Metaphors

Then later in that same post the practical problem of shoulders is attended to, the hara is mentioned etc....

My question was answered, sorry to reply so late in the thread. Not that I understand completely, but I understand a lot more than I did before.

Thanks. Now that I got that part, and expressed gratitude for it, I'll check out the other posts....

Diana Frese
02-21-2011, 10:34 AM
I just checked, yes, it was Mike who wrote, directly answering my question. I'm sorry I didn't answer right away! With concepts, and images sometimes it takes a while for me to ponder visualize and absorb them, then think of a reply....

I may not get a chance to do the Tai Chi, but I'm sure those silkworms and their activities will help my Aikido, so I got something really valuable from this. I joined Aiki Web on the Thanksgiving thread in November, so here is yet another thing of many I am thankful for from the people here.

dps
02-21-2011, 10:35 AM
]Holy crap on a stick, guys. ...........Seriously. Without getting into blame for whatever and whatnot, this is the kind of stuff my wife deals with as a 2nd grade teacher.[/B]

2nd graders. The future of Aikido?

dps

DH
02-21-2011, 01:18 PM
I am sick of it as well
I am walking away from this. He's all yours.
Dan

Mike Sigman
02-21-2011, 01:50 PM
The spiral was one of the first things Saotome Sensei used as an example of Aikido following the principles of nature. I also have a book on Architecture, called Origins of Form which also mentions the spiral seashell which was mentioned by Saotome Sensei.

Now we have a link that we can make in our minds from a Chinese teacher of Chinese arts to a Japanese teacher of Aikido .....

Diana, once an art indicates that it adheres to Yin and Yang (or derivatives like In-Yo, A-Un, Heng-Ha, etc.) and uses the term qi or ki, then all the rest is presumed. Since these basic terms are ubiquitous in Chinese and Japanese martial arts, so is (or was) this kind of movement (as in the 'reeling silk' metaphor).

I've heard some aspects of winding in Japanese arts compared to the Morning Glory, the Asagao, and the description of the two types/directions of windings is a match. My problem with the Asagao comparison is that I'm not familiar enough with any Japanese experts who demonstrate these types of windings that I would definitively make the comparison. But "Asagao" has connotations that are as attractive as "Reeling Silk".

The thing about reeling-silk is that it involves the whole body, not just, say, the upper body, as some people have indicated that Asagao does. In proper reeling-silk usage a twist to my hand or by my hand will have a tensile connection that I can feel (along the surface of the body) to my toes. The idea of a winding by or to the hand that only goes to the hara seems to me to be incomplete and leaves a lot of the body's power unused, for obvious reasons.

However, like you, I'm intrigued (or even 'satisfied') by a body-wide process that involves the natural winding of the body.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

stan baker
02-21-2011, 05:52 PM
If you want to understand whole body winding from a japanese perspective ask Dan Harden.

stan

Lee Salzman
02-21-2011, 10:33 PM
Vague attempt to counter thread drift... Forgive me, please...

Some other relevant things I have been finding in my own training of movement quality that I wonder if other people have also figured out in their own training: not trying to feel the body as a set of bones running down the center of things, especially the spine. This seems to actually cause disconnects, rather than bridge them. The muscles along the surface are what are doing the movement, so this is what I need to literally feel (not visualize, actually feel) activating. I am not thinking or visualizing the action of the muscles, I am driving them, as in doing something. Feelings come as a side-effect.

Likewise, not thinking of the center of joints, thinking of all the muscles running continuously across their surface and the actions they need to or could perform to assist and resist the joint in movement. Like when the elbow extends, the triceps are releasing into the back side of the forearm and the biceps are tugging into the front side. Or the torso, not thinking of the spine as a shaft running through the center of it, focus on the left and right sets of muscles running up and down both the front/abdomen side and the back/spiney side. Especially thinking of the trying to move the spine as this ropey/stick thing in the center prevented me from getting an actual feel of how the torso drives into the legs and vice versa, or the same with the arms. It was more like a snakey elliptical barrel of muscle, that can split off or tug on things as it runs into the upper and lower parts of the body. In other words, I had to completely and utterly discard the idea of having an axis, especially a central one, and feel myself as an actual tube of muscle.

Or positioning a joint at both of the extremes of its ranges of movement (especially at various locations at the spine that you feel can be moved, any and all of them), and then noticing how at either extreme force conduction just feels... wrong. So trying to consciously keep the joint in a more balanced position with respect to its extremes rather than just having it relax there by accident. Also examining the rotational capacity, also abduction and adduction, of certain joints, like upper arm, and upper leg, really helps there too, as they do a lot more than merely flex and extend.

After working with all of that stuff, I can seem to sense a lot of stuff that seems to in hindsight feel like winding, spirals, microcosmic orbits, bla bla, etc. in my body, but not as something I set out to do, but merely as curious side-effects of getting the joints to drive correctly with respect to given movements. Trying to do it in reverse, i.e. thinking spirals onto my body, did not seem to do any good and was counter-productive.

Thomas Campbell
02-22-2011, 06:31 PM
So what is silk reeling then? What are the focus points in the exercise? I'm guessing they're different for different levels/layers of understanding; if so, what might be some of those differences (particularly for beginners and intermediate levels) be?
Also, what are the sensations one experiences when practicing "authentic" silk reeling?

hi Matthew:

I'll give you what little I know of silk-reeling from the taijiquan perspective. It's not a practice specific to aikido, as far as I know, but training it may provide a better sense of internal connection and whole-body coordinated movement.

Silk-reeling, or chansi jin, is related to but distinct from silk-drawing or chousi jin. I mention this initially to help clarify what often becomes confused in discussions of taijiquan.

There is a taiji saying to the effect of move jin "as though drawing silk" (yun jin ru chousi) from a cocoon. Louis Swaim, an accomplished translator as well as a long-time taiji practitioner, describes the metaphor in more detail:

each silkworm produced its cocoon in one continuous strand—a very fine fiber. Silk production required removal of the intact individual fibers from cocoons and winding these into thread that was then woven into fabric. The drawing, or pulling of silk (chousi) from the cocoons was a very delicate procedure. If done incorrectly—with too much force, or with stops and starts—the fiber would break. So, it is this imagery that taiji theory draws upon to better understand the interaction of body-mechanics and mental intent required for movement that is integrated, constant, sensitive, and smooth.

The phrase chousi is a common metaphor not limited to taijiquan. It is often used to describe doing something slowly and meticulously. There are related expressions that shed light on the metaphor. One of them is "bojian chousi," which is something like "peel cocoon draw silk." This is used to describe a detailed inqiry into a specific sequence of events, as in a criminal investigation or a scientific experiment. It implies deep and detailed observation, similar perhaps to our metaphors of "leaving no stone unturned," or "going over something with a fine-toothed comb." Another expression is "dujian chousi," roughly "single cocoon draw silk," which is used as a metaphor describing literary work that is well-organized and clear, a thread of thought or sequence of ideas that successfully cohere. Equivalent metaphors we may use in English might be those like a "train of thought," or following the "thread" or "line" of an argument.

