Silk reeling in tai chi refers to a set of movement principles – the name derives from the twisting and spiraling movements of the silkworm larva as it wraps itself in it’s cocoon, and to to the principle of reeling the silk from a silk worm’s cocoon.
To draw out the silk the action must be smooth and consistent, without jerking or changing direction sharply. Too fast, the silk breaks, too slow, it sticks to itself and becomes tangled. Thus silk reeling movements are continuous, cyclic, spiraling movements, with the light touch of drawing silk. Silk reeling is developed in solo forms as well as in pushing hands.