"Silk Reeling" (ChanSiGong/ChanSiJing):
Silk Reeling technique is an internal art of high
degree. It is one of the fighting, power discharge
skills and does not appear to have been communicated
to Yang Luchan (if it was he does not seem to
have taught it) and is therefore unique to the
parent Chen style TaiChi.
exercises exaggerate in the outer form the subtle
internal movements that must be aquired within
to make it work. Students who practice these exercises
diligently and regularly everyday can expect to
see initial weak and uncoordinated results within
6-9 months under correct guidance. The rest takes
technique makes use of a combination of weight
shifting in the legs and a corkscrew motion in
the body that originates from the lower torso
(dantian) ultimately radiating out to the arms
in a number of different manners at will (in the
experienced practicioner). Actually it is too
subtle to learn from a video alone and even with
a highly experienced teacher it requires significant
instruction and inspection.
years of continuous practice to develop, strengthen,
control and explore the myriad martial applications
of this skill and in fact even masters never stop
learning and developing this technique. Chen Fake
was very devoted to exploring this skill and created
his "New Frame" while teaching in Bejing
to deepen its use beyond that contained in the
use is implicit in all movements of the Chen Routines
and the beauty of this subtle, spiral twining
of the central body is but a "side-effect"
of what is primarily a powerful martial skill.
This delicate twining only adds to the wonderful,
liquid flowing grace of the outer form that we
admire in TaiChi.
practicioner can actually exercise this martial
skill fully without visible expression in outer
movements. Indeed this is the goal in continuous
practice of both the Large and Small Frame Traditions
a Chen practicioner gains mature experience in
use of the Silk-Reeling art one then attempts,
over time, to make smaller and smaller outward
use of the arms and their circular movements (which
are in fact used as a "prop" to help
the learner first feel then control its internal
use). Hence the advice often heard in connection
with learning of the Small Frame Routines - "turn
your small circles into invisible circles."
the Silk Reeling contains both Yin and Yang aspects.
In Yin ("female") mode it can be used
to dissipate and neutralise the force of an incoming
opponent by "turning it into an empty place."
Silk Reeling Skill is used in Yang ("male")
mode the spiral movement "collects"
muscle force from around the whole body by means
of a sort of rising "shock wave" that
rides on top of normal body movement. It is first
dropped down from the dantian (diaphragm area)
to the legs then "bounced" back up the
body with additional energy added by untwining
the torso as the "wave" rises. Finally
this force is "discharged" in the extremities
of the body (fist, elbow, shoulder) on contact
with an opponent in a frightening pulse of concentrated
both Yin/Yang aspects are combined so that the
force of an incoming opponent is "re-vectored."
In other words the Silk-Reeling can be used to
"rebound" the force of an incoming opponent
back upon himself. The faster the attack the faster
the rebound - much like objects thrown at a fast
This Chan Si Gong
(silk-reeling) successfully yokes stationary QiGong
to the hard external martial arts - which seem
almost opposite exercises. This powerful harmonising
of opposites (which is what the words "TaiChi"
originally meant) gives birth to something new
- a powerful, "soft" internal martial
art, a "moving QiGong", a TaiChi Chuan.
Thus is Chan Si Gong a bridge between the stationary
Zhan Zhuang exercises (a form of QiGong practised
by TaiChi stylists) and the Old Frame One.
The Silk Reeling
technique cannot be safely practised without the
correct technique, profound relaxation of the
body (in its execution), highly mobile joints
and a long habit of correct body alignment. This
is the purpose of the Silk-Reeling exercises in
conjunction with Zhuan Zhang (Qigong Standing
exercises) and Old Frame One. The Silk Reeling
exercises also help turn the Old Frame One into
a true "moving Qigong."
video demonstrates single arm exercises and one
of the two arm exercises.
Click the picture to download (1.5Mb,