by Su Weixue, Feb. 2006
‘Holding Jar’ is an old secret practice for Taichi training to let student feel and then grasp how to distinguish the substantial and in-substantial quicker.
Grand Master Yang Chenfu said in his 10 essentials: The first most important principle in TaiChi is to practice with Yin and Yang in mind.
Holding Jar gives anyone the simplest yet quickest way to gain the understanding of this principle:
Relaxed standing for 1 or 2 min, then two hands like holding a ball, palms face to each other. Loose the shoulder, elbow, wrist, and fingers. The ball is at about chest high and it is away from chest about 1 feet.
Step left leg or right leg forward about 1 feet, the back feet toes toward to 45 degree to the front and side, two foot shall not be on the same line, from back look at the two foot, it should have about 1 fist distance in between. The weight is completely on the back feet.
Now, one looks like holding a ball and sitting on the back leg. “Slowly move the weight from back to front, and then move to back, repeat this movement”
Slowly – It is very important do this slowly, once you do it fast, you may not feel what you should feel.
1. Two foot are like a scale – Move the weight from one leg to the other is to transition your weight gradually from one to the other, one feet release the weight then the other feet shall gain the weight, the feeling is that the two foot compensating from one to the other, if one feet feels it is releasing 10 percent of weight, then the other feet shall be trained to feel that 10 percent weight again.
2. No standing and sit! – Most common problem is to stand up and bend the knee or stand up and sit down. Use the tail bone to measure this, your tail bone shall be on the same level all the time during the practice.
3. Internal organ also has substantial and insubstantial, and sense this with your move.
4. Borrow the force from substantial leg – once the substantial one takes the control, it starts slowly pushing the ground so the weight start shifting to the insubstantial leg. Make sure you carefully sense the force bounced back from ground.
5. Transmit the force from ground to the waist then to the center of the back then to the shoulder, then to the elbow, then to the palm.
6. Switch the leg when your one side is getting tired. Repeat this left and right.
This shall be practiced for any new students for at least 10 min a day, for advanced students, make the step bigger to increase the strength of the leg.
Breathing: Nature, for advanced practitioner it shall be discussed separately.
Reference: Taichi Secret Practice – ‘Holding Jar’ taichitoday.com