Internal Arts IA

martial arts , health enrichment, development of consciousness

Silk Reeling Practice Guidelines

Posted by Editor on July 19, 2006

Following are suggestions for working with material you have learned. This may be anything, such as Qigong methods, Taij form instruction, or in the case of this example, silk reeling practice.

Naturally, it is new for you, and you may not remember all relevant details of instruction. Take it easy as far as trying to remember. (One way to remember more is to take notes right at end of any period of instruction, when memory is freshest, and practice the same night or next morning at latest, to refresh memory.) With any instruction, it is a cumulative process of learning little by little. Anything you recall, practice it as you feel it should be. Then, during following instruction, correct your practice as you notice variations when practicing with the teacher. Note any questions you may have to carify your understanding. Feel free to ask questions, any time.

Consider the practice of silk reeling number one, the postive circle, on left and right side. It is vital to regularly practice the circles (you will continue to learn some more variations), as the entire form can be seen as combinations of circular movements. The ability to move with proper structure, always in circular flow of movement, is a critical foundation of the practice. Here are suggestions to guide you:

1. Practice the circle in a mirror, observing all the points you remember from instructions in class.

Try groups of 20 repetions of the circle on each side, left and right—–20 for each of the following specific focus:

2. First have a broad view of stance, posture, position of hand and arm and shoulder, relative to torso, hips, knees, feet. Note head suspended from sky, neck releasing, back lengthening in straight allignment with limbs. Shoulders sink into torso, torso sinks into hips. Hips are tucked under, knees slightly bent, so you feel like you are sitting back on a chair, yet not at all leaning forward or backward. Weight is perfectly centered on front, backs, inside and outside portions of the feet. (20 or so circles each side.)

3. Isolate focus to emphasize you are not simply moving the arm. The arm does not move independently from the body. Feel the stretch of expansion of arm, stretch of back, and primary movement from the lower abdominal center: the point which is centered above the pelvic girdle and below the navel.(20 or so circles each side.)

4. Isolate focus to ascertain that your torso is remaining facing forward, and the shoulders remain stationary, and sunken and relaxed. Note that the torso, front and back, is adjusting to the change of arm position by means of “wrapping” towards center and outward, as the arm circles in and out. (It does so without independent movement of shoulders.) (20 or so circles each side.)

5. Isolate focus to emphasize position of hips. Hips and kua remain level, and also never move independently from the abdominal center. They rotate, while remaing level and facing the same direction, as the waist moves in harmony with kua movement. The rotations of the kua, the ball joints at the tops of the thigh bones, include the bottom side of the pelvic girdle, and the bottom of the buttocks tucked under, which are pushing straight down into the ground as you push off one leg then the other to generate the circle. Pushing is only straight down of one leg alternating to other leg, not to left or right or front to back. Central equillibium is maintained, as all action is whole body movement, rotating around the central spinal axis, with weighte continuously centered. (20 or so circles each side.)

6. Isolate focus to notice knees. Knees follow same principle as point five. They always face directly at same direction as toes. They never move left to right. They only push straight down into the ground as they face the toes. The alternation of left leg, right leg is accomplished by pushing into ground of right side of abdomen through the hip and knee, flowing into the left side pushing down, all in a continuous process. (20 or so circles each side.)

Silk reeling practice is intended to help the practitioner learn to “move like silk” and experience the flow of “coiling energy”, to gain foundational skills which are the cornerstone of Chen Taiji.

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3 Responses to “Silk Reeling Practice Guidelines”

  1. […] Internal Arts IA has written about Silk Reeling Practice Guidelines.  He make it a point to practice in front of a mirror! I must admit, I do not do this, nor have I done this at home. Sure, when I trained in a studio and a mirror was present, I did use it as a guide line for visual feedback. […]

  2. wujimon said

    Wow.. great article and points for training silk reeling. With 6 steps and roughly 20 circles each side, that’s like a total of 240 circles!! I really liked how you noted a “focus” for each step/set. Definitely a good way to “peel the onion”.

  3. Hi Wujimon,

    Thanks for your positive feed back. Hopefully this can evolve in the next few weeks for deeper investigation of strategies for progressive practice.

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