Tuesday, September 22, 2009


A fellow student at pushing hands class asked me if pushing hands is the only way to learn how to apply taijiquan. I told him what I have written about before, that besides pushing hands, there is also the use of sparring routines and learning tecnique application. However, these methods train us to react to certain movements, ie. when the opponent moves in this way, I will counter using this move. This is "有招".

Pushing hands trains in the principles of taiji, the fundamentals of taiji as a fighting skill, which is to know force, redirect it, and use it back against your opponent. There are no fixed moves in pushing hands. Yet without fixed moves, by feeling your opponent's force and sticking to the principles of taiji, you are able to counter your opponent's moves. This is "无招".

So which is better? I think pushing hands will bring us to the higher level, because we will not be restricted by fixed movements. If we learn the applications of fixed movements, when our opponent moves in an unexpected way (which we have not trained to counter before), we will not be able to handle it. But if we train in pushing hands, even if the opponent moves in unexpected manners, we will be able to discern the direction of his force, redirect it and use it back against him. Thus, "无招胜有招".

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