fiercest tiger
03-31-2001, 07:33 AM
YKM kung fu has 3 internal hand forms, the last form is called the lion rolling the ball form. has any of your kung fu systems have iron, wooden, concrete ball training? i understand taiji has ball training although i havent seen it, is the ball hollow? how big is the iron ball?

what is its purpose in your chi kung?



04-01-2001, 01:03 AM
Yes, Liang Zhen Pu Ba Gua Zhang has a Chi Kung exercise called the "Tea Cup" (So called because you can perform it with a full teacup in each hand to develop sensitivity, as you try not to spill the tea). It's basically like Chen Tai Chi's silk reeling.

We do it empty handed and also with tennis ball sized stone balls. These are basically Bao Ding balls. We might start with something very small and light, like a small hollow Bao Ding ball, then working our way up to a heavier ball (mine only wiegh about one and a half pounds each). Many Ba Gua people use Shot Put balls or Bowling balls for various exercises.

The idea common to all of these variations is to put stress on the body while maintaining superior sensitivity and relaxation. Don't know where you could see these exercises though, unless you know a reputable Ba Gua teacher... :D

"The essence of life is struggle and it's goal is domination. There are higher goals and deeper meanings, but they exist only within the minds of men. The reality of life is war."

Chang Style Novice
04-01-2001, 01:27 AM
My Shifu uses a kind of Iron Ball Qigong. It's basically a strengthening excercize for legs and midsection, as far as I can tell. The size
and weight of the ball varies according to the strength of the practitioner: he has several bowling balls in different weights to choose
from, and some shot puts, too. I think the heaviest is 16 lbs (about 7.25 kilos, for you metric types.) Most of the set involves holding
the ball in cupped hands while in a horse stance, and shifting the weight of it up and down, or back and forth, or in circles using
strength from your legs and dantien. There are also some feet-together parts of the set, some with feet in bow and arrow stance and
one part where you stand on one foot.

If you really want an indepth answer, describing all the motions in order, I might be able to do it, but it will be quite long and I'd have to
wait a couple of days. I'm just taking a break from homework right no

Everything is universal, by definition.

fiercest tiger
04-01-2001, 01:56 AM
yes, the balls that im talking about are the size of bowling balls too. we have wooden , concrete, iron, and then none just a chi ball.

i was told that it strengthens the waist, wrist, forearms, back, and of course the legs. does most internal styles use the ball for training sensivity? ;)



04-01-2001, 04:33 AM
I think only married guys use an iron ball when training Chi Kung. It is attached to them using a strong chain :)

Guns don't kill people, I kill people

04-01-2001, 10:33 PM
Yeah, we hold the ball in our open palm as we perform various movements. Because the ball is basically balanced in the center of the palm, we have to feel it's center of gravity, and maintain our attention on this point at all times. The slightest lack of focus will result in the ball rolling right out of your hand.

Various wieghts are used because the heavier the ball, the harder it is to maintain control. If you were to start out this exercise with a ball that's too heavy, you might gain some endurance (Sixteen pounds won't really increase your muscle size or strength very much), but you'll be far too tense. Also your internal alignments would be broken very easily at the beginning stage.

I guess the idea is to gradually increase the poundage, without loseing any sensitivity, softness, internal alignment etc. To be completely accurate, in the begining you want to develop sensitivity but in the advanced stage, you'd be working on strength.

Classic "internal to external" methodology, right? The internal boxer values the internal aspects of his/her art. We don't want to sacrifice these aspects even in the name of greater strength.

There are styles of Tai Chi Chuan, Yang and Chen being most prominent in my mind, that use the Iron Ball. My understanding is that they have the same philosophy concerning this exercise as Ba Gua, but Ba Gua emphasises this training more.

Do any Hsing I people use the Ball?

"The essence of life is struggle and it's goal is domination. There are higher goals and deeper meanings, but they exist only within the minds of men. The reality of life is war."

fiercest tiger
04-02-2001, 05:30 AM
thanks man! i didnt know hsing i has the ball, i dont know to much about that style. the ball training gives a good workout thats for sure, do you think its more daoist or buddhist. i understand that yin yang and circular motion is in the daoist arts but so does buddhist kung fu.

what do you think??




