Reeling Silk Chi Kung

Reeling Silk, or Chan Si Kung, is another fundamental chi kung exercise characteristic of Chen style tai chi chuan. On the physical level, this exercise integrates and coordinates the movements with both types of motions – external, led by the waist, and internal –originating at the Dan Tien. With this exercise we learn how to “reel the silk” in every joint of the body during the execution of the techniques.

On the pure energy level, through Reeling Silk we learn how to activate and lead the energy through the distinct energy path-ways; and how to connect physical movements (yang) to energy flow (yin), by mentally controlling the Dan Tien. We learn to actually think and direct the movements through the Dan Tien.

Precise movements firstly activate the chi; the chi then oscillates between yin and yang – following a sine-wave trajectory, building up and maintaining a steady energy level – despite crossing the zero points between the crests and troughs.

In the case of electrical power, we have alternating current, which lights the light-bulb by changing its polarity (yin and yang) 50 times a second, passing through point zero. There is no noticeable flickering or change of glow intensity and, even when measured with fine instruments, the mean value of power is always a positive number. Reeling Silk produces a steady flow of chi in the body in the same way. Reeling Silk, as the name suggests, is likened to the mechanics of producing silk, where tension, speed and rhythm have to be carefully maintained if we want to get unbroken silk-thread. The unbroken flow of energy in chi kung exercise is achieved through spiralling, coiling, rotating, twirling and meandering movements, which are the external characteristics, while, internally, we practise rolling the Dan Tien.

Reeling Silk, by unifying mind, body and energy, prepares our lower aspects for the influx of higher energies.