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2012 Retreat at SIBA
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As Calligraphy
China Trip Highlights 13
Qigong : Living Well
Health - Calm Mind
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Silk Reeling Exercises
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Testimonials - Silk Reeling Chan Si Gong Exercises for True Freedom of Movement

Silk Reeling Chan Si Gong Exercises
These exercises are great for loosening up the joints, enabling you to enjoy freedom of movement.  Ultimately, they will also help to develop spiralling energy within the body.  These silk reeling movements benefit the joints, sinews and muscles and improve circulation.  The circular movements strengthen the connective tissues and increase the secretion of synovial fluid which lubricates the joints, keeping them supple.   People who have been practising these exercises have reported better coordination and an opening up of shoulders, back and waist.

"The Chan Si Gong exercises are of great benefit for developing flexibility and strength.  The exercises enable the body to be trained and if regularly performed over a period of time, give maximum benefit.  I have been attending classes for the past two years, twice per week.

I have had two major operations on my back which had resulted in substantial residual side effects.  However, the Chan Si Gong exercises and regular attendance at classes enable me to derive enormous benefits for the time devoted to it.  I do approximately fifteen minutes of the Chan Si Gong exercises each day as well as additional practice of the Tai Chi form.

The benefits accumulated over time have enabled me to live my life without having to rely on pain killers and I have been able to resume bike riding as well.  I have flexibility and freedom of movement that would not have been possible without participation in the classes and practice sessions.  We are very fortunate to have Brett and Fontane as our teachers and I highly recommend Tai Chi to you."

Michael, Public Servant


"The Hun Yuan Silk Reeling exercise course was an excellent way of consolidating my practice of this wonderful movement set.  These exercises gave me a deeper insight into the origin of the forces from the Dan Tian, the foundation strength from the legs and the subtle spiralling of the body and arms.  All of these factors combine to make my practice of Tai Chi more effective, relaxed and enjoyable.

The Silk Reeling movements improve joint mobility, muscle strength and joint conditioning.  I believe that the exercises also improve your ability to practise the Hun Yuan form and to engage in day-to-day living with more ease and efficiency.  An excellent wholistic set of exercises to practise every day to optimise your health, both mind and body."

David, Physiotherapist


"Tai Chi has been an integral part of my life for nearly 20 years.  My first lessons began here in Canberra with Brett.  I have moved around Australia and overseas, learning many forms of Tai Chi and Qigong, but I always love to return to Canberra to enjoy the expertise and professionalism Brett, Fontane, Lis and other instructors provide in their classes.

The Silk Reeling Chan Si Gong course I recently completed with Fontane was a totally liberating experience.  Over the past five years, arthritis has crept into my joints causing stiffness and loss of flexibility.  I was still very much enjoying Tai Chi, though convinced that the natural ageing process had reduced my capability.  Only two weeks into the Silk Reeling course, I was encouraged by the changes beginning to happen.  Sure stiffness occurred, as Fontane had warned us, but this time it was muscular, and looseness in the joints was already becoming apparent.  In particular, the shoulder, neck and upper back began to open up and at last I felt what it meant to ‘engage the back’.  Now I am enjoying improved freedom of movement and flexibility in the waist, spine and upper body, complemented with greater strength in the legs and hips.  Understanding the importance of separating waist and hip movements and using the waist to direct each movement is one thing, feeling it gives a whole new dimension to practice.

This course is fundamental to the success and enjoyment of the Tai Chi form.  Openness and free movement in the joints result in a greater flow of intrinsic energy ‘qi’ with increased blood circulation.  I highly recommend Silk Reeling Chan Si Gong, for achieving higher levels of Tai Chi practice and fitness, resulting in better health and well-being."


"I thoroughly enjoyed my new experience at the Tai Chi Academy when I attended the Silk Reeling Chan Si Gong course.  I have always tried to keep fit by attending the gym three to four times a week.  Recently though, I was finding the exercise at the gym was not assisting my flexibility and was in fact causing me some pain in my joints, particularly in my hands, shoulders and elbows.  I was looking for some sort of exercise that would assist me with my flexibility and general health.  I found the gentle Silk Reeling exercises caused me no pain and in fact the increased flexibility has improved my golf game!  I also find I am more capable of relaxing.

This term I have enrolled in the beginners Hun Yuan Tai Chi course."

Mark, Public Servant

"During this past year, I had the opportunity to practise the Silk Reeling Chan Si Gong.  I found myself feeling very relaxed after a session of these continuous and flowing movements.  I definitely felt that there was a 'loosening' of the various joints, leading to more flexibility and ease of movement.  My upper body, especially the upper back and shoulder/neck area, felt benefit from the practice of these eighteen Silk Reeling Exercises."

