View Single Post
Old 08-10-2011, 11:04 AM   #1
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
Basics of Spiraling Motion

One of the basic tenets of so-called "internal strength" is to use the ground-support and gravity/weight to do as much work as possible, without relying on 'normal' strength. From the ground we can support forces that go straight up from the ground and also forces that go off at reasonable angles from the ground (close to horizontal). From the gravity/weight we can get forces that go down. Another way to state the forces when used by the body is to say that the 4 basic forces are Up, Down, Away from the Body, and Toward the Body. There are different names in different Chinese styles for these 4 directions of forces, but in Taiji you'll hear them as Peng, Lu, Ji, An (roughly Up, Toward the Body, Away from the Body, and Down).

Sometimes these 4 directions of basic internal-strength are drawn as a square, with the sides equating to Up, Across (away), Down, and back Across (toward).

All movements in actual "internal strength" are made from these basic 4 forces. Feng ZhiQiang had a good video, some years back, where he took the time to show how Peng, Lu, Ji, An were in all correct internal-strength movements. A simple circular wave of arm has in it the gradual morphing of the 4 Directions from one into another.

"Spiraling Energy' has become something of a catch-phrase in the last 15 years and a number of 'teachers' use the term (there's a couple of ladies in my town who teach 'spiraling energy', as a matter of fact). It's sort of a misunderstanding, much like the way that the famous Chen-style "shaking power" got mistranslated as "vibrating power" (get it? "shake" *could* be mistakenly translated as "vibrate") and people came up with all sorts of theories about high-frequency vibrations generating enormous power (See Waysun Liao's book as an example).

'Spiraling Energy' was a term that has been often used since the 1970's and comes from the term "Chansijin" which means roughly "Reeling Silk trained-physical-skill". True, one of the dictionary possibilities for "jin" is "energy" and a lot of the New Age era translators opted to do just that... but it missed the point and it started a great amount of misunderstanding because "energy" is simply misleading.

Spiraling in Reeling Silk exercises and application involves all parts of the body turning (sometimes just the tensions inside and other factors are doing the actual moving, but there is indeed movement, not intangible 'energy').

The important thing is.... each section of spiraling motion is supposed to be done with those same gradually morphing basic 4 directions of power. In other words, if you don't have basic jin skills, you can't be doing meaningful 'spiraling' because that puts the cart before the horse. Similarly, the idea that basic jin forces are created by spiraling which in turn needs the basic jin forces.... you get the point: it's a complete misunderstanding of the concept.


Mike Sigman
  Reply With Quote