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?
"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.