A Discussion On Push Hands

Ten years ago, the Chinese government began to sponsor Push hands competition as a form of sports to promote Tai Chi Chuan. During this period, the popularity of the art increased but the quality remained the same because few participants were able to demonstrate Tai Chi Chuan techniques.

Many people do not understand what is significant in Push Hand exercises. Especially with government support, this lead many people to believe that Push Hands exercises is a matter of competition. People who supported Push Hand exercise as competition sport often train for it and forget the original intention of the exercise. Therefore, during training, these people often injure each other and develop unnecessary friction among themselves. As for those people who practice Tai Chi Chuan for health, they see Push Hand exercises as a risk and are afraid to learn it. They believe that Push Hand can cause physical injury and the Solo Form is the only way to keep fit and improve health.

The basis of Push Hand exercises is the Solo Form. Push Hand exercises is the next step from the Solo Form. The two are inter-related. One should apply the experiences in Push Hand exercises to the Solo Form and vice versa so that one's Tai Chi Chuan will improve. When we practice only the Solo Form, not the Push Hand exercises, the chi which gathers in the practice of the Solo Form, will not clear inside the body. If someone practices only Push Hand exercises and not the Solo Form, the chi will not significantly increase. The skill in Push Hand exercises will not reach a high level.

In Yang Style, the emphasis of the Push Hand exercises is on the techniques of sticking, adhering, following and connecting, giving up oneself and following the opponent, borrowing power from the opponent. In this exercise, we intend to direct the chi so that it can develop ward off power. When we practice Push Hand exercises, we can send the chi inside the opponent's body, thus clearing the channels.

My father, Gin Soon Chu, said that when he practiced Push Hand exercises with Grandmaster Yeung Sau Chung, a slight touch by the first son of Yang Cheng Fu made it difficult for my father to breathe. If one just practiced the Solo Form and not the Push Hand exercises, one will not develop this kind of power and skills. Therefore, one much practices both exercises.

One objective of Push Hand exercises is to teach and correct the practitioner's understanding of Tai Chi Chuan theories. Another is to correct the movements in the Solo Form and Free Fighting. Therefore, many Push Hand exercises were developed over the years. Push Hand exercises is the bridge between Solo Form and Free Fighting. Although it is competitive, it is not a competitive exercise.

To practice Push Hand exercises, one much understands the meaning behind each exercise and the number of these exercises. One should not mix Tai Chi Chuan techniques with others hard style techniques. Otherwise, one is no longer practicing Push Hand exercises.

The Solo Form is the basis of Push Hand exercises. Each movement in the Solo Form is a health exercise and a combative technique as well. When we practice the solo form, it is but a method to understand ourselves. The Solo Form is an exercise without an opponent. Each movement is based on the concept of the 6 harmonies: hip and shoulders, elbows and knees, feet and hands. But to determine if the movements are correct, you have to practice Push Hand exercises. Therefore, Push Hand exercises is a short cut to determine the correctness of the Solo Form.

Doing Push Hand exercises, one will better understand the concepts of relaxation, lightness, roundness and agility. A better understanding of these concepts will lead one to perform the Tai Chi Chuan Solo Form better and get more health benefits. Therefore, one should not mistakenly believe that Push Hand exercises is only for martial art combat as a bridge between Solo Form and Free Fighting. It is also an exercise for chi circulation by clear the chi traveling among channels inside the body.

The major objective of Push Hand exercises is to practice the understanding of Power and Balance. The great Yang Cheng Fu said that when two students with equal skill practice, they must seek out the weakness of the opponent and apply power so they can mutually grow in skills.

Push Hand exercises is an exercise to understand your opponent as well as yourself. When two hands are joined together, one should learn how to interact with another person. It is developing one's skill in relation to the classics. If one understands the classic, the confrontation is an easy task.

The basic requirement in Push Hand exercises is that the practitioner must have a soft, relaxed and nimble body so that he can listen and react to the opponent's power. From this listening, one is able to understand where the power is heading, where it is coming, so that one can anticipate and react to it. When you know this, you know where your opponent's weakness is and you will have no problem controlling him.

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