This is a post by our guest blogger, Silkreeling who is also a keen player of Chen Style Taijiquan.
Although many would know that chansijing or silkreeling energy is the main element that makes up Chen Style Taiji, those who understand and can apply it is few and far in between. There are those that think silkreeling as spiral force. If that is the case, their often point of view that follows would be correct - Don’t have to bother as other Taiji styles dwell on spiral and circular energies too. But does silkreeling equates to spiral force? And does their application differ?
According to expert opinion, they are not the same; read on as Master Li Jingwu(李经悟)elaborates further from an extract in his 1964 article:
“Produced through spiral movement, the spiral energy is focused on a single point of the opponent’s body, with the purpose of upsetting his structure or balance. This kind of energy application exists in all forms of Taijiquan, for example Wu Style’s Grasping Bird’s Tail or Brush Knee Push, all which exhibit obvious spiral energy application.
The silkreeling energy however is different.
Firstly, the mechanism to achieve it is more complex. Its uniqueness is marked by the multi-varied rotational movement of the waist and dantian working in tandem. This results from combining the two rotational movements of the waist and dantian, twirling on at least two different axes. With the guidance of the mind intention the silkreeling energy reaches the finger tips through the rotating spine and arms.
Secondly, ‘returning to the source’(归原) must be achieved through the settling of qi in the dantian at the end of each movement with the rounding of the ‘dang’. On the surface it looks as though this energy is the result of the movement and the rotation of the upper limps only. But in actual fact precise co-ordination of the whole body is required, right from the feet to the main focus of the waist and dantian rotation, to the spine and arms and finally to the finger tips, all guided by the mind intention.
Finally however, let’s examine this in terms of application and usage because in it lays the most obvious difference between the two energies. Silkreeling energy does not stop at the finger tips to be focused on a single point if the opponent. Instead, through the multi-axis rotational movement of the finger tips, wrist and arms, the twirling and twisting energy enters the opponent. This energy becomes amplified giving rise to a natural but overwhelming wrapping up or entanglement effect. The opponent will be ‘wrapped up’ or entangled by his own body or limps and thus being subdued that way. This is the essence of Chen Style Taiji, which is truly unique”.
Well, Master Li Jingwu’s (李经悟)above writing may indeed be the most succinct explanation on silkreeling energy to date. Compare it with the clip below and see if you can relate the two or come up with any new insights. The clip shows demonstrations by Li Baoting (李宝廷), a very accomplished student of Master Hong Junsheng. Enjoy.