Saturday, July 04, 2009

Pushing Hands For Self-Defence

Is pushing hands a form of self-defence?

If you were to ask me, I would say that strictly speaking, pushing hands is not a form of self-defence. Rather, it is a way to practise taiji skills related to self-defence.

A real attacker is not going to touch hands with you before he continues his attack. So the basic movements (single-hand stationary pushing hands, double-hands stationary pushing hands, etc.) that we use in pushing hands will not be useful when we are really under attack. So if you think you are going to be able to defend yourself just by learning pushing hands, you may need to relook your options.

What pushing hands does is that it trains you in the basics of taiji, which is 掤履挤按採挒肘靠. It teaches you the importance of staying relaxed, and trains you to turn your kua properly to neutralise an opponent's force. You still need to couple this with your taiji routine training (which is a form of shadow boxing), during which you visualise how to apply each movement in your routine. Taiji routine practice allows you to know how to apply each movement; pushing hands training allows you to apply each movement correctly (the correct amount of force, the correct point to make contact, etc.)

So pushing hands alone is not self-defence. Practising taiji routines alone is not self-defence. Only when you put both of them together, can you make taiji a form of self-defence.

1 comment:

Daniel said...

I understand your point of view. I think it represents the correct attitude for people practicing pushing hands in the first several years of training. However, if practiced organically, push hands can evolve into a type of san shou or free fighting as the responses to incoming or stagnant force become immediate and decisive while the body remains relaxed. In order to do this, it is important to have very conscientious training partners, so that the practice doesn't turn into karate-style sparring.