The taijiquan use of the metaphor involves tactile sensitivity as well as mental awareness and concentration. (http://http://www.yangfamilytaichi.com/ubb/Forum7/HTML/000025.html) (bold added for emphasis)

The slow solo performance of taiji forms that is often seen helps develop the proprioceptive sense of chousi connection.

The reference to chousi jin comes from the (Wu Yuxiang) "taiji classics" of the mid- to late-1800s. The term chansi jin (silk-reeling) does not seem to predate its use by Chen Xin in his book on his family's martial art (Chen style taijiquan), written in the early 1900s, from which comes these well-known (in taiji circles) images:

http://www.egreenway.com/taichichuan/images/silk1a.gif

http://www.egreenway.com/taichichuan/images/silkr4.jpg

Chen Xin writes about these images:

"Coiling power (Chan Jin) is all over the body. Putting it most simply, there is coiling inward (Li Chan) and coiling outward (Wai Chan), which both appear once (one) moves. There is one (kind of coiling) when left hand is in front and right hand is behind; (or when) right hand is in front and left hand is behind; this one closes (He) (the hands) with one conforming (Shun) (movement). There is also one (coiling) that closes the inside of the left (side of the body) and the back of the right (side of the body), and another which uses the through-the-back power (Fanbei Jin) and closes towards the back. All of them should be moved naturally according to the (specific) postures.
Once Qi of the hand moves to the back of the foot, then big toe simultaneously closes with the hand and only at this moment (one can) step firmly.
This power (Jin) comes from Heart (Xin), on the inside it enters bones, on the outside it reaches skin, it is one (power), not multiple (powers). Power is Qi that comes from Heart. If it is moved in central and right way, then it is Central Qi (Zhong Qi); when it is nourished, then it is Noble Spirit (Haoran zhi Qi).
At the back (the power of) the head propping up is (called) Propping-up Power (Ding Jin); large vertebra is the dividing line, below (this) dividing line is the back (Lь), the central bone is backbone (Ji), both kidneys are (called) Waist. Whether foot is Empty (Xu) or Solid (Shi) depends on hand, if hand is Empty then foot is also Empty, if hand is Solid then foot is solid too."

- Illustrated Explanation of Silk Reeling Essence of Taijiquan. By Chen Xin (1849-1929). Trans.Jarek Szymanski, 1999. http://www.chinafrominside.com/ma/taiji/chenxin.html

Silk-reeling as a metaphor is illustrated at this website (referenced in the Yang Family Taichi Forum above):

http://http://www.wormspit.com/silkreeling.htm

Chansi jin, or silk-reeling, refers more to the coordinated active movement of the whole body, and in particular the coordinated movement of and through the joints, during solo performance of the taiji form or in active contact during push-hands, sparring or fighting. This active, spiraling coordination, maintaining the internal connection, can be trained through chansi gong, silk-reeling exercises, as a separate practice apart from the solo taiji form. I've experienced two systems of chansi exercises, each with different emphases. One is from Chen Xiaowang, and is very helpful with coordination of whole-body movement. CXW's disciple Chen Xiaowang demonstrates some of the exercises here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AY2aCB7-xwc&feature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wh3AmDsdQtM&feature=related

Chen Xiaowang himself has an instructional DVD for these exercises here:
http://www.chenxiaowang.com/dvdconverted.html

The other system I have some experience with is from Zhang Xuexin, a student of Feng Zhiqiang. This is a more involved series of several dozen exercises that focus more on specific joint rotations, although there are also exercises to train whole-body movement in the series. A description of the full range of Feng's chansi gong can be found here:

http://silkreeler.com/drupal/?q=node/28

ZXX performs some of the chansi gong here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DtmKhc2uzE

The narrator in the ZXX clip above suggests first learning the external movements, then exploring the proprioceptive internal qualities of the movements.

As to which are beginner or intermediate, all silk-reeling exercises can be trained on a continuum. Even master-level practitioners do chansi gong in the Chen system. Personally, I learned the more involved set of exercises in the Feng/Zhang chansi gong earlier, but found the practice greatly clarified by CXW's "simpler" set which I learned later. In other words, I think the sense of frame, alignment, and coordinated whole-body movement shown in CXW's set should be trained first, as a beginning set--and then continued alongside learning the more involved movements of the Feng/Zhang set. Learning the Feng/Zhang set first runs the risk of unconsciously training fragmented body movement and can make whole-body coordination more difficult to learn later (just my experience).

Smooth continuity, calmness, heightened awareness of internal connection, central equilibrium, and a variety of qi sensations (warmth, tingling, stretch and contraction under the skin, etc.) accompany "authentic" practice of chansi gong. The more skillful Chen teachers may also provide guidance on breathing in connection with silk-reeling.

So what benefit would chansi gong provide for aikido practitioners? That is of course the relevant question. Not being an aikido practitioner, I can only suggest that the heightened proprioceptive awareness of internal connection and breath, central equilibrium and balance in (slow) movement, might fruitfully carry over to solo aikido basics and improve the connected quality of movement. Silk-reeling is one way of training aspects of coordinated whole-body movement with internal connection.

Hope that helps.

Janet Rosen
02-22-2011, 10:30 PM
Thomas, thank you.

Keith Larman
02-22-2011, 10:49 PM
Thomas:

Thanks. Good post. Lots to chew on. So a big thank you. I may have questions later...

Lee Salzman
02-22-2011, 11:04 PM
Tom single-handedly saves the thread. :D

jss
02-23-2011, 11:30 AM
This active, spiraling coordination, maintaining the internal connection, can be trained through chansi gong, silk-reeling exercises, as a separate practice apart from the solo taiji form.
Interesting, because I would claim the opposite. In my experience, maintaining the internal connection is what creates the spiraling coordination. One can disturb this spiraling e.g. by active muscle usage, but in the end when the internal connection(s) is/are there, the body wants to move in a spiraling fashion. So it's more about allowing the body to do so, then about actively coordinating the spiraling.


[...], I can only suggest that the heightened proprioceptive awareness of internal connection and breath, central equilibrium and balance in (slow) movement, might fruitfully carry over to solo aikido basics and improve the connected quality of movement.
The above seems to suggest that the only thing practiced by silk reeling is proprioceptive awareness. This would mean that everyone already has all physical qualities needed to perform silk reeling correctly, save the proprioception part. I do not think that's true. The internal connections need to be conditioned and the coordination to move in accordance with these connections needs to be developed.

To expand on the above points, here's how I would explain silk-reeling.
The body has a front side and a back side. The front side consists of the insides of the arms, the insides of the legs and the frontside of the torso. The backside consists of the outsides of the arms, the outsides of the legs and the backside of the torso. (For more detail, take a look at the main meridians of the body. And for a slightly different view, the pictures from the book by Chen Xi that were posted.)
Once can contract the frontside of the body with the dantien/hara as center to 'close' the body. One can also contract the backside of the body, again with the dantien/hara as center to 'open' the body. This opening and closing of the body can only be done if the internal connections of your body have been conditioned sufficiently to guide the movement. And if you allow these connections to fully define your movement, you'll get the typical spiraling movements of silk-reeling.

