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Chan Si “Silk Reeling” Tai Ji Quan & Xin Yi Liu He Quan

This is a lesser known style of Tai Ji Quan. It is an eclectic style in that it borrows moves from the five major styles of Tai Ji. It has its own unique characteristic in the way that it manifests spiral energy.

Chen Style Tai Ji Quan is famous for it’s silk reeling quality of movement. In Chen style the spiral quality is manifest on the surface. It is obvious to any observer watching a skilled Chen stylist doing their form. The body is twisted in spirals in every posture, and every movement has a spiral feeling in its execution.

Yang Style also uses spirals, but they are often manifest more in the energy field surrounding the player and not visible to the naked eye. In Dr. Wang’s third form (which comes from Wang Zhuang Hong) of Yang Style Tai Ji however, the spiral quality is manifest in the postures and movements as well as in the energy field.

Chan Si Tai Ji is different from the others in that its spiral quality is very deep, in the very center of the joints and in the axis around which the body moves in any particular posture. The spiral quality may not be apparent to anyone watching the movements of the Chan Si Tai Ji player, but they are a definite and necessary aspect of this style.

This deep nature of the spirals in Chan Si Tai Ji adheres to the idea that a small movement is better than a large movement, while not moving is better than a small movement. The circles and spirals become deeper and smaller as the player gets better, finally seeming as if there is no movement, yet the opponent is tossed around.

Qian Zhao Hong found this style Tai Ji to be very compatible with Xin Yi Liu He Quan. He found a great improvement in his own Xin Yi when he began to practice this style of Tai Ji, and that improvement gets passed on when his Xin Yi students begin to practice Chan Si Tai Ji as well. This was certainly true for me. Qian Zhao Hong taught me a 24 movement short form of the Silk Reeling Tai Ji which helped me understand Xin Yi on a much deeper level. Like my teacher, I incorporate it into the Xin Yi curriculum.