04-02-2001, 06:28 AM
Actually, I don't know if Hsing I uses the Iron Ball training. I'm really curious about that though. As far as your question is concerned, I don't think Iron Ball training is unique to either the Taoist or Buddhist martial arts. I'm willing to bet that niether of the RELIGIONS have any Iron Ball training though, unless Sexual Yoga counts! :D

Shaolin styles are known for thier intrest in building muscle through the use of wieghts of all shapes and sizes. Wouldn't surprise me if they used a Ball...

"The essence of life is struggle and it's goal is domination. There are higher goals and deeper meanings, but they exist only within the minds of men. The reality of life is war."

fiercest tiger
04-02-2001, 07:37 AM
when i say buddhist or taoist i was refering to shaolin and omei, wudang etc. maybe its from other sources, but still i think its a great tool for strenghtening and a chi cultivator. The concertration of the lou gong(sp)points and the chi transfer between the palms and the ball is a good mind exercise.

thanks for the post buddy. :)



04-05-2001, 12:58 PM
Hi Fierce Tiger,

Nice post! I had a chance to learn the Chen Taijiquan sphere about 4 years ago. My teacher's sphere was hollow and made of iron. It was about the size of a basketball and about 10 - 15 pounds. I couldn't find one anywhere so I borrowed my friend's basketball which he filled with sand. At first, it was strictly a muscular thing. Forget sensitivity, just trying to hold the darn thing up and move slowly at the same time was tough for me! (Yeah, I know, I'm a wimp). But eventually I noticed that my attention has moved from my extremities to my dantian area which seems to be the primary focus of this particular set of exercises. When I don't use the ball, the sensation of qi and blood flow are much more noticeable throughout my body. I've also found that my abdomen area has a slightly greater "springiness" to it than it did before. I look forward to seeing what happens after another 6 years or so.

A friend of mine practices Luhk Hop Baat Faat and his training also includes balls of various weights. He prefers to start his students out with light plastic balls like they sell in toy stores. Next, he'll move them to soccer or basketballs, then bowling balls, then no equipment. He feels that a person might use too much unnecessary physical strength if starting out with too heavy an object.

I really wanted to get a wooden sphere (actually also a set of stone and iron ones too), but I couldn't find any place that would make them where I live. Where did you get your training equipment? Were they custom made for you?

Thanks in advance!

fiercest tiger
04-06-2001, 01:11 AM
hi buddy long time no hear! hope all is well.. ;)

the balls i used where concrete, i made this out of cement by pouring it into a deflated basket ball.(let it sit for along time)

i used a shot put, bowling ball, small hard medicine ball. i cannot find the proper iron ball or a wooden ball like the one you mentioned. but can probably get it made if you check around.

i noticed DR yanh ming jwing uses the ball in his tai chi books, he has 2 person exercises ive never seen that, do you use it like that?




Josh _f
04-06-2001, 02:33 AM
Re: Ball training in Taiji

To the best of my knowledge the only lineage of Taiji which currently practices ball training is Chen Qingzhou's (CQZ's web page (http://www.nnrs.org/cqz.htm)). There is an interesting article
by CQZ here:
taiji sphere (http://www.nnrs.org/sphere.html) (http://www.nnrs.org/sphere.html)

The balls currently used by CQZ are large hollow steel spheres (about the size of the basketball) with small metal pieces on the inside to make a ringing sound. They weigh from 10-70 pounds. Unfortunately these balls are not currently exported from China and therefore substitutes need to be found if one wants to practice this form. Some suggestions are filling a basketball with rice, sand, metal filings etc, using a medicine ball, or my favorite using a bowling ball.