Lyn, Housewife and Mother

"I really enjoyed the Silk Reeling Chan Si Gong course I took in January.  Since then I have regularly practised some of exercises and felt it has made a huge difference in my flexibility.  I often use some of the exercises when I need to take a break from long hours in front of the computer.  The Chan Si Gong has also helped me gain a better understanding of relaxation, especially helpful when practising the Hun Yuan Qigong."

Rob, Public Servant

"I did the Silk Reeling Chan Si Gong intensive course in January this year and enjoyed it very much.  I very quickly felt the physical benefits of more relaxed and flexible joints.  I also found that I was generally more relaxed in myself and at the same time had more energy."

Frances, Trainer

"Before attending the January Intensive Course, I was really having trouble getting my head around what Silk Reeling Chan Si Gong could be about.  I had images of cotton reels, of the different styles of dancing reels that I had seen; I suspect I was searching for an image of roundness.

It all fell into place, however, when I saw the performance of an artist, billed as 'The Silken Singer', on a TV program, Cirque du Soleil.  The female artist moved effortlessly up and down two long narrow silken panels suspended from the ceiling, twirling the panels around her legs, her arms and her frame in an effortless and continuous motion.  I was struck by the total smoothness of movement; I also enjoyed her singing!

I had found myself an image.

The eighteen movements I learned during the January Intensive Course have been central to my enjoyment of learning the Hun Yuan Tai Chi form.  My balance has improved (important for all of us as we add on the years), my joints are moving more easily and smoothly and, probably the best and most important aspect of all, I am experiencing an increasing loosening of my waist.  I mention the waist because I have struggled with 'getting it right''getting it to drive the action' – since taking up Tai Chi.  I am not claiming to be there yet, but I am moving along the track.

The other very noticeable change has been in my shoulder joints.  I thought that after years of those swinging arm and waist turning warm-up exercises, I had achieved a respectable level of freedom in those joints.  Within a few weeks of incorporating the Silk Reeling exercises, I found a whole newness to the meaning of freedom.  It was quite a revelation to find the degree of improvement I had yet to discover.

I continue to pluck out different sets of the eighteen to practise and so I give a focus to loosening and oiling different parts of the creaking frame.

I am convinced that in learning and practising Silk Reeling, I am contributing further to the good health I am so lucky to enjoy.

Bryan, “Life Enthusiast”

"I have been doing the Silk Reeling exercises for four months now, after a summer course with Fontane of the Tai Chi Academy.  There are several benefits that I am starting to become aware of.  I feel that my execution and coordination of the movements when doing the Hun Yuan Tai Chi form is less clumsy.  Also, the exercises make you focus on all the joints in your body and I am surprised how much more flexible these have become, especially the waist and knees.  The exercises also include some effective leg strengthening movements.  Silk reeling movements emphasise the energy movement coming from the earth through your legs, waist and moving into your shoulders, elbows and hands.  Learning to relax your shoulders more and to move your arms without force is a great sensation.  Your awareness of your Dan Tian also becomes more acute.  These sensations and movements can be directly transported to the Hun Yuan form.

The Silk Reeling exercises provide a good whole body work-out, strengthening joints and muscles, and move your qi around your body.  At the end, you feel relaxed and a satisfying internal glow.  Chan Si Gong is a powerful and fun addition to my Tai Chi routines."

Nick, Retiree

“I have found the Chan Si Gong exercises to be literally unwinding.  Almost immediately after learning them in class, I noticed 'problem' muscles around my shoulder blades and upper arms twitching in bed at night.  For me, these exercises have been a gentle way to engage every muscle in one activity, refreshing the stagnant and forgotten ones.”

Rhett, Office Worker

"Hun Yuan Chan Si Gong or Silk Reeling is a set of exercises for strengthening the joints.  It is very enjoyable, relaxing and graceful.  Once I start doing it, I do not like to stop.  It is like an addiction, a healthy one though.

From the exercise of Spiralling and Weaving Arms, Shoulder and Elbow Rotation, Double Punch, Open and Close, I have learnt to drop and relax my shoulders and coordinate my shoulder, arm, wrist and waist movements as well.  This exercise, together with Neck Rotation, is particularly good for me after long hours of pounding away on the computer keyboard, sitting upright and straining my neck and back.

I also find the Circling and Spiralling Waist exercise rewarding.  It has enabled me to coordinate my movements and keep my balance.  I also feel a gentle massage in the abdomen area when I do this exercise and this, I believe, helps to reduce my blood glucose reading.

My legs have gained more strength and flexibility from the leg exercise such as Knee and Ankle Rotation, Slide and Step, Stomping, Parting the Clouds and Scooping the Earth, the Eagle Spreads its Wings and Lohan Offers Fruit.

This set of Chan Si Gong exercises is excellent for people of all ages, whatever shape and size, and I would strongly recommend everyone to try it.

