抽絲 versus 纏絲

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

抽絲 versus 纏絲

Postby MiaoZhen on Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:24 am

Hi all!

So, I'm sort of surprised that I just realized there are two different skills that are similarly named. I'm a Chen stylist so I'm particularly familiar with silk reeling (纏絲勁). Until just recently I embarrassingly didn't know that in Yang style they have something else named close to this (drawing/pulling silk - 抽絲勁). With some recent conversations I've seen that the people I've chatted with seem to conflate the two. But, when I went to Falk's Dictionary, she gives definitions that are clearly different.

I'm wondering if someone has a really solid published reference from a reputable Yang stylist in Chinese that I can read that describes 抽絲勁. I want a Chinese language reference so I can see how it's described in the original language and how that might be different from what I'm familiar with. Thanks!
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Re: 抽絲 versus 纏絲

Postby GrahamB on Mon Oct 19, 2020 7:47 am

There is one line about drawing silk in the Taijiquan classics. I’d say everything else after that is conjecture.
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Re: 抽絲 versus 纏絲

Postby MiaoZhen on Mon Oct 19, 2020 8:41 am

Thanks Graham. I'll go see if I can do a text search in Chinese to find the original line. I'm ok with conjecture also (since someone had to make it up the first time anyway!), but want to see how it's described in Chinese by a really good contemporary author.
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Re: 抽絲 versus 纏絲

Postby robert on Mon Oct 19, 2020 12:26 pm

MiaoZhen wrote:So, I'm sort of surprised that I just realized there are two different skills that are similarly named. I'm a Chen stylist so I'm particularly familiar with silk reeling (纏絲勁). Until just recently I embarrassingly didn't know that in Yang style they have something else named close to this (drawing/pulling silk - 抽絲勁). With some recent conversations I've seen that the people I've chatted with seem to conflate the two. But, when I went to Falk's Dictionary, she gives definitions that are clearly different.

They're analogies and if you're familiar with the process of making silk thread silk is drawn out of a cocoon onto a reel. Drawing and reeling in the context of making silk thread refer to the same thing. Giu Liuxin makes a distinction between the two, but personally I think that is splitting hairs.
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Re: 抽絲 versus 纏絲

Postby robert on Mon Oct 19, 2020 12:51 pm

The taiji classics have 運劤如抽絲. Yun jin ru chousi. Move jin (strength) like spinning silk. Chou can be translated as to draw out or pull out, but when combined with si mdbg translates the two characters chousi together as spinning silk. I don't read or write Chinese so I can't comment further.
The method of practicing this boxing art is nothing more than opening and closing, passive and active. The subtlety of the art is based entirely upon their alternations. Chen Xin
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Re: 抽絲 versus 纏絲

Postby Bao on Mon Oct 19, 2020 2:01 pm

” I'm wondering if someone has a really solid published reference from a reputable Yang stylist in Chinese that I can read that describes 抽絲勁.”


Yang Zhenduo said: “In the Yang style, it (chan Si jing) is not as apparent as in the Chen style. But that content is incorporated in the Yang style,” he said. “It is done subtly in the change of the hand position.”

Wu Tunan said about the Yang concept chousi, or pulling silk: ” If you pull the silk abruptly it will break, when you pull it improperly, the silk won’t come out. This is a metaphor for training the energy (jin) of taijiquan. It cannot be excessively forceful, nor excessively fragile;”

Full quotes, more quotes and more about the difference between those two concepts you can read about here:
https://taichithoughts.wordpress.com/20 ... c-concept/

If you want to know more and about the background and history of these two terms, I’ve explained it all here:
https://taichithoughts.wordpress.com/20 ... chi-chuan/
Last edited by Bao on Mon Oct 19, 2020 2:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: 抽絲 versus 纏絲

Postby MiaoZhen on Mon Oct 19, 2020 3:01 pm

Thank you Bao for those posts, I enjoyed them! They also confirm the ideas that Falk has in her dictionary under the definitions of the two terms. Just an aside, in your posts you have 纏絲精. That's a typo... Should be 纏絲勁.
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Re: 抽絲 versus 纏絲

Postby Bao on Mon Oct 19, 2020 10:59 pm

MiaoZhen wrote:Thank you Bao for those posts, I enjoyed them! They also confirm the ideas that Falk has in her dictionary under the definitions of the two terms. Just an aside, in your posts you have 纏絲精. That's a typo... Should be 纏絲勁.


Odd, haven't even noticed this mistake. Maybe auto-corrected some way? Anyway, thanks, I'll have a look at it.
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Re: 抽絲 versus 纏絲

Postby escher on Mon Oct 19, 2020 11:27 pm

Marcus Brinkman wrote a nice article about pulling silk some years back. I can't say I fully understand it, but I've gotten a lot out if it.

https://www.selfdefenseguides.info/internal-power-2/by-marcus-brinkman.html
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Re: 抽絲 versus 纏絲

Postby MiaoZhen on Tue Oct 20, 2020 5:37 am

Bao wrote:
MiaoZhen wrote:Thank you Bao for those posts, I enjoyed them! They also confirm the ideas that Falk has in her dictionary under the definitions of the two terms. Just an aside, in your posts you have 纏絲精. That's a typo... Should be 纏絲勁.


Odd, haven't even noticed this mistake. Maybe auto-corrected some way? Anyway, thanks, I'll have a look at it.