Although ball practice is probable fairly old, the current form was created by CQZ based on movements he had seen his father and other elders of the village performing when he was young. The form itself consists of 12 postures each stressing a different jing.
In my opinion although there is nothing that can be developed by ball training that can't be developed through spear training (which is what other Chen lineages use)there are some advantages to using the ball. For me the biggest advantage is that it's much easier for a beginner to bring the jing to the ball as opposed to bringing it to the tip of the spear. This is mostly because the sphere does not require coiling through the entire arm the way the spear does. Another advantage of the ball over the spear is that it's much better for developing leg strength.
For those interested in seeing this form, it can be found on the following video:
nejia.com (http://www.neijia.com/video_oth.html)

It should be noted that my teacher is Chen Qingzhou's student and if I were to consider myself a part of any lineage (which I don't)I'd be in CQZ's. If you have any further questions regarding this form I'll do my best to answer them.


Do not attempt to share your interest in martial arts with pedantic, narrow-minded scholars. As soon as they find out, they will quote from the classics and regale you with all kinds of irrelevant non-sense. This is infuriating. You can deal with this by either avoiding them or keeping your art secret.
--Ch'ang Nai-chou

04-07-2001, 01:23 PM
Hi Fierce Tiger and Josh,

Master Chen Qingzhou was the one I learned the sphere from. He was invited to teach in my locale by a friend who is one of his disciples. However, we do share a common link in that his teacher, Chen Zhaopei, was a close friend of my late Chen style grandmaster, Pan YongZhou. Master Pan learned Chen style in Beijing in the early 1930's so he was taught the older method of performing the Chen style before the Xin Jia was formulated. When I mentioned this to him, he said that he remembered my grandmaster who had apparently kept in contact with him over the years.

I haven't seen Yang Jwing-Ming's book and the form I learned is a solo routine so I can't comment on any two person forms. The article Josh mentioned was translated by my friend, Greg Bissell, who had published a journal specializing on Chen style. Several months prior to him publishing that article (it was issued quarterly), he printed some illustrations of another Taiji sphere routine which is said to be based on the Chenjiagou practice with an admixture of Wu Jianquan, Wu Yuxiang and Yang style Taijiquan. The book was published in 1988, so it would seem other Taiji styles may have already started to incorporate the sphere into their practices.

Thanks for the added clarification, Josh, and thanks for the tip on how you made your concrete sphere, Fierce Tiger!

Best wishes,
Eightgates :)

fiercest tiger
04-10-2001, 02:54 AM
its good to see that these traditional training is still around today.

thats what makes kung fu special!

i appreciate your commemts, thanks again. :)



03-19-2010, 03:21 AM
seems like i am shadowing a rare form of exercise here... LOL... all developed without a "teacher", save for myself.


03-22-2010, 04:56 PM
YKM kung fu has 3 internal hand forms, the last form is called the lion rolling the ball form. has any of your kung fu systems have iron, wooden, concrete ball training? i understand taiji has ball training although i havent seen it, is the ball hollow? how big is the iron ball?

what is its purpose in your chi kung?



Yes we have this training as part of the Ziranmen system.

Its called the Mother and Son Ball
Here two iron balls are used, one 8kg and the other 10kg for conditioning the hands. You should train twice a day, gradually increasing you power, qi and repetitions. Do not use hard force. Here the practitioner would assume horse stance and practice lifting, catching, pushing, pointing, and drilling the balls with their fingers. There are also different dynamic movements that can be used also instead of remaining in horse stance.

I have been using the 8kg (son) ball (its hard work) and have not moved onto the 10kg (mother) - you need to be careful and gentle as if you go in to hard to soon you can injure your hands, wrists and tendons easily.

03-23-2010, 04:35 PM
arent uki's balls 9 lbs?

03-24-2010, 03:52 AM
the iron or wooden sphere training is just another tool people used. i have heard of lots of interesting training devices. gotta get creative, and a ball or sphere can be pretty handy little tool.

the old school, known from boxing, medicine ball has been around for some years.

i have used a medicine ball in my xingyi practice. i have used it as a weight and used it to add physical endurance by coordinating footwork with swinging or throwing of the ball. there are a few other ways i used it as well. not sure if i heard about it being used by any famous xingyi guys from the past though. but, it doesnt mean that such tools were never used.