Other Auxiliary Training
To conclude this introduction to Auxiliary Training, we will go over some other miscellaneous types of training beyond the three we have discussed. Each of these supplements all of your other training, and in some cases, allows you to focus on specific areas that you may need to concentrate on, in order to advance your Taichi practice.
The Tzun Tiao is a small, very flexible thin stick around 29.75 inches in length. The flexibility of the Tzun Tiao allows you to work on feeling the vibration in your forms. It also helps to relax and loosen the body, while at the same time work on vibrating your energy. You can also use it in Two Person Practice to help to not only sense when your partner contacts you, but also to vibrate at the same time.
The Tzun Bai is a thicker, longer version of the Tzun Tiao. You can use it to do your sword practice in areas where it may not be appropriate to use a real sword, (public parks etc.), or for a travel practice sword. These can also be put into a small bundle like the Tzun Dzuan. This can be used for Martial Arts training to prepare the body for impact by the opponent, or to practice striking and sliding across the opponents body. The bundle can also be used to practice spiraling power, such as in Shoot Tiger with Bow.
This is a larger bundle of yet thicker sticks, eight feet high. The sticks are still very flexible, even though they are longer and thicker. The sticks need to have holes drilled through the top, so they can be loosely bound together to keep them in a bundle. Then they mush have a cover put over them, for instance a denim cloth bag, and the the bottom can be wrapped in foam held on by duct tape, and placed in a two foot, metal lined hole, to simulate the height of a practice partner.
You use the Tzun Dzuan to practice forms, vibrate your energy, and do strikes in a manner that you could not with a real person, lest you do them harm. You not only get to practice your forms, but also, to feel a response, as if from a very flexible, fast reacting partner. It is also a great tool for practicing Single Hand Push, as the looseness of the sticks and flexing of the bundle require a high degree of focus and connectedness on your part.
Gong practice is designed not only to help you feel vibration from the outside, but to learn to adjust the vibration of your own energy to match the vibration you feel. This is important in your energy development, as being able to adjust your energy frequency is important in applications such as Martial Arts, healing and Spiritual practice.
Tao Gong Meditation
Lastly, Tao Gong Meditation is a series of standing, seated and reclining meditation postures, that are focused on energy development, and the more Spiritual side of Taichi practice. This is generally a higher level of training done once you have completed the beginning and intermediate form practice. These focus strictly on energy flow and development and are a supplement to your moving meditation, which of course is the most important part of your practice.
These last few columns hopefully have given you an idea of the types of Auxiliary Training that there are, and an introduction to what each is, and the benefits that they offer. As with everything, make sure you find a qualified instructor, not only to help you purchase what you need, but to give you proper instruction in each of these practices. All of these are great aids to your Taichi development and practice.