Now that you know that Tai Chi Chuan movement from the waist can go side to side or front to back, you are probably wondering whether the third dimension enters the picture. Of course it does! Once you fully absorb the ideas of the rotating disk and the crashing wave, it is only a small leap to the Tai Chi Ball.
The Tai Chi Ball is a conceptual sphere in your lower dan tien, which is the
energy center just below your navel, inside the abdomen.
You should lead all movement in any direction from the
rotating ball in your dan tien.
Most movement is complex enough that movement in a single dimension is unlikely. In the
first blog on this subject I discussed it in a single dimension, but that was only as an
introduction to the subject.
Consider Lion Opens Mouth, which is featured in the medium frame (Michuan)
variant of Yang Style. If your right foot is leading, you "open the mouth" by rotating
the ball in your dan tien from the left hip to the right shoulder. The horizontal component
moves your right foot outward, rotating on the heel, while the side-to-side rotation leads
the right hand to open up toward the shoulder and the left hand to open down toward the hip.
The third dimension, the crashing
wave, is invoked by your reverse breathing, as you open up and create an empty middle.
In your early years of working with the Tai Chi ball in your lower dan tien, you will inevitably
do so by physically twisting your abdomen. That's not correct, but it is unavoidable as a
starting point. A skilled observer will be able to tell if you are moving from your dan tien
or not. Watch your teacher and fellow students. Who is using their dan tien, and who is not?
Does their use of the dan tien correspond to their ability to move in a unified fashion?
You bet it does. As you link your movements to the turning of the ball in your dan tien, you movements will approach unity.