Over the last decade, I have become increasingly drawn towards taking a scientific approach to martial training. At times this has meant discarding the traditional and mystical in favour of the systematic and logical.
Here is a set of generic Martial Rotation exercises, with combative principles explained and demonstrated. These will help students to develop a deep physical understanding of what is often termed reeling silk or spiral force within Chinese martial arts. Here we explore the concept in a purely mechanical way. The ten basic exercises are divided into two sets of five. Each set deals with five movements. In the first set the shapes are made while turning the palm up and then down. The second set follows the same sequence of shapes but while turning the palm down and then up. Differentiation is the key - pure Tai Chi martial science.
Each set consists of three linear techniques to explore constant rotation within the three planes - up and down, side to side, and front and back. The final two movements in each set are circular with the second one being a simple reversal of the first. After cultivating these building blocks of spinning, chopping, drilling, twisting and circling actions, you can go on to combine them to create more complex shapes such as combative spirals, helices and conic helices. Once footwork is added, the possibilities become virtually endless.
I first made a video of "reeling silk" exercises in 2001. I showed every exercise I had ever encountered, along with a few of my own devising, which I'd added in an attempt to deal with the subject in something approaching a systematic manner. There were over 40 drilling actions, punches, palm heel strikes, long and short range movements from Bagua, Taiji and Xingyi. Some of them obeyed the constant rotation principle and some of them didn't, exactly as I had been shown. Still, there was too much material to be really useful. I had added, but I had not taken away and crucially I had been prepared to change nothing, even when an exercise was clearly in breach of the principle it claimed to cultivate.
This new DVD is simpler, more generic, more consistent and more useful. It provides the nuts and bolts of my personal training system, and is central to my understanding of Taiji, Xingyi and Bagua. Furthermore, it is guaranteed 100% Qi-Free. I know that to some people this will sound a bit like I'm selling "100% cake-free cake", but try it and see.
p.s. Any tingling sensations in your fingers are purely incidental and will cease as soon as you stop focussing on them.
Joanna Zorya's "Martial Rotation - Twisting and Spiraling Skills" is an excellent training video. The teacher in me really appreciates this solid teaching tool. So many video productions today are what I call "Gucci" -- that is, full of action, fun, and way cool "stuff", but lacking even a whit of real instruction that helps the viewer learn to do the same things. Far too often what we see in so many martial art videos is what the presenter can do. That's fine as far as it goes, but more importantly, and what the serious student of the arts wants to know, is just how can he or she reach such an effective, "expert," if you will, skill level. "Martial Rotation" teaches movements and motions you will find helpful in whatever art you study.
For example, the back-n-forth rotation presented is something
many see but few understand. Each undulation simultaneously
does two things: It delivers the desired blow for sure, but at
the same time, it chambers the next blow. That's striking
efficiency. But, back-n-forth rotation is also critical to developing
powerful strikes. Synchronizing one's striking limbs with sound
body rotation (a type of directional harmony) means that the
blows are not just power projections arising from the limbs, but
are projections born by the body -- the core of one's physical
power potential. How many teachers, much less martial art
videos, teach that? "Martial Rotation" does. Watch it with
an eye to grasping essential underlying principles of movement,
and believe me, you will find real value in this DVD.
- Bob Orlando, Je Du-Too School of Martial Arts
"Brilliant as usual! I wanted to tell you that you have a fan base in my home. Both of my sons watch the dvd's with me and they think you are awesome. ... It is amazing to me the ability you have to take a very complex notion and break it down so everyone can understand."
- Jason Muwin Whitney, Taijiquan Instructor, Maine, USA
"Teacher Joanna Zorya once again has produced an instructional DVD with solid content and, most importantly, an open hearted exposition of essential actions. As in her other DVDs she aims to the heart of her subject. Zorya has shown the kind of moves on which instructors concentrate their greatest efforts. These spiral moves are not just "Martial Rotations" but key actions for all Chinese Wushu. In addition she demonstrates these actions while avoiding the two great errors which everyone, no matter how advanced, must cope with: cocking and leaking.
... Her work reminds us of the excellent actions of Chen Pan Ling. ... she shows such finely geared motions without loss of structure in transition: a task that even the best of teachers often fail. Then she takes these very important actions and shows plausible and logical applications with even an occasional surprise tactic. ... the work is hard, precise and demanding, but Zorya's intelligence and humor leaven the effort."
- Shihfu Mancuso, Plum Publications