Welcome to AikiWeb Aikido Information
AikiWeb: The Source for Aikido Information
AikiWeb's principal purpose is to serve the Internet community as a repository and dissemination point for aikido information.

Sections
home
aikido articles
columns

Discussions
forums
aikiblogs

Databases
dojo search
seminars
image gallery
supplies
links directory

Reviews
book reviews
video reviews
dvd reviews
equip. reviews

News
submit
archive

Miscellaneous
newsletter
rss feeds
polls
about

Follow us on



Home > AikiWeb Aikido Forums
Go Back   AikiWeb Aikido Forums > Non-Aikido Martial Traditions

Hello and thank you for visiting AikiWeb, the world's most active online Aikido community! This site is home to over 22,000 aikido practitioners from around the world and covers a wide range of aikido topics including techniques, philosophy, history, humor, beginner issues, the marketplace, and more.

If you wish to join in the discussions or use the other advanced features available, you will need to register first. Registration is absolutely free and takes only a few minutes to complete so sign up today!

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 02-20-2011, 08:40 PM   #26
mathewjgano
 
mathewjgano's Avatar
Dojo: Tsubaki Kannagara Jinja Aikidojo; Himeji Shodokan Dojo
Location: Renton
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,114
United_States
Offline
Re: Silk reeling

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.

Gambarimashyo!
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2011, 08:44 PM   #27
MM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 1,996
United_States
Offline
Re: Silk reeling

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
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.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2011, 09:06 PM   #28
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
United_States
Offline
Re: Silk reeling

Quote:
Janet Rosen wrote: View Post
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
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2011, 09:37 PM   #29
dps
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,174
Offline
Re: Silk reeling

Mike and Dan are fighting again.
The natural order of things have been restored.
The universe is in balance.
dps

Last edited by dps : 02-20-2011 at 09:44 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2011, 10:00 PM   #30
gregstec
Dojo: Aiki Kurabu
Location: Elizabethtown, PA
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,110
United_States
Offline
Re: Silk reeling

Quote:
Mary Malmros wrote: View Post
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
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2011, 10:26 PM   #31
phitruong
Dojo: Charlotte Aikikai Agatsu Dojo
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,817
United_States
Offline
Re: Silk reeling

Quote:
Greg Steckel wrote: View Post
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!
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2011, 10:39 PM   #32
mathewjgano
 
mathewjgano's Avatar
Dojo: Tsubaki Kannagara Jinja Aikidojo; Himeji Shodokan Dojo
Location: Renton
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 2,114
United_States
Offline
Re: Silk reeling

Quote:
Mike Sigman wrote: View Post
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

Last edited by mathewjgano : 02-20-2011 at 10:46 PM.

Gambarimashyo!
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011, 08:46 AM   #33
gregstec
Dojo: Aiki Kurabu
Location: Elizabethtown, PA
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 1,110
United_States
Offline
Re: Silk reeling

Quote:
Phi Truong wrote: View Post
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
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011, 09:50 AM   #34
lbb
Location: Massachusetts
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 2,832
United_States
Offline
Re: Silk reeling

My work here is done.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011, 10:19 AM   #35
Diana Frese
Dojo: Aikikai of S.W. Conn. (formerly)
Location: Stamford Connecticut
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 382
United_States
Offline
Re: Silk reeling

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....
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011, 10:34 AM   #36
Diana Frese
Dojo: Aikikai of S.W. Conn. (formerly)
Location: Stamford Connecticut
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 382
United_States
Offline
Re: Silk reeling

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.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011, 10:35 AM   #37
dps
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 2,174
Offline
Re: Silk reeling

Quote:
Matthew Gano;277126[B wrote:
]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
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011, 01:18 PM   #38
DH
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,394
United_States
Offline
Re: Silk reeling

I am sick of it as well
I am walking away from this. He's all yours.
Dan
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011, 01:50 PM   #39
Mike Sigman
Location: Durango, CO
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 4,123
United_States
Offline
Re: Silk reeling

Quote:
Diana Frese wrote: View Post
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
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011, 05:52 PM   #40
stan baker
Location: east granby, ct
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 174
Wake Island
Offline
Re: Silk reeling

If you want to understand whole body winding from a japanese perspective ask Dan Harden.

stan
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-21-2011, 10:33 PM   #41
Lee Salzman
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 405
Offline
Re: Silk reeling

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.

Last edited by Lee Salzman : 02-21-2011 at 10:47 PM.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2011, 06:31 PM   #42
Thomas Campbell
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 407
Offline
Re: Silk reeling

Quote:
Matthew Gano wrote: View Post
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.c...ML/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:





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=AY2aC...eature=related

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wh3Am...eature=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.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2011, 10:30 PM   #43
Janet Rosen
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Janet Rosen's Avatar
Location: Left Coast
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 3,966
Offline
Re: Silk reeling

Thomas, thank you.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2011, 10:49 PM   #44
Keith Larman
Location: California
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 1,566
United_States
Offline
Re: Silk reeling

Thomas:

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

  Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2011, 11:04 PM   #45
Lee Salzman
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 405
Offline
Re: Silk reeling

Tom single-handedly saves the thread.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2011, 11:30 AM   #46
jss
Location: Rotterdam
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 459
Netherlands
Offline
Re: Silk reeling

Quote:
Thomas Campbell wrote: View Post
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.

Quote:
[...], 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.
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2011, 12:40 PM   #47
Janet Rosen
  AikiWeb Forums Contributing Member
 
Janet Rosen's Avatar
Location: Left Coast
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 3,966
Offline
Re: Silk reeling

Quote:
Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
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.

Janet Rosen
http://www.zanshinart.com
"peace will enter when hate is gone"--percy mayfield
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2011, 01:11 PM   #48
Thomas Campbell
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 407
Offline
Re: Silk reeling

Quote:
Joep Schuurkes wrote: View Post
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/phpB...=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).
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2011, 01:14 PM   #49
Gary David
 
Gary David's Avatar
Location: Long Beach, CA
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 330
United_States
Offline
Re: Silk reeling

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
  Reply With Quote
Old 02-23-2011, 03:01 PM   #50
Mark Kruger
Dojo: Aikido of Eugene
Location: Eugene/Springfield, Oregon
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 40
United_States
Offline
Re: Silk reeling

Thomas, your posts are great. Thank you.

Respectfully,
Mark Kruger
  Reply With Quote

Please visit our sponsor:

Handmade Aikido Gifts - Handmade functional ceramic art with aikido themes



Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Future of Aikido Mary Eastland General 154 02-23-2011 06:01 AM
Shiko Training Chris Covington Non-Aikido Martial Traditions 123 07-08-2009 05:54 PM
Baseline skillset eyrie Non-Aikido Martial Traditions 1633 05-23-2008 02:35 PM
Reeling Silk Verbatim jennifer paige smith Non-Aikido Martial Traditions 39 07-28-2007 05:18 PM
Deep Breathing and its meaning Dennis Hooker General 58 09-01-2006 03:08 PM


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:15 PM.



vBulletin Copyright © 2000-2014 Jelsoft Enterprises Limited
----------
Copyright 1997-2014 AikiWeb and its Authors, All Rights Reserved.
----------
For questions and comments about this website:
Send E-mail
plainlaid-picaresque outchasing-protistan explicantia-altarage seaford-stellionate