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Pushing hands or tuishou is a name for two-person training routines practiced in internal Chinese martial arts such as BaguazhangXingyiquan, T'ai chi ch'uan (Taijiquan), LiuhebafaCh'uan FaYiquan.

Overview Edit

Pushing hands by yatish

Pushing hands is said to be the gateway for students to experientially understand the martial aspects of the internal martial arts (內家 nèijiā): leverage, reflex, sensitivity, timing, coordination and positioning. Pushing hands works to undo a person's natural instinct to resist force with force, teaching the body to yield to force and redirect it. Health oriented t'ai chi schools may teach push hands to complement the physical conditioning available from performing solo form routines. Push hands allows students to learn how to respond to external stimuli using techniques from their forms practice. Among other things, training with a partner allows a student to develop ting jing (listening power), the sensitivity to feel the direction and strength of a partner's intention. In that sense pushing hands is a contract between students to train in the defensive and offensive movement principles of their martial art: learning to generate, coordinate and deliver power to another and also how to effectively neutralize incoming forces in a safe environment.

History Edit

Push Hands-close up

The practitioner on the right demonstrates how péng can be used to resist a push

Pushing hands is said by t'ai chi's Chen family to have been created by Chen Wangting (1600-1680), the founder of the Chen-style t'ai chi ch'uan, and was originally known as hitting hands (da shou) or crossing hands (ke shou). Chen was said to have devised pushing hands methods for both empty hands and when armed with a spear. Other Tai Chi schools attribute the invention of pushing hands to Zhang Sanfeng.

In recent history pushing hands has become a part of modern competitive Chinese martial arts, especially those devoted to internal arts. Within this context, pushing hands is not an exercise to develop skill but a competitive sport.

Training pushing hands Edit

In t'ai chi ch'uan, pushing hands is used to acquaint students with the principles of what are known as the "Eight Gates and Five Steps", eight different leverage applications in the arms accompanied by footwork in a range of motion, intended to allow students to defend themselves calmly and competently if attacked. Also known as the "13 original movