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8/10 A good training aid
By M Green / Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Jose Figueroa's series of DVDs on silk reeling are the best video training aid available to learn this skill, so far as I know. Silk reeling refers to a form of whole body movement that involves relaxation, heightened sensitivity to the body and to gravity, and a kind of kinetic spiraling that is akin to the movement of a cracking whip. This is a different kind of movement than what a lot of other martial arts do/use, and it is not easy to learn. Some would question whether it's possible to fully learn silk reeling from a video. I think the answer is, these are reasonably good instructional videos, and it's a way to begin learning something that's esoteric but worth knowing. It's not a substitute for training directly with a master in China, and a seriously interested student is going to want to do reading beyond the videos. But neither of those points detracts from the videos themselves. Responding to other criticisms: no, these DVDs are not focused on the idea of "chi" as a magical power that has nothing to do with physical technique. If that's what you're looking for, look elsewhere. Second, a question was raised about "fa jing," explosive power, and whether these DVDs cover it. The answer is that skilled silk reeling movement can both be used to absorb kinetic energy coming in, and also to project it explosively going out. The third DVD is an introduction to the latter. Is it everything there is to know on the subject? Nope. But is it a place to start for somebody who wants to learn and has no teacher? Yes, it is. I would recommend these DVDs, based on my own experience learning from them.

10/10 Jose Figueroa's Chen Style DVDs are exceptional
By Walt G. / Pittsburgh, United States

José Figueroa's Chen Style Tai Chi Progressive Silk Reeling DVDs are exceptional. Mr. Figueroa presents the very core aspects of Tai Chi which reveal how and why it is a true, powerful martial art and not just a method of gentle exercise as is so often depicted in the west. Indeed it does provide a great deal of gentle stretching and joint mobility but it also provides fantastic power from full body-mind engagement which will make you a more powerful and more efficient person via training your body and mind to function together. You do not need to be a martial artist to use these DVDs although you might become one with them!

Mr. Figueroa's warm up routine, meditation, and breathing instructions (Fa Jing and the Secrets of Explosive Power) are just about worth the price of admission alone.

The production quality is excellent. I have never seen any martial arts video with this level of visual quality. Also, every Tai Chi exercise is demonstrated fully with a front, back, and side view. This is extremely helpful.

Thanks to Mr. Figueroa and Dragondoor for finally bringing true Tai Chi to the west.

- Walt

3/10 Fa Jing
By Peter Seow / Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Chen Xiaowang's fajing uses only body mechanics not chi.

If one cannot use chi alone to fajing or develop chi in taichi then it's not taichi.

2/10 misleading
By Ted Adams / Albuquerque, USA

Fa jing is as you know discharging energy. Silk reeling is body coordination and is essential but on dvds it is normally listed as a tape on silk reeling not fajing. There was nothing on issuing energy on the DVD. Nothing about rooting and taking it to the ground.
I was very disappointed in the tape. You didn't talk about open and closing the kua. Sorry but true and find it less than helpful.

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