It's probably because 勁 can be jìn or jìng (or as my Shifu pronounces is jìr). I think a lot of people pronounce it with the "g" at the end (then being a homophone with 精) partly because many teachers in the west are from southern China and in Cantonese the default pronunciation ends with a "g." I've never heard any of my Beijing based Taiji aunts/uncles say "jing" (it's always "jin"). But again, excellent blog posts!
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Re: 抽絲 versus 纏絲

Postby Bao on Tue Oct 20, 2020 6:02 am

MiaoZhen wrote:It's probably because 勁 can be jìn or jìng


I am not sure, for characters I mostly just used copy paste, so it should have happened somewhere in that process. I often work very fast with texts and sometimes I don't take enough time to go through everything as much as I properly should.
(But mostly I am satisfied with the outcome enough and try to not demand perfection from myself, or otherwise I would probably get stuck. After all, English is not my mother-tongue. )

... from southern China and in Cantonese the default pronunciation ends with a "g. "I've never heard any of my Beijing based Taiji aunts/uncles say "jing" (it's always "jin").


I know that some dialects in the souther parts of China do really not differentiate between "n" and "ng", so if you have that kind of dialect as your everyday language, you might have a hard time to keep them apart when you speak mandarin.

Very few characters have two different pronunciations, and those who have, one is used and the other one is never or almost never used. My wife (who is Chinese) didn't even believe me that 勁 could have two different pronunciations until I showed for her. For 勁, I believe that Jin and not jing should be the correct one. As I have understood it, if you use "ng", the meaning might shift and mean more "strength" in a technical way. But the character we use go more towards "spirit", "expression" and even "spirit" (as the spirit of something).

But again, excellent blog posts!


Thanks, appreciated.
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Re: 抽絲 versus 纏絲

Postby jbb73 on Tue Oct 20, 2020 12:10 pm

There is a short article on that topic in the Japanese Wushu-Magazine, Sommer 1998, page 138/39.
"What is Yang-Family Taijiquan chousijin" from 坂梨博章.
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Re: 抽絲 versus 纏絲

Postby taiwandeutscher on Wed Oct 21, 2020 12:33 am

MiaoZhen wrote:
Bao wrote:
MiaoZhen wrote:Thank you Bao for those posts, I enjoyed them! They also confirm the ideas that Falk has in her dictionary under the definitions of the two terms. Just an aside, in your posts you have 纏絲精. That's a typo... Should be 纏絲勁.


Odd, haven't even noticed this mistake. Maybe auto-corrected some way? Anyway, thanks, I'll have a look at it.


It's probably because 勁 can be jìn or jìng (or as my Shifu pronounces is jìr). I think a lot of people pronounce it with the "g" at the end (then being a homophone with 精) partly because many teachers in the west are from southern China and in Cantonese the default pronunciation ends with a "g." I've never heard any of my Beijing based Taiji aunts/uncles say "jing" (it's always "jin"). But again, excellent blog posts!


Just to make the thing more funny, in Chen Xin's (in)famous book, there is a chapter called Chansijing 纏絲精, translated maybe as "the essentiels of..."
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Re: 抽絲 versus 纏絲

Postby Brinkman on Sun Nov 01, 2020 5:58 pm

Someone uploaded an article I wrote on “Drawing Silk”, which was originally printed in the Bagua Journal, back in the late 80s or early 90s.

At any rate, that article “Drawing Silk”, was based on a training protocol I had learned early on, in my Bagua training in Taiwan. That training was originally introduced to me as “Chousi JIn” “Drawing Silk Skill, but later I had learned that it should rather be considered as “Drawing Silk Gong”. I was instructed that Chousi Jin referred primarily to the develop of the physical skill and subtle anatomical mechanics of “reeling silk”, whereas in contrast, “Chousi Gong”, referred primarily to the aspect concerning mind, or rather “yi” development.

As I understand it, these training protocols are meant to exist at opposite ends of the “reeling silk” spectrum. In that sense, Chousigong refers to a process of “mind leads body” whereas Chansijin refers to a “body leads mind” process. In effect, the relationship between these practices may be considered on a continuum between the two. So, if you understand the difference, it is possible to practice these polar concepts from either end of the Drawing Silk Gong / Drawng Silk Jin spectrum.

As people here are probably already familiar with, to some extent, the training protocols of “Chousi jin”, I will briefly describe the Drawing Silk Gong.

Drawing Silk Qigong, begins with attention focused on the Laogung points in the center of both palms. There are a couple of different ways to activate this beginning facet which I won’t go into here, but in effect the practice involves adjusting the tension of one’s awareness “yi”, upon the left and right Laogung points simultaneously. This requires constant and continual adjustment between too much sensitivity and too little sensitivity. There is a big emphasis in discerning the difference between “sensitivity to” and “sensation of” the Laogung points.

The Laogung points themselves are generally considered conduits related to the respective left and right hemispheres of the brain. I would suggest that this practice is quite similar to viewing stereoscopic images wherein initially the focus of the eyes vacillate between two separate images and crossed images. Midway between however, the brain is able to decipher a 3 dimensional image. Ultimately, as one fluxes between the bi lateral sensitivity to the separate sensations of the left and right Laogung points, one will develop a strong sense of repulsion and expansion, opening and closing sensation between the palms.. As both sensitivity and sensation increase, a harmonious polarized movement, at first between the arms and hands and then through out the entire body will be produced. This practice is intended to unify the three internal and three external harmonies. It is also considered to remove blockages which impede normal nervous system innervation through out the body. This practice is not unique to only Chinese internal martial arts… and really requires a fuller explanation than what I have summarized here.
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Re: 抽絲 versus 纏絲

Postby wayne hansen on Mon Nov 02, 2020 10:07 pm

I have also learned this exercise but have never heard it called pulling silK
Pulling silk in yang style tai chi is more related to leading as I know it
I remember a long time CMC stylist who I taught the 58 step to said he had never seen so much twisting of silk in a CMC form
I find both skills a major part of training
The Tien Gan are a great place to see both
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