The main point I'd like to make is that first of all silk-reeling is about physical development. It's a whole-body workout. It's Chen Tai Chi calisthenics. ;)

Janet Rosen
02-23-2011, 12:40 PM
Once can contract the frontside of the body with the dantien/hara as center to 'close' the body. One can also contract the backside of the body, again with the dantien/hara as center to 'open' the body. This opening and closing of the body can only be done if the internal connections of your body have been conditioned sufficiently to guide the movement. And if you allow these connections to fully define your movement, you'll get the typical spiraling movements of silk-reeling.

(Bolding added by me...) Good point - I hadn't been explicitly formulating it that way, but in the body was certainly feeling it that way.

Thomas Campbell
02-23-2011, 01:11 PM
Interesting, because I would claim the opposite. In my experience, maintaining the internal connection is what creates the spiraling coordination. One can disturb this spiraling e.g. by active muscle usage, but in the end when the internal connection(s) is/are there, the body wants to move in a spiraling fashion. So it's more about allowing the body to do so, then about actively coordinating the spiraling.

The above seems to suggest that the only thing practiced by silk reeling is proprioceptive awareness. This would mean that everyone already has all physical qualities needed to perform silk reeling correctly, save the proprioception part. I do not think that's true. The internal connections need to be conditioned and the coordination to move in accordance with these connections needs to be developed.

To expand on the above points, here's how I would explain silk-reeling.
The body has a front side and a back side. The front side consists of the insides of the arms, the insides of the legs and the frontside of the torso. The backside consists of the outsides of the arms, the outsides of the legs and the backside of the torso. (For more detail, take a look at the main meridians of the body. And for a slightly different view, the pictures from the book by Chen Xi that were posted.)
Once can contract the frontside of the body with the dantien/hara as center to 'close' the body. One can also contract the backside of the body, again with the dantien/hara as center to 'open' the body. This opening and closing of the body can only be done if the internal connections of your body have been conditioned sufficiently to guide the movement. And if you allow these connections to fully define your movement, you'll get the typical spiraling movements of silk-reeling.

The main point I'd like to make is that first of all silk-reeling is about physical development. It's a whole-body workout. It's Chen Tai Chi calisthenics. ;)

I don't think I disagree with what you posted, Joep. The body will tend to want to move in the spiraling chansi fashion when the internal connection is established and maintained. And you are correct in that the internal connection must be cultivated or conditioned to become stronger. But first you need to find the internal connection in order to become aware of what you're trying to condition, and that is where the beginning level of silk-reeling exercises (SREs) comes in. At this stage it is a matter of active coordination, and that is how Chen Xiaowang and Feng Zhiqiang taught it--to beginners.

However, that does not mean that there are not better ways to clarify what chansi involves and how to teach it. Your suggestion that basic training be refocused to an even more fundamental/basic level, "to condition the internal connections," seems very sensible--as the vast majority of Chen taiji students training with SREs still seem to miss developing the internal connections and skill of the high-level teachers. The original post asked about silk-reeling, which is a prominent feature of--although certainly not exclusive to--Chen taijiquan. The logical direction for discussion would include what relevance and benefit SRE training might have for aikido. To that end, Joep, any conditioning practices for internal connection that in your view are fundamental to silk-reeling and that you might be willing to describe here would be helpful.

Also, I did not intend to suggest that enhanced proprioception ("the ability to sense the position and location and orientation and movement of the body and its parts"--Princeton Web dictionary) is the only or primary benefit of SREs, so your clarification in this regard was helpful.

Depending on the teacher, the Feng/Zhang SRE set I mentioned before may be taught with a focus on breathing (including reverse breathing) in some exercises to enhance the feeling of stretching and contraction during the movements. Other sets in the Feng/Zhang system involve the taiji bang or stick (and also taiji "ruler") to help both coordination and conditioning. The movements that Chen Xiang demonstrates leading the group of white silk pyjamas here can be worked with breathing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qe3JSiXH7dA

The twisting movements demonstrated in this taiji bang clip train coordination and conditioning if done properly (i.e., the focus is on what the whole body is doing, not just the grasping and the twisting of the forearms): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n627ynWRHLQ&NR=1 . It should be noted that working with the taiji bang is done not just in the Feng/Zhang (Chenshi Hunyuan taiji) system, but also in other lines from Chen Village including Chen Qingzhou.

The spiraling connections through the dantien can also be trained with dantien rotation movements using a heavy ball (e.g., medicine ball), as Chen Qingzhou demonstrates in this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1Iu-iGXlZg. Chen Qingzhou's dantien development is quite pronounced, and very inspiring to see and feel.

Describing SREs as a form of "Chen taiji calisthenics" to condition the internal connections is interesting. Repetitive practice of single movements (posture-transition-posture) from the solo form sequence is a long-standing method of taiji training. In 2002, Chen Xiaowang told me that the SREs were in response to a government directive to develop taiji as a physical education curriculum, as a form of basic exercises to teach correct aligned movement, coordination and connection. Earlier, Feng Zhiqiang mentioned how his teacher, Chen Fake (Chen Xiaowang's paternal grandfather), could often be seeing twining an arm and hand or making other chansi-type movements even while standing engaged in conversation. Master-level taiji practitioners seem to constantly cultivate the chansi quality of movement.

Rambling a bit . . . is chansi indicated only by externally-evident spiraling motions and joint rotations? Are there other types of movement guided/shaped by "internal connection" that are more linear appearing externally? How much Chen-type chansi movement does Ueshiba Morihei exhibit, for example?

It seems quite probable that the tissues often associated with "internal connection" (fascia working with musculature)
spiral inside with expansion and contraction of the internal web of connections. Back to a taiji context for a moment: Jeff Crosland studied taiji for a number of years in Beijing. He translated a passage from a Yang style taiji book:

Here is a short paragraph from Wang Yongquan (Wang learned from the Yangs in Beijing) on spiraling:

'Luóxuán'; 'spiraling' has two meanings:

One meaning refers to the use of rotational hand movements to avoid the end-point of the opponent's force as you are luring to neutralize (yǐnhuà) or striking the opponent.

The second meaning refers to the spiraling energy (luóxuánjìn) that forms as your internal energy is emitted out of your hands in an advancing and spiraling path. This spiraling energy that is emitted from your body is not expressed in external movements. Even at the point of contact you cannot let the opponent feel as if there are any changes going on. The goal of using this spiraling energy is to avoid running head on into the opponents force in the process of attacking the opponent's center. Both clockwise spiraling and counter-clockwise spiraling are used; the decision to use one direction or the other is determined by the opponent's situation and which direction seems smooth in the implementation of your technique.

