Dave Findlay wrote:
I'd also like to ask about the silk reeling exercises (Chen Tai Chi) and how they fit in. I was wondering, as somewhere along the line you mentioned the connective tissue was sometimes referred to as a "silk" running through the body. I was once given the explanation that "silk reeling" was called such because it should be performed with the smoothness of trying to reel a silk thread off a cocoon... ie, the aim was to cultivate smoothness itself. But now I'm thinking that maybe its more about the use of fascia-related-structures (TM)
/ connective tissue, and learning how manipulation (???) ("reeling") of that is used to move the body through simple movements.
Like maybe first a qi gong set is used to build ki (pressure/suit), and then the silk reeling is used to manipulate it (manifesting koyku) [should this be in another thread
Excellent reasoning and extrapolation. You're right. "Silk", as in "Silk Reeling", "Pulling Silk", "Eight Pieces of Silk (brocade)", etc., refer to the fascia/connective-tissue/membranes. You work them with stretches, breathing, twisting (as in 'silk reeling'), but always in a way that does it from head to toe, fingertips and toes included. As I already mentioned, this general idea is the same in martial arts, yoga, qigongs, etc.
And alongside, push hands adds the very necessary element of feeling how kokyu / ki interacts with another partner. eg, kokyu applied as kuzushi, grounding incoming, grounding outgoing (holds-osae waza) and some aspects of ki like "listening skill" maybe (not sure about this).
I'm impressed. However, a word of caution. Once you begin to grasp the interrelationships in the logic of these things, it's not that hard to extrapolate and figure out how some things work. Figuring them out and doing them are two different things. I've already had some disappointing experiences with some friends who grokked the logic and then whiled away their time extrapolating (correctly) to great lengths. Problem was, they forgot to practice, so in the end they didn't have much more right than the theory.