At my last Wujifa class, after stance, I was doing the closing circles (Chen, Xiao-wang style) as I had been doing for the past several years, rather mechanically. Then somehow I stumbled into really feeling the sensuousness of making circles; feeling the intentional moving of each arm-hand, pulling across, pushing down, pulling across, pushing up... I was told that this looked more like silk reeling than the mechanical moving I was doing just a moment earlier.
This comment piqued my curiosity. How could I apply this new found feeling that looked more like silk reeling to the actual silk reeling exercise I learned at Chen, Xiao-wang seminars years ago? What's the relation between the closing circles and silk reeling?
Here's the mechanics of how I'm working the feeling I discovered in stance into the silk reeling form:
Both hands positioned for the stance closing circles; right hand on top of left hand. Both hands moving across the upper abdomen Left to Right, then down the right side, then across the lower abdomen Right to Left, then up the left side, as I shift side-to-side.
Then I'll continue the left hand circling on the abdomen while the right hand slowly draws away from the body making larger and larger circles until I'm doing what looks like a hybrid of the Yang, Jwing-ming Tai-chi circle and the Chen Xiao-wang silk reeling form. I notice that this "method" helps me notice and maintain the connection and timing and feeling between the (right) "silk-reeling hand" with both the (left) hand circling on the abdomen and with the shifting side-to-side; see the kua exercise.
As I play with this hybrid Yang Jwing-ming Tai-chi circle and Chen, Xiao-wang silk reeling form, I'm noticing the CXW 1,2,3,4 positions don't exist as points or corners but rather as a single circle upon which points 1,2,3,4 may be identified but through which the arm-hand passes smoothly.
I was discussing my recent play and came away with the following:
In response to my concern that I may be bastardizing the forms or not understanding the distinct purpose of each, I heard that the pattern or form is not as important as the intention-feeling-connection you are working on.
If you look at the points, then you will get stuck. But if you look in the direction that the points are pointing to, then you discover even more.... now. (Recall the finger pointing at the moon.)
Again, what is your purpose? To collect data? To collect techniques? Or is your purpose to experience and understand the underlying feeling-intention of the art?