Wāng Yǒngquán. Yángshì Tàijíquán Shùzhēn. Beijing: Renmin tiyu. p. 238.Getting wrapped up in this surreptitiously spiraling web of your opponents energy, this is 'chánsī'. Feels just like you think Spiderman should feel like. The above described skill is a high level control of internal energy emission. In using 'chánsī' we wrap up the opponent's force. I would call this 'spiraling control.'

'chōusī' refers to the basic concept of connection between body parts; it does not imply spiraling. I would use the English word "reeling" only for 'chōusī' because you can 'reel in' and 'reel out'.

http://www.yangfamilytaichi.com/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=710&start=105

At this point I want to be clear that anything I suggest here is from my own very limited experience and skill level with Chen taijiquan, which I have not actively trained in 10 years (having moved on to other things).

Gary David
02-23-2011, 01:14 PM
Folks
I am glad that Thomas Campbell and Joep Schuurkes posted in to this tread to help with providing an initial window to what silk reeling might be. Even a limited picture of the practice can help with connecting its purposes and methods to the basic exercises we do in Aikido. Watching the clips gives me some ides on how I might work at sayo udo as a solo practice, opening and closing, connection front to back, out to in, all to center, support from the ground........... all while keeping relaxed through the movement...and a bunch of other thoughts. All this my individual work while asking for help in connecting the dots when I have trouble or just need clarification.
Thanks again.
Gary

Mark Kruger
02-23-2011, 03:01 PM
Thomas, your posts are great. Thank you.

Thomas Campbell
02-23-2011, 03:13 PM
For anyone in the Toronto area who would be interested, later this summer there will be an opportunity to explore silk-reeling in Chen taiji with Wang Fengming (Feng Zhiqiang's son-in-law) and Li Lairen (disciple of both Feng and Zhu Tiancai). Charles Tauber, a student of Li, posted this announcement:

Chen Style Taijiquan & Silk Reeling Seminar
With
Wang Fengming and Li Lairen
July 30 to August 2, 2011
Toronto, Ontario

One of the defining characteristics of Chen style Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) is the spiraling action that forms the foundation for all of its movements. The spiraling action, known as silk reeling or chan ssu jin, is what unites the parts of the body to produce whole-body motion and is the mechanism for conveying energy (qi or jin) from the center of the body, the dan tian, to the extremities. Without the foundation of being able to correctly unite the parts of the body in unified spiral motion and convey energy to the point of application, the martial applications of Chen style Taijiquan are largely ineffective. In a series of four progressive sessions held over four days, Wang Feng Ming and Li Lairen will teach the foundation of silk reeling, its use in Taijiquan forms and its martial application.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tvTJ8jnZQk&feature=player_embedded

In the first session, held on July 30th 2011, instructed by Master Wang Fengming, a small number of isolated exercises will be the vehicle for learning what silk reeling is and how it is used in martial application. By focusing on a small number of exercises, students will be able to obtain an in-depth understanding of what silk reeling is, how to properly perform it and how it is manifest in the martial applications within Chen style Taijiquan. Students will begin by learning the exercises solo and then will be taught how to martially apply what is learned in each exercise while working with a partner.

In the second session, held on July 31st 2011, instructed by Master Li Lairen, a small number of movements from Chen style Taijiquan forms will be taught and corrected in detail, including the silk reeling actions essential to those movements. Students will then work with a partner and be taught how to effectively apply those movements martially, including sparring, self-defense and joint locking (qin na). Although the second session builds upon what is learned in the first, students may attend either one of the two sessions or both.

The third and fourth sessions, held on August 1st and 2nd 2011, will be dedicated to foundational topics and will include refining movement and postures within Chen style Taijiquan.

All sessions will be held at Chen Style Taijiquan Workshop of Canada, 596 Gordon Baker Road, Toronto, Ontario.

Wang Fengming is a disciple of Feng Zhiqiang, 18th generation successor to Chen Style Taijiquan and of Liu Xinghan, 4th generation successor to Baquazhang. He started martial arts training and practice at age eight in China. He has studied and taught martial arts for several decades, and is an internationally reputed practitioner of Taiji, Qigong and Baguazhang, and is a renowned martial arts writer. His full biography can be found at http://www.worldtaiji.com.

Li Lairen began his martial arts training at the age of eight, learning Nanqan, Shaolin Luohanquan and Shaolin Qinna from his grandfather. He later learned Baguazhang and Iron Palm from Xu Jinsheng. Beginning in 1983, Master Li learned Chen Style Taijiquan, first with Zhu Tiancai and then as a disciple of Feng Zhiqiang. Subsequently, he learned internal alchemy, sitting meditation, breathing exercises, Tianyuan Qigong and Hunyuan standing meditation from Master Qingyuan Taoyin. Li Lairen is the founder and principle teacher of Chen Style Taiji Workshop Canada. His full biography can be found at http://www.chentaijiquan.ca.

Budd
02-23-2011, 03:20 PM
That's not far from me and I'd like to make part of that, will inquire to get more info.

For anyone in the Toronto area who would be interested, later this summer there will be an opportunity to explore silk-reeling in Chen taiji with Wang Fengming (Feng Zhiqiang's son-in-law) and Li Lairen (disciple of both Feng and Zhu Tiancai). Charles Tauber, a student of Li, posted this announcement:

Chen Style Taijiquan & Silk Reeling Seminar
With
Wang Fengming and Li Lairen
July 30 to August 2, 2011
Toronto, Ontario

One of the defining characteristics of Chen style Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) is the spiraling action that forms the foundation for all of its movements. The spiraling action, known as silk reeling or chan ssu jin, is what unites the parts of the body to produce whole-body motion and is the mechanism for conveying energy (qi or jin) from the center of the body, the dan tian, to the extremities. Without the foundation of being able to correctly unite the parts of the body in unified spiral motion and convey energy to the point of application, the martial applications of Chen style Taijiquan are largely ineffective. In a series of four progressive sessions held over four days, Wang Feng Ming and Li Lairen will teach the foundation of silk reeling, its use in Taijiquan forms and its martial application.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0tvTJ8jnZQk&feature=player_embedded

In the first session, held on July 30th 2011, instructed by Master Wang Fengming, a small number of isolated exercises will be the vehicle for learning what silk reeling is and how it is used in martial application. By focusing on a small number of exercises, students will be able to obtain an in-depth understanding of what silk reeling is, how to properly perform it and how it is manifest in the martial applications within Chen style Taijiquan. Students will begin by learning the exercises solo and then will be taught how to martially apply what is learned in each exercise while working with a partner.

In the second session, held on July 31st 2011, instructed by Master Li Lairen, a small number of movements from Chen style Taijiquan forms will be taught and corrected in detail, including the silk reeling actions essential to those movements. Students will then work with a partner and be taught how to effectively apply those movements martially, including sparring, self-defense and joint locking (qin na). Although the second session builds upon what is learned in the first, students may attend either one of the two sessions or both.

The third and fourth sessions, held on August 1st and 2nd 2011, will be dedicated to foundational topics and will include refining movement and postures within Chen style Taijiquan.

