Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tai Chi’s Silk Reeling Energy

Silk Reeling Energy, or Chan Si Jing, is a movement principle shared by many Chinese martial art styles, including Kung Fu and Tai Chi.The function of silk reeling energy is to unify the body by drawing energy from the Dan Tian (Red Field), or physical center of gravity, and using this energy to reinforce movements of the rest of the body. It takes its name from the idea of drawing or reeling silk from a silk worm’s cocoon. In order to draw out the silk successfully, each action must be smooth and consistent without jerking or changing direction sharply. Most people understand it as a twisting energy. To explain the concept in more detail, I will first explain the two basic energies, Horizontal Energy and Vertical Energy.

Horizontal Energy: Horizontal energy comes from the waist. It’s a twist of your body. It is generally a closed energy, meaning that the limbs remain generally close to the body to protect the central area and maintain balance. The most basic Hand-Push training routine is based on horizontal energy. Movements like Brush Knee also use horizontal energy. Horizontal energy comes from you Dan Tian, your center of gravity, located just below your naval.

Vertical energy: Vertical energy comes from your feet or the ground. It’s an energy that rises and falls. This energy originates from the sole of the foot in the Yong Quan (Bubbling Spring) Acupuncture point. We can practice vertical energy using the Vertical Hand Push move. Movements such as Lifting Hands also use this vertical energy.

When you combine both Horizontal Energy and Vertical Energy together, the result is Silk Reeling Energy, a twisting and turning energy. When you have mastered both Horizontal and Vertical Energies and can apply them well, try to work towards achieving Silk Reeling Energy. When you feel resistance while applying Horizontal or Vertical energy towards your partner during a Hand-Push exercise, try to combine both energies and link them in circles. Physically, this means linking the Dan Tian, to the waist, back and shoulder right through the arms to the hands, and down through the hips to the knees and feet. All of these movements flow together in a spiral. The spiraling of the waist creates spiraling of the shoulder, elbow and wrist as well as the hips, knees and ankles. The body should move as one unit. When one part of the body moves, the whole body moves. The result is the release of explosive energy, like a bullet shooting from a barrel. When absorbing Silk Reeling Energy, imagine a black hole in the universe sucking everything in. When you can both release and absorb using Silk Reeling Energy, your Hand-Push skills will advance to a new level.

Copyrighted by Huan's Tai Chi 2010

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