One of our training exercises in the Chee Kim Thong lineage uses a vat of rounded pebbles, which we push with our hands. This training is from Wuxingzhang.
We use rounded pebbles so that they don’t hurt our hands – the bags of decorative stones available from garden centres are adequate. As preparation, the pebbles are cooked in a herbal concoction over 49 days (in Kuala Lumpur this was the job of the late Lum Kwoon Hoong). The best container for the stones, when they are ready, will allow room to push them around, and hold them around waist height for someone in the horse-riding stance. A large wok on a stand is ideal.
The pebbles develop sensitivity and power. Here is the practice we have :
1. Run the palms over the top of the stones in outward circles
2. Do the same with the backs of the hands
3. Grab fistfuls of the pebbles and drop them back into the container, opening the fists at the last moment so that the palms slam the stones heavily
I know of some variations :
- A colleague told me that he was taught to delve the hands into the stones and perform actual techniques from Wuxingzhang
- Other colleagues perform this as a hard-style conditioning exercise, jabbing their fingers into the pebbles
I have never heard of this practice in other arts – if you have seen something similar elsewhere, do let me know.