All sessions will be held at Chen Style Taijiquan Workshop of Canada, 596 Gordon Baker Road, Toronto, Ontario.

Wang Fengming is a disciple of Feng Zhiqiang, 18th generation successor to Chen Style Taijiquan and of Liu Xinghan, 4th generation successor to Baquazhang. He started martial arts training and practice at age eight in China. He has studied and taught martial arts for several decades, and is an internationally reputed practitioner of Taiji, Qigong and Baguazhang, and is a renowned martial arts writer. His full biography can be found at http://www.worldtaiji.com.

Li Lairen began his martial arts training at the age of eight, learning Nanqan, Shaolin Luohanquan and Shaolin Qinna from his grandfather. He later learned Baguazhang and Iron Palm from Xu Jinsheng. Beginning in 1983, Master Li learned Chen Style Taijiquan, first with Zhu Tiancai and then as a disciple of Feng Zhiqiang. Subsequently, he learned internal alchemy, sitting meditation, breathing exercises, Tianyuan Qigong and Hunyuan standing meditation from Master Qingyuan Taoyin. Li Lairen is the founder and principle teacher of Chen Style Taiji Workshop Canada. His full biography can be found at http://www.chentaijiquan.ca.

Thomas Campbell
02-23-2011, 06:56 PM
Thomas, your posts are great. Thank you.

Thanks for the interest, Mark. I hope the value to aikido of internal training from silk-reeling and other practices continues to become more clear, on this thread and others. I won't be contributing much in the near future, though, as I'll be on the road in Europe in March and April. But there are plenty of positive contributors to this forum exploring "internal skills" and their application to aikido, so I expect some worthwhile discussions will happen.

Cheers.

Erick Mead
02-23-2011, 07:40 PM
hi Matthew:

I'll give you what little I know of silk-reeling from the taijiquan perspective. It's not a practice specific to aikido, as far as I know, but training it may provide a better sense of internal connection and whole-body coordinated movement.

The reference to chousi jin comes from the (Wu Yuxiang) "taiji classics" of the mid- to late-1800s. The term chansi jin (silk-reeling) does not seem to predate its use by Chen Xin in his book on his family's martial art (Chen style taijiquan), written in the early 1900s, from which comes these well-known (in taiji circles) images:

http://www.egreenway.com/taichichuan/images/silk1a.gif

http://www.egreenway.com/taichichuan/images/silkr4.jpg

Chen Xin writes about these images:

[I]"Coiling power (Chan Jin) is all over the body. Putting it most simply, there is coiling inward (Li Chan) and coiling outward (Wai Chan), which both appear once (one) moves. There is one (kind of coiling) when left hand is in front and right hand is behind; (or when) right hand is in front and left hand is behind; this one closes (He) (the hands) with one conforming (Shun) (movement). There is also one (coiling) that closes the inside of the left (side of the body) and the back of the right (side of the body), and another which uses the through-the-back power (Fanbei Jin) and closes towards the back. All of them should be moved naturally according to the (specific) postures.
I wonder, Thomas, what you might think of these diagrams in comparison to those of the Chen school -- which I have used to relate certain aspects of aiki and "spherical rotation" as Dosshu described it.

http://www.aikiweb.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=1990&cat=recent&limit=recent

http://www.aikiweb.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=1989&cat=recent&limit=recent

Thomas Campbell
02-23-2011, 08:29 PM
I wonder, Thomas, what you might think of these diagrams in comparison to those of the Chen school -- which I have used to relate certain aspects of aiki and "spherical rotation" as Dosshu described it.

http://www.aikiweb.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=1990&cat=recent&limit=recent

http://www.aikiweb.com/gallery/showphoto.php?photo=1989&cat=recent&limit=recent

I will be on the road soon and won't be on the forum much if at all, Erick, in case this discussion takes off over the next several weeks. But I will venture that it is an interesting comparison, to the extent I understand it. I'm not completely familiar with shear as it would be expressed in the human body, so I won't venture an opinion on the "shear spirals" in one of the sphere images.

It seems like the compression and tension spirals could map onto Chen Xin's drawings--particularly in connection with the "coiling inward" and "coiling outward" described in the translation of Chen Xin's writing mentioned above:

Coiling power (Chan Jin) is all over the body. Putting it most simply, there is coiling inward (Li Chan) and coiling outward (Wai Chan), which both appear once (one) moves. There is one (kind of coiling) when left hand is in front and right hand is behind; (or when) right hand is in front and left hand is behind; this one closes (He) (the hands) with one conforming (Shun) (movement). There is also one (coiling) that closes the inside of the left (side of the body) and the back of the right (side of the body), and another which uses the through-the-back power (Fanbei Jin) and closes towards the back. All of them should be moved naturally according to the (specific) postures.

As Joep pointed out previously, the coiling and spiraling is associated with opening and closing of different parts of the body. The suggestion is that the coiling follows the "natural" internal lay of connective and other tissues. The question is what the primary driver of the coiling is. Is the "close" and "open" simply compression and expansion of (connective and other) tissues that are laid out in a spiraling pattern . . . what drives the compression and expansion? You can work with some of the slow SREs of Chen Xiaowang with (gentle) reverse breathing and connect the action of the diaphragm with the sensations of stretch and contraction as you move through the pattern. You can work a slow, gentle version of the "Squatting Monkey" exercise of Dai Family Xin Yi Liu He Quan (with forward-leaning "gongbu" step) and feel reverse breathing helping to drive compression and expansion along a vertical (sagittal) ellipse. There are other exercises outside of the SREs that help a beginner both feel the internal connection and begin to condition it (partly as a result of coordinations developed in the exercises). I don't really know what aikido exercises might have the same potential--maybe funakogi undo? (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xBVxveyrsMY)

Since I don't train aikido (six months more than 25 years ago doesn't really count), I can't really speak to the derivation of your diagrams from what Dosshu means by "spherical rotation," etc. But the comparison of the diagrams themselves with Chen Xin's drawings is interesting.

AllanF
02-24-2011, 12:29 AM
Glad to see this thread is back on track. Nice one Tom all you need now is a cape and a catchphrase then you'd be known as "Super Tom"!:D

jss
02-24-2011, 12:40 PM
The original post asked about silk-reeling, which is a prominent feature of--although certainly not exclusive to--Chen taijiquan. The logical direction for discussion would include what relevance and benefit SRE training might have for aikido.
I don't think there's much relevance or benefit. I haven't done a full study of Ueshiba's movements, but I'm quite sure he doesn't exhibit the whole-body spiraling of Chen taijiquan. There is some spiraling in the arms, for instance when turning the hands over in the rowing exercise, but that's quite common, just think of the fist turning over in a Karate punch.

To that end, Joep, any conditioning practices for internal connection that in your view are fundamental to silk-reeling and that you might be willing to describe here would be helpful.
The bold typeface makes me feel a bit like I'm being challenged. Is that intentional? :D

I think the makko ho could be a nice start: http://www.rianvisser.nl/shiatsu/e_doin.htm. I don't think it can get more simple: stretch some meridians and do reverse breathing. Unfortunately, just assuming these postures while keeping your stomach form expanding when breathing is not a guarantee you're actually doing it correctly.

