Friday, November 15, 2013

Pushing Hands

Sticking Hands, Sensing Hands (Tui Shou), Push Hands    

I look forward to meeting and practicing Pushing Hands with a person in Red Bluff, California.  Let's meet up!  Contact me by email.  

"Push Hands is a relaxed, two-person sparring exercise that one may begin upon completion the Tai Chi Short Form. It may be considered as the bridge between the Form and fighting practice. Three specific techniques are emphasized: sticking--maintaining light contact with an opponent; listening--sensing the magnitude and direction of an opponent's force; andyielding--responding to an opponent's force partially by giving way, and partially by controlling or guiding its direction. The ultimate goal of the training is to reduce the amount of force needed to neutralize attacks, so that one may defeat speed and strength with skill."
- Chu Tai Chi, New York

"Pushing hands trains these technical principles in ever increasing complexity of patterns. At first students work basic patterns, then patterns with moving steps coordinated in different directions, patterns at differing heights (high, middle, low and combinations) and then finally different styles of "freestyle" push hands, which lead into sparring that combines closing and distancing strategies with long, medium and short range techniques. These exchanges are characterized as "question and answer" sessions between training partners; the person pushing is asking a question, the person receiving the push answers with their response. The answers should be "soft," without resistance or stiffness. The students hope to learn to not fight back when pushed nor retreat before anticipated force, but rather to allow the strength and direction of the push to determine their answer. The intent thereby is for the students to condition themselves and their reflexes to the point that they can meet an incoming force in softness, move with it until they determine its intent and then allow it to exhaust itself or redirect it into a harmless direction. The degree to which students maintain their balance while observing these requirements determines the appropriateness of their "answers." The expression used in some Tai Chi schools to describe this is "Give up oneself to follow another." The eventual goal for self-defense purposes is to achieve meeting the force, determining its direction and effectively redirecting it in as short a time as possible, with examples provided of seemingly instantaneous redirections at the highest levels of kung fu by traditional teachers. Pushing hands also teaches students safety habits in regard to their own vital areas, especially acupressure points, as well as introducing them to the principles of chin na and some aspects of the manipulative therapy or tui na also taught in traditional Tai Chi Chuan schools. At a certain point, pushing hands begins to take on aspects of qigong (chi kung), as the students learn to coordinate their movements in attack and defense with their breathing."
Pushing Hands in Wikipedia

Push Hands Exercises and Play in Tai Chi Chuan

T'ai Chi Ch'uan (Taijiquan) - Cloud Hands Website

"Because it's interactive, push hands may be the highest expression of tai chi chuan.  Every lesson it teaches applies equally to the martial arts and life. The two main things you have to deal with in life are interaction and change - the things that produce the most stress and trauma. When you deal with these successfully, you feel like you're on cloud nine. Likewise, when you practice push hands successfully, you feel exhilarated."
-  Chris Luth, On Push Hands

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