Silk Reeling Moves
Master Feng Zhiqiang Chen Style Taiji Silk Reeling Exercise
Neck (6 moves)
Shoulders (12 moves)
Arms - Spirals (10 moves)
Arms - Stretches (13 moves)
Elbows and Wrists (23 moves)
Waists (13 moves)
Legs (19 moves)
Shakes (5 moves)
The marking after the phonetic pronunciation (according to the Pin Yin system) is the tonal inflection of the vowel(s), i.e. the symbol ‘-‘ is for high pitch but constant tone, ‘/’ is for rising (in pitch) tone, ‘~’ is for dropping then rising, ‘\’ is for dropping.
At the beginning of each section in the exercise, perform 3 repetitions of deep breathing, gathering energy with both arms and channel it from forehead, thru the trunk of the body and finally into the legs. Refer to Qi Gong notes for more description of this movement.
“Shun\” and “Ni\” are rotation direction indicator words in Chen Style Taiji. They are notorious for causing confusion among practitioners who are non-Chinese speakers. It is often translated as “Clockwise” and “Anti/Counter Clockwise”, which is not always true, and certainly not directly related to the meaning of the words in Chinese. “Shun\” has the meaning of “Going Along” with respect to the normal flow, and “Ni\” has the meaning of “Going Against” it. Further more, the idea of what is “Normal” differs from case to case, and is sometime quite arbitrary - even the masters would sometime disagree among themselves! I would only use the word “Clockwise” or “Anti/Counter Clockwise” where it is clear “from the vantage point of the practitioner” that the roll in question is indeed so – for example, neck rotations. Most of the time, I prefer to translate “Shun\” as “Natural (rotation)”, and “Ni\” as “Reverse (rotation)” to avoid the confusion. For example, “Shun\” rotation on the right arm is usually clockwise but counter-clockwise on the left. There are some anatomical reasons (most of the time) for the early masters to name one direction of rotation as normal and the other as reverse but it is beyond the scope of this translation effort. After all, we should always practice to roll in both directions, and know the rotations from a body-movement perspective rather than just namesake.
“Gong- Bu\”, bow stance, is also commonly known as “Gong- Jian\ Bu\”, bow and arrow stance. This is a figurative description of the shape of the legs. In a left bow stance, or left bow right arrow stance, the left leg is forward, bending at the knee (hence the bow), and the right leg is backward, relatively straightened (hence the arrow). The weight distribution is about 70% on the bent leg. Note that this stance is at the beginning of the movement, during the movement, there is usually some weight shifting that may alter the stance.
"Deng- Bu\”, mount stance, sometimes known as “Deng- Shang\ Bu\”, mount and ascend stance, or “Deng\ Shang\ Bu\”, thrust and ascend stance. This is a figurative description of the action of the legs. In a left mount stance, the left leg is open to the side, bending at the knee (hence the mount), and the right leg is relatively straightened. ). The weight distribution is about 60% to 70% on the bent leg. Note that this stance is at the beginning of the movement, during the movement, there is usually some weight shifting that may alter the stance.
"Ding- Bu\”, T-stance, refers to the shape of the feet with relation to each other, i.e. the front foot toes are pointing forward, and the back foot toes are pointing approximately 90° to the side, forming the T shape, which looks like the Chinese character “Ding-“. The stance is also relatively higher than the bow or mount stance. “Ba- Bu\”, A-stance, refers to the shape of the feet with relation to each other, i.e. the left foot toes are pointing approximately 30° outward to the left and the right foot toes are also pointing approximately 30° outward to the right. The feet then form the shape of a ‘V’, or from another direction ‘A’, which resembles the Chinese character “Ba-“ (meaning “eight”, which is irrelevant). The “Ba” stance is also relatively high. “Ding- Ba- Bu”, TA-stance, is a hybrid of the two i.e. the front foot is pointing forward, and the back foot is pointing approximately 45° outward. The weight distribution is about 80% to 90% on the back leg. Note that this stance is at the beginning of the movement, during the movement, there is usually some weight shifting that may alter the stance.
Other popular silk reeling exercises commonly practice by other Chen stylists may include movements found in the various forms, and some may be practiced in conjunction with stepping e.g. Yellow dragon Stir Water. In addition, Qi Gong movements can be and often are practiced as Silk Reeling movements, and vice versa.