Secondly, I think aikido has plenty of good breathing exercises with arm movement that would make more sense from an aikido perspective than the SRe exercises.

Thomas Campbell
02-24-2011, 03:25 PM
I don't think there's much relevance or benefit. I haven't done a full study of Ueshiba's movements, but I'm quite sure he doesn't exhibit the whole-body spiraling of Chen taijiquan. There is some spiraling in the arms, for instance when turning the hands over in the rowing exercise, but that's quite common, just think of the fist turning over in a Karate punch.

I think you're right about Ueshiba not exhibiting the "whole-body spiraling of Chen taijiquan." To me that's neither good nor bad; aikido and Chen taiji are two different arts using different approaches to body methods (Chinese shen fa). And your remark about limited relevance/benefit of SREs to aikido is a good caution for aikidokas looking outside of aikido for "internal" exercises.

The bold typeface makes me feel a bit like I'm being challenged. Is that intentional? :D

No. I have neither the time nor desire for ridicule or confrontation, and this forum doesn't benefit from that kind of exchange. I was only asking if you had specific practices or exercises to suggest with respect to the "conditioning" of internal connections that you'd written about yesterday as important to silk-reeling:

"The internal connections need to be conditioned and the coordination to move in accordance with these connections needs to be developed. . . . . Once can contract the frontside of the body with the dantien/hara as center to 'close' the body. One can also contract the backside of the body, again with the dantien/hara as center to 'open' the body. This opening and closing of the body can only be done if the internal connections of your body have been conditioned sufficiently to guide the movement. And if you allow these connections to fully define your movement, you'll get the typical spiraling movements of silk-reeling." (bold added for emphasis)

I was curious about what exercises you use and could recommend for conditioning of internal connections with respect to silk-reeling.

With respect to aikido:

I think the makko ho could be a nice start: http://www.rianvisser.nl/shiatsu/e_doin.htm. I don't think it can get more simple: stretch some meridians and do reverse breathing. Unfortunately, just assuming these postures while keeping your stomach form expanding when breathing is not a guarantee you're actually doing it correctly.

Secondly, I think aikido has plenty of good breathing exercises with arm movement that would make more sense from an aikido perspective than the SRe exercises.

I agree. Of course, reverse breathing is not simply keeping the stomach from expanding when breathing. I'd mentioned funakogi undo before. Playing around with it while doing reverse breathing seems to engage internal connections to some extent. The flexion of the wrists tightens up connection through the shoulders to the back.

Erick Mead
02-25-2011, 05:45 PM
I think you're right about Ueshiba not exhibiting the "whole-body spiraling of Chen taijiquan." To me that's neither good nor bad; aikido and Chen taiji are two different arts using different approaches to body methods (Chinese shen fa). And your remark about limited relevance/benefit of SREs to aikido is a good caution for aikidokas looking outside of aikido for "internal" exercises.
...
"The internal connections need to be conditioned and the coordination to move in accordance with these connections needs to be developed. . . . . Once can contract the frontside of the body with the dantien/hara as center to 'close' the body. One can also contract the backside of the body, again with the dantien/hara as center to 'open' the body. This opening and closing of the body can only be done if the internal connections of your body have been conditioned sufficiently to guide the movement. And if you allow these connections to fully define your movement, you'll get the typical spiraling movements of silk-reeling." (bold added for emphasis)

I began a reply to work out some further elaboration to some of your observations above. Then I found it began to run at such a length that I just made it my next blogpost to avoid clobbering the whole thread.

Please fee free to review and comment on any points of further interest. (http://www.aikiweb.com/blogs/but-why-7854/big-balls-o-aiki-water-fire-4146/)

mathewjgano
02-27-2011, 02:16 AM
Hi folks,
Firstly, thank you to everyone for offereing your understanding and thinking on this. I'm a hobbyist, at best, but I do deeply enjoy trying to wrap my mind around things and I've been given a lot of good food for thought. Whether it's wise to do so or not, I do try mimicking different exercises in order to see what I can see. I don't take them too seriously and always assume I'm missing crucial aspects, but I've found this approach rewarding...if in no other way than I enjoy the feeling I get from moving meditations...which often resets my attitude and makes me a better chess player, skier, guitar player, dad, etc.
Thank you again. I've been working some odd hours lately, so please forgive my lack of participation in this thread I started. I wouldn't have much to offer anyway, but I do intend to ask some more questions after I've read and "absorbed" a bit more.

I think funakogi undo is useful as a training exercise, for hips to get power down and out of the shoulders, but since Matthew is connected to a Shinto Shrine, maybe he would explain the breathing aspect, the ey-ho and ey-sa chant if that is the one he uses, and the purification aspect from Shinto, or does his group do this differently?
My experience here is very slight. I trained very seriously about 10 years ago for about 2 years, but I was never very knowledgeable. I'm 5th kyu in Rev. Barrish's system and very out of practice now. My understanding is very superficial as a result. That said, my understanding of the practice is pretty simple: extend intent throughout the body, focusing primarily on connection to hara (to and from various parts of my body, based on whatever my mind happened to be paying attention to at the moment), the Earth and Heaven...and try to keep up with sensei. The thing which stands out the most about torifuneundo is how out of breath I would get during the "sa" portion. I'm not sure if that even means anything, but I felt like I could do "yie yie" and "ei ho" all day long. For some reason "yie sa" always left me breathing heavier and straining to keep going with full effort.
It's hard to know how to compare it with silk reeling, though visually I get the sense that torifuneundo might be more up/down oriented. Ideally I'm sure you're extending in all directions, but that's my limited impression.

Mike Sigman
02-27-2011, 08:55 AM
hi Matthew:

Silk-reeling, or chansi jin, is related to but distinct from silk-drawing or chousi jin. I mention this initially to help clarify what often becomes confused in discussions of taijiquan.

There is a big difference between Chousi (sounds like "Cho Ssu) jin (generally "force/strength skill") and Chan si (sounds like "Chahn Ssu") jin. The former means "pulling silk skill" and the latter means "reeling silk skill". For many years, starting in the early 1900's, Yang-style Taiji advocates publicly stated that the Yang-style used pulling-silk and the Chen style has always historically used the "reeling silk", although of course there are a number of martial-styles that use and have used reeling silk energy/skill over the many centuries. The problem with the pulling-silk idea is that there are some gaps in the movements that will have to be made-up for with the use of normal strength, mainly due to the fact that "pulling silk" doesn't wind and coil in the way the body's "natural movement" does. In other words, the natural lay of muscles and tendons, bones and ligaments, etc., causes the body to wind and unwind always, to some degree. A system of movement which doesn't follow the natural lay of the body's components is not "natural" in the desired classical sense. Movements which are "natural" follow the natural lay of the body's movements.

