Taichi Ball Practice
Fundamental to all of your Taichi training is Taichi Ball practice. If you look at every form, you are constantly working with one or two Taichi Balls in terms of your hands, so the ability to first, generate a good substantial Taichi Ball and second, be able to split it and put it back together is essential to your development.
First you want to be able to generate a Taichi Ball. Start with the hands over the Dan Tian and bring out a Taichi Ball, palms facing each other. Start with a medium size Taichi Ball, roughly the distance from the Middle to Lower Dan Tian in size. You don’t want to start too large or too small in the beginning. The palms should face each other as if holding a ball in front of you. Make sure the center of the palms line up, so that one hand is not higher than the other. Meditate on the Taichi Ball and try to feel it. You must be patient, as it may take a while before you feel anything. Over time the ball will get more substantial until you have a strong feeling of holding an energy ball there.
The next step is to do a lot of your Right and Left Side Holding Taichi Ball form. Again, make sure you start with a medium size ball, and that the centers of the palms line up. Once you have generated a ball, you have to be able to move with it, and still maintain the same intensity of feeling that you had while just holding the Taichi Ball. Remember that Taichi is moving meditation, so if you can’t move and maintain a good Taichi Ball, you still are not doing Taichi. Stay focused as you do this and remember what we went over in the article on transitions previously. Make sure you can do this consistently before moving on.
When you can move the Taichi Ball in a still stance, practice your moving Taichi Ball practice. When doing your forms, you will be stepping, so this is the next logical step in your practice. Moving the Ball in still stance is preparatory work for moving forward with the Taichi Ball. Stay relaxed and focused so that you don’t lose the Taichi Ball, especially as you transition from one side to the other. This will take a lot of dedicated practice on your part to do this and still keep the same level of intensity throughout the practice.
From here, you want to move on to Twisting Taichi Ball practice. Start in still stance as you did before and keep the same points in mind, medium size ball, palms lined up. As you compress the ball, feel the intensity go up, until you feel that you can’t compress the ball anymore and then, twist it to split it into two. Make sure that you feel two distinct balls, and that you do not "drop" either one of them. Then, as you come back to the other side, put them back together. As you go from side to side, the energy in the ball should intensify. When you can do this consistently, then do it moving as you did with Right and Left Side Holding Taichi Ball. The object here is to be able to split the Taichi Ball and put it back together, the ball building in intensity with each repetition.
There are a lot more details to this practice, as well as other types of practice to do, but these should get you started. Remember to be patient, sincere, and dedicated in your practice, and over time you will be successful. This practice is very fundamental to all of your form practice, so make sure that you not only do a lot of this, but that you do it well. If you do, you will see improvement in all phases of your practice.