Nancy, Writer, Freelance Editor and Photographer

"While doing the Hun Yuan Tai Chi form, I felt myself using a lot of hip movement instead of waist.  The circular movements of Chan Si Gong helped me to understand my body as one unit, loosened my joints, and I use my waist not hips."

George, Retired

"We joined Tai Chi for its great health benefits in reducing tension and stress.  The Chan Si Gong is a great way of loosening tension and strengthening the joints and muscles, particularly the upper back and neck.  We love the free flowing and serene movements and the additional benefit of disciplining oneself to focus one's mind."

Tricia, Policy Officer and George, Bricklayer

"A lifetime as a 'weekend warrior' has left me with a few old injuries.  At first I found some Silk Reeling exercises a bit painful, but with practice I have found that the exercises that I have selected have given me a 'smoother' action through the range of the movement of my muscles and joints."


"When doing the Chan Si Gong exercises, I immediately feel a lowering in my centre of gravity.  This gives the moves great stability and allows the mind and body to become relaxed.  The exercises are a smooth transition between legs, waist, and torso through to shoulders, elbows and wrist.  Sometimes when it all comes together, I can really feel the changing sensations, particularly in my hands and forearms.  I often try to relate what I am doing in the Tai Chi form back to the Chan Si Gong because of the similar foundations to many of the movements.  I find this considerably improves my understanding of Tai Chi."

Paolo, Public Servant

"The January intensive course introducing the Tai Chi Silk Reeling Exercises (Chan Si Gong) was excellent.  We had done some of the sets in this form in class, but having the continuity and completion of the intensive course is much better.  The exercises can increase the potential for free movement of energy through the body and the joints.  In ordinary people like us, these are full of blockages and so the exercises are not so easy – more silk tangling than silk reeling – but you get good results from doing them if you work on it.  Continuing on from the intensive course is up to each of us and now that the DVD is available, it will also help.  But nothing can replace the courses and classes and guidance from a teacher – the best thing they can provide is the experience of the effects of the exercises and the opening of the joints to the flow of energy.  Experiencing (even in a small way) what the exercises are exercising is the real lesson and the intensive courses provide us this opportunity.  I will do it again in the future."

David, Scientist

"The January courses are great as they offer an intensive experience which leads to a more in depth understanding of the weekly lessons.  The Silk Reeling Chan Si Gong intensive course helped me understand something of spiralling energy and, with this awareness, more freedom of movement became possible for me.  With these incremental changes, over time amazing things are possible for me, including the reversal of the painful effects of tension and patterns of holding tension.  I am very excited about that prospect in the longer term and encouraged towards that by my progress so far."

Lynda, Public Servant

"During last term, I attended the Silk Reeling Chan Si Gong course.  I do tend to try anything Fontane offers.  This course was the most satisfying of all.

I felt as if it was meant for me, being an older student.  Within a very short time, I felt my shoulders free up and even felt them move!!  Most of the movements were easy to do and not at all boring.  I have trouble with my mind going elsewhere, but at these classes, not so.  Couldn’t get to one class on my normal night so travelled to the other side of Canberra to make sure I didn’t miss out.

Thank you Fontane, and I will certainly enrol for the next one."


"The Silk Reeling exercises have given me a better understanding of how to use and move the body in order to achieve greater flexibility and fluidity.  As a result, I now enjoy even greater benefits from my Tai Chi practice."

Leigh, Dressmaker  

"The main point that I gained from the Silk Reeling Chan Si Gong course is the full use of joint revolution capacity.  This is especially the case during the exercises, where it is possible to fully concentrate on doing so.  In the form practice itself, an individual practitioner may not always employ full use, but because the exercises have been done conscientiously, the form will exhibit as free flowing and effortless.

And finally it was obvious that the three Ps were vital: Practice, Practice and Practice!

My physiotherapist recommended Tai Chi to help manage my osteoarthritis.  I am very grateful, for it is doing just that.  The Silk Reeling exercises directly address the osteoarthritis issue: joint movement restriction."

Mary, Programmer

"I am a life-long arthritis sufferer, and as a truck driver, I found it difficult to maintain a sensible work-exercise balance.  I was on quite heavy medication for pain relief and inflammation control for many years.  At the suggestion of my rheumatologist and physiotherapist, I started Tai Chi.  After a few semesters, I found I no longer needed medication.  I had much greater mobility and a lot less pain.  In particular, the Silk Reeling exercises were of great benefit.  Once I got the hang of them, I found they took up no space at all in my suitcase!  I intend to re-enrol for another session.  I've still got arthritis, of course, but it no longer plays the huge role that it used to."

Rodger, Truck Driver

"I really enjoyed this course, and could feel the improvement in my form (once I was doing the movement correctly!).  It is also fun and enjoyable and I would recommend it to any student."

Jenny, Public Servant


 Interview – Silk Reeling Training Saved the Day

 Easy-to-follow Tai Chi DVDs