As a simple example of movement, as I relaxedly reach my hand/arm forward in front of its shoulder, the connection of my triceps area to my back (via muscle and connective tissue) will tend to rotate my elbow upward, so my hand will turn slightly because of this. That would be a very rudimentary example of natural winding. If, on the other hand, I just reach my hand forward and don't allow the arm to rotate, that would be an example of an arm that is still 'connected' but which is constrained to the "pulling silk" type of example (again very rudimentary and not complete).

If you look at Tohei, as an example, doing Fune-kogi undo, you can see that he actually doesn't allow his arms to rotate; having watched a number of his movements over the years, I'd say that most of Tohei's movements tend to be similarly constrained and do not exemplify what is called "natural movement". Does Tohei use kokyu/jin and ki/suit? Yes, of course he does. But his movements aren't of the "reeling silk" (more properly, the "Six Harmonies movement") type, so while Six Harmonies movement practices can be very helpful for the full development of the body in the Yin-Yang sense, it's not necessarily an aspect that is important to Aikido practice.

"Pulling Silk" practices would be an expected and normal part of Aikido and any other Japanese martial arts that are derivative of the "ju" type movement. Most of the Aiki Taiso, from what I can see in people like Tohei Sensei, Ueshiba Sensei, and others, are pretty good examples of good kokyu and "pulling silk" type practice. People walking around in some of the old Judo katas holding their arms up and out to the sides almost like airplanes are doing a form of pulling-silk training.

Is there any real "winding" in the Six-Harmonies/Reeling-Silk sense in Aikido? In a way, because "pulling silk" is actually sort of a shortened variation of six-harmonies movement, there are some unavoidable aspects of "winding" movement, but its not stressed in Aikido, not that I've ever been able to see (nice topic for a future debate).

The human body being what it is, six-harmonies movement is simply the unavoidable pinnacle of human movement, so there's nothing wrong with anyone practicing it if they know how. My point was just that insofar as Aikido goes, it's not a necessity.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Gary David
02-27-2011, 04:13 PM
Mike
Could not sayu undo, practiced as a one side exercise which is closer to the actual application, incorporate many aspects of silk reeling, winding, and six harmonies movements?
Gary

Mike Sigman
02-27-2011, 04:33 PM
Mike
Could not sayu undo, practiced as a one side exercise which is closer to the actual application, incorporate many aspects of silk reeling, winding, and six harmonies movements?
Gary

Gary, of course it *could* incorporate aspects of reeling silk, if someone wanted to put it in there. Someone with really good six-harmonies movements can put it in there unconsciously, if they're shown sayu undo.

If someone wanted to practice reeling-silk movement in order to train their hara-centered movement more optimally, sayu undo would be OK, but probably the easiest places to insert it would be in suburi or in the wrist-exercises like this one:

http://www.neijia.com/NikkyoUndoe.jpg
Note that in that picture from "This is Aikido", Tohei is indicating with the arrows that the resistance and training at the wrist is originating from out of the hara (coming out to the wrist) as opposed to letting the applied forces go down into the hara.

Or I can think of another couple of exercises where you'd also bring the power of the dantien out to the hands, feet, etc. But essentially the point would be that these kinds of skills can be put into any and all Aikido movements, including sayu undo.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

Gary David
02-27-2011, 04:46 PM
Mike
Thanks for the input. I am trying to incorporate some aspects of what I understand of six harmonies movement, winding, and such in the teaching relaxed, connected and effective movement in applying sayu.
Gary

Tenyu
02-28-2011, 06:09 PM
The human body being what it is, six-harmonies movement is simply the unavoidable pinnacle of human movement, so there's nothing wrong with anyone practicing it if they know how.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Mike,

Can you link a video of anyone who you think displays a good example of six-harmonies?

thanks,
Tenyu

Rob Watson
03-01-2011, 12:26 AM
... displays a good example of six-harmonies?

http://www.chenxiaowang.com/

Goggle, youtube, buy his vids and observe. Then go grab him. There are likely some better but not sure they offer instructional vids for sale.

Tenyu
03-01-2011, 01:34 AM
http://www.chenxiaowang.com/

Goggle, youtube, buy his vids and observe. Then go grab him. There are likely some better but not sure they offer instructional vids for sale.

I've seen some of his videos and linked one in another thread. I misread what Mike wrote and assumed six-harmonies referred to a specific action different from reeling silk. I can also clearly see what Chen Xiaowang's doing on video so there's no need to grab, touch, or feel him to find out.

Mike Sigman
03-01-2011, 02:34 PM
I can also clearly see what Chen Xiaowang's doing on video so there's no need to grab, touch, or feel him to find out.Well, there you go, then. My heart has been warmed by the number of people that already understand and can do these things.

Mike Sigman

Come, Tonto, our work is done here.

Yes, Kemosabe, we ride!

HL1978
03-01-2011, 02:38 PM
I've seen some of his videos and linked one in another thread. I misread what Mike wrote and assumed six-harmonies referred to a specific action different from reeling silk. I can also clearly see what Chen Xiaowang's doing on video so there's no need to grab, touch, or feel him to find out.

Perhaps it is because I have a relatively low level of skill, but when I went to one of his silk reeling seminars, I had no idea what he was doing. It probably did not help that I had zero silk reeling experience either so I had to learn the choreography.

Its probably easier to see in someone with a lot more overt movement.

Cady Goldfield
03-01-2011, 05:12 PM
Here's a Chen site I came across, some years ago. It used to have video clips, but, unfortunately, the silk-reeling one seems to be deactivated for now. Still, the information may be of interest.

http://www.taichichen.com/chenresources_videos.htm#Vid13

Mike Sigman
03-02-2011, 10:47 AM
http://www.taichichen.com/chenresources_videos.htm#Vid13I think this woman is one of the people on NZ that brings in Zhu Tiancai (famous Chen-stylist) for workshops, etc. While most of what she said seems to be fairly common and general statements about silk-reeling, I don't see anything explicative or useful for someone trying to find out exact how's or what's. She's pretty correct that it takes long-term and dedicated practice to get anywhere with it.

The essence of body movement is Open and Close. Open uses the power from the ground ('groundpath', kokyu, whatever) and the connection of the body, particularly the connection across the back of the entire body (head to toe). Close uses the power of gravity and the connection of the body, particularly the connection across the front of the body (head to toe). The main back & front connections can further be broken down to regional connections, which is where the muscle-tendon channels, the precursors to acupuncture meridians, come from.

The optimum way to utilize the power of the whole body is to move it as a unit. If you're going to move it as a unit, then the hara has to control the kokyu and the connection (the "ki" is largely related to this). Someone who doesn't move the whole body with the hara isn't doing "internal strength", but some side-aspects of it. And learning how to use the hara to make those controls takes, as the woman says, a goodly period of focused study.

I haven't seen much indication that Aikido uses "silk reeling", as I said before, so by default they use "pulling silk" to some degree (given that there is kokyu/jin and ki in Aikido). So rather than encouraging people to chase yet another trendy-sounding thing that they can't do without good instruction anyway, my suggestion would be that people just do suburi or some simplified version of suburi as a 'qigong'.

Rather than focus on the precise way to lift, grip, angle of the elbows, twist, unwavering downstroke, and so on, I'd suggest that people just forget "correct" suburi (you can do that later, after you have some 'correct' hara, jin, and body connection.... something most sword people don't have). If you start off without even a bokken/bokuto in your hands and do the lift with the inhale tightening the back and the hara and front-leg-push causing the upswing, that's a good start.

When the upswing is finished, notice that the front of the body has now become tightened ('yin turns to yang') and cause the downswing by pushing the hara down in such a way that the hara push pulls the tightened front-body connection all the way out to the hands and pulls everything down. Push forward from the back leg. Inhale, exhale. Open, close. Back, front. Hara rolls backward; hara rolls forward.

It's rough, but it's a managable start toward truly using your hara/dantien/tanden in an easy first direction of control.

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Adman
03-02-2011, 11:18 AM
The essence of body movement is Open and Close. Open uses the power from the ground ('groundpath', kokyu, whatever) and the connection of the body, particularly the connection across the back of the entire body (head to toe). Close uses the power of gravity and the connection of the body, particularly the connection across the front of the body (head to toe).

That's some good meat-and-potatoes, right there!

(and yes, Joep, I saw you wrote much the same thing. ;) )

jss
03-02-2011, 02:00 PM
(and yes, Joep, I saw you wrote much the same thing. ;) )
Oh, but that's just coincidence. :p

Mike Sigman
03-02-2011, 02:36 PM
(and yes, Joep, I saw you wrote much the same thing. ;) )Yes, good job, Joep. I haven't looked at the thread much in a couple of days and I forgot. Have to give credit where credit is due and you were on the mark.

Best.

Mike

jss
03-04-2011, 11:41 AM
Yes, good job, Joep. I haven't looked at the thread much in a couple of days and I forgot. Have to give credit where credit is due and you were on the mark.
Thanks!

Mike Sigman
03-05-2011, 04:15 PM
Japanese or Chinese, the basic principles in these things are related... but only if you understand the basic principles.

For instance, the guy in this video is doing Fune-kogi undo (second set of movements), suburi, sayu-undo, reeling-silk, etc., if you see through clear eyes:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SP9FoeyLjDo&feature=related

FWIW

Mike Sigman

Gary David
03-05-2011, 04:35 PM
Mike
Thanks for putting this up. I see nothing out of place for movements that could easily be Aikido if the understanding is there.
Gary

Mike Sigman
03-08-2011, 05:00 PM
Mike
Thanks for putting this up. I see nothing out of place for movements that could easily be Aikido if the understanding is there.
GaryThere are so many obvious technical questions, Gary. But other than wanting directions to the Tao (which way?... I'll pay for a workshop; my twelfth this year), most people don't seem to have that much motivation to think out loud and work. Look at what Ikeda quietly did.

Until Aikido is regained by the hard-thinkers and practicers.....

;)

Mike

Jon Marshall
03-13-2011, 12:34 PM
Hi All,

I do some Chen-style silk-reeling. I did have a little bit of quality instruction a few years ago, but basically I'm fumbling about on my own with the help of good ol' YouTube and the odd article.

After numerous dabblings, I've come to the rather obvious conclusion that the most effective exercises are the ones I can actually be bothered to do. And since I find the silk-reeling exercises to be profound and beautiful, I find my motivation to perform them is greater than with most other exercises.

On that note, I wonder if anyone can shed any light on the following quote from Akuzawa (who's highly respected exercises I have no experience of, and are, I think most people would agree, less elegant than silk-reeling):

You have to put hard into your body. So by putting hard into your body, it creates pathways to make hard and soft. It becomes sand, gravel and water mixed together in you. What the Chen style guys do, against what I do, it doesn’t work. Not against someone with a weird body like mine, not against seasoned fighters.

Full article here. (http://www.aikidojournal.com/article?articleID=701)

Akuzawa seems to be saying that his internal power is different from the Chen internal power developed, in part, through silk-reeling. Controversial.

I may not have internet access for a week, so apologies if I don't respond quickly to anyones responses.

Cheers,
Jon

Budd
03-13-2011, 09:49 PM
Hmmm if I remember some of the aftermath Rob and Tim had to amend what they said a bit as it was unclear if Ark had actually gotten hands on any of the big dogs in Chen taiji. Anyways, if this idea is still floated in Aunkai circles, I'd love to hear the logic behind it.

Mike Sigman
03-14-2011, 12:35 AM
On that note, I wonder if anyone can shed any light on the following quote from Akuzawa (who's highly respected exercises I have no experience of, and are, I think most people would agree, less elegant than silk-reeling):IIRC we discussed that on AJ when it was published, but the general point was more that Akuzawa thinks his approach is more effective than softer, etc., approaches, including reeling silk... or that's the implication in the article. I don't think Akuzawa has any experience with the hard-core fighters from various Chinese styles, so I think he's just making a general statement/opinion; not meant to be trivializing. I.e., it's an opinion that could potentially make a good discussion about whether a 'hard' approach is better than a 'soft' approach.

2 cents.

Mike Sigman

Jon Marshall
03-18-2011, 05:53 PM
Ha, I might have guessed that the quoted comment had already been discussed somewhere online. Hopefully they'll be an Aunkai UK at some point and I will get a chance to compare the differences myself.

On the point of silk-reeling not being a key feature of aikido movement, surely it's relevant if, as uke, you decide to give a bit more resistance. Mike, I think you mentioned looking for it in the wrist exercises, so if an uke is competent silk-reeler, wouldn't it be all but automatic for them to relax and extend out of an attempted technique with a silk-reeling movement? After all, uke-ing is aikido too. Maybe they'd go back to "pulling-silk" immediately afterwards - an interesting distinction. Anyway, it's something that, at the risk of being perceived as awkward (again), I shall experiment with.

Regards,
Jon

John Brockington
03-30-2011, 12:24 PM
Just wanted to point out something in the seminar notice that Thomas Campbell (OP) posted, which I don't think anyone has commented on, but may be of interest to those who don't think SRE can be helpful for aikido practice:

(quote)
"In the second session, held on July 31st 2011, instructed by Master Li Lairen, a small number of movements from Chen style Taijiquan forms will be taught and corrected in detail, including the silk reeling actions essential to those movements. Students will then work with a partner and be taught how to effectively apply those movements martially, including sparring, self-defense and joint locking (qin na). Although the second session builds upon what is learned in the first, students may attend either one of the two sessions or both."

For anyone who hasn't seen or done some qin na, the similarities to many of the joint locks/techiques in aikido are fairly evident. So continuity in the spectrum of training from SRE----> qin na ----> aikido, or maybe better yet SRE---> qin na <---> aikido is worth exploring.

Standard disclaimer IMHO.

John

John Brockington
03-30-2011, 12:31 PM
Correction- that seminar quote was from post #51 (author Thomas Campbell), not OP. Sorry, got distracted.

John