Monday, May 14, 2012

Using Elbows and Shoulders

Pushing hands is different from learning how to apply taiji moves. Pushing hands is about learn how to sense your opponent's force, about how to neutralise it and use his force against him. That is why in pushing hands, we do not play rough, we do not use some of the more dangerous moves like using the elbow or shoulders to hit.

It is not that I don't know how to use my elbows or shoulders, it is just that I choose not to during pushing hands. If my opponent is really rough, I do use my elbows and shoulders when I have to in order not to get hurt myself. But it is not an option that I choose when I am practising pushing hands. Because that is not the purpose of pushing hands.

We need to remember that our pushing hands partners are here for us to learn how to sense force, how to neutralise force, how to use a person's force against him. Our partners are not for us to abuse, not for us to try out the moves in taiji. Learning how to apply the moves in taiji should be something separate, though it is a required part of training. Abuse your partners at your own risk; you may be the one ending up injured.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Inkling on Pushing

An inkling on how to push... once you sense your opponent resisting, relax, then imagine that the force is coming up from your front leg and traveling up to your hands as you move forward and push. The key is to relax once you feel him resisting... that draws out his force, so that you can use it. Then, when you link your arms to your legs, you can move as a whole to push him without using brute force.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Pushing Hands, Neutralising Hands

Sometimes you wonder why pushing hands (tui shou 推手) is called thus, since the aim of pushing hands is to learn how to sense and then neutralise your opponent's force. So why isn't it called neutralising hands (hua shou 化手)? By calling it pushing hands, people misunderstand it, thinking that the aim is to push; they end focusing on how to push people, instead of learning how to neutralise their opponent's force. The "push" in pushing hands is for your partner to learn how to neutralise it.

Then again, there is this concept as well, that neutralising is pushing (化就是推) and also that only when you can neutralise, can you really be able to push (能化才能推). Maybe this is why it is still called pushing hands, since at the end of the day, neutralising your opponent's force also means being able to push him. Yet we must not confuse this with just pushing; neutralising your opponent's force and being able to push him are both the means and the ends. Focusing only on one (usually pushing) is to lose seeing the forest for the tree.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Don't Grab (Again)

My teacher always likes to tell us that in pushing hands, we should not grab/grasp our opponent. Why? Because when we grab, we are using brute force. Taiji is about sticking to your opponent; if you can stick, you don't need to grab.

Some of my pushing hands partners like to grab. The other day, my forearms (especially around my wrist) were bruised and sore from them grabbing me. It reminded me again of what my teacher said: don't grab. Because everytime they grabbed me, I could feel the brute force, and I knew I could use it, but I didn't, because most of the time, they used a lot of force, so much so that it would have been dangerous to try to use such force against them. In the end, I thought that if they like to grab, I will let them grab. It is better for me to suffer a bit than for someone to get injured.

I grab too, but I grab my partner only when I don't want him to fall. When I push him and he loses balance, I will grab him so that he doesn't fall down. I would think that is an acceptable time to grab.