When we practise Chen Style Taijiquan, we must know that the movements should spiral. We call this spiralling Chan Si纏絲. “Chan纏” means “Spiralling” and “Si 絲“means “Silk”. Some people call it “Silk Reeling”, but actually it is more subtle than this as it has many different directions and ways of circling.
All Taijiquan movements must be circling and this is especially true for Chen Taijiquan. The circles can be small, big, fast, slow, gentle and strong. When we turn from the waist, this is called Chan Si, when we use power whether it is releasing or holding this is called Jing勁. So we call this Chan Si Jing纏絲勁.
All the movements must come from the Dantian, which also means the waist. Since the waist is moving this affects the hips, knees, ankles and feet, and so the Chan Si spirals down to the legs. If we move our hands, again the movements come from our Dantian, but then moves to the body, shoulder, elbow, wrists and finally to the hands. All our movements in must follow this principle. When you are used to the Chan Si movement, your body will change and you will be more flexible and relaxed. In the end, nothing can affect your centre of gravity, and at the same time you can spiral through your opponent’s centre of gravity.