Silk Reeling is a term used to explain the spiralling movement of Qi and the physical body when training Taijiquan.
Four ounces moves 1000 pounds
The Chinese base this term off the fact that silk is one of the lightest, softest and yet strongest materials on the planet, based on weight when under tension.
Therefore the term is meant to perfectly explain how it should feel to touch hands with an experienced master of Taiji, who can effortlessly redirect incoming force,
whilst remaining soft and supple, using a grounding ability and hidden strength that makes it feel like trying to move a giant tree, swaying gently in the breeze.
In terms of training, Silk Reeling can be taught through a set of movements taken directly from the Taiji form itself, with each exercise examined in minute detail, to ensure proper understanding of the body mechanics and movement of Qi, with each turn of the feet, twist of the waist and wave of the hand, in order to be able to properly manifest power with minimal effort.
A skill that must be developed over many years of dedicated training, Silk Reeling is considered one of the advanced practices in Taijiquan training.
The Taiji classics refer to power being drawn up from the ground through the feet, directed by the waist, and manifested in the fingers, so it is easy to understand how the Chinese perceive energy spiraling up from the ‘root’ or ground, and travelling through each of the bodies kinetic links (joints), before being distributed to the hands via the torso when delivering an attack.
It is easy to show people the fundamentals of this concept, as when adopting the right position and paying close attention to correct postural alignment, it is very difficult for an opponent to ‘uproot you’, or make you lose balance, where conversely, if even one part of your posture is incorrect, it is very easy for someone to ‘steal’ your centre of gravity and make you step or move to regain balance.
From an energetic perspective, Silk Reeling also refers to the path Qi takes throughout the body, weaving its way through the network of meridians, as guided by the mind during movement.
My own journey with Taiji has proved to be an enlightening experience.
Although much harder to comprehend and master than the mere physical movements themselves, with time and practice most practitioners of Taiji will also experience the flow of Qi energy, originating in the Lower Dantian, and travelling to the extremities of the body, experienced as a soft wave during the slow phases of movement, and a hard or sudden wave of energy when emitting force, during performing explosive parts of the form.
Silk Reeling is just one of the many skills we focus on at Wu Xing Dao Kung Fu, if you would like to know more or come by for a free trial of our system to see if it is right for you, click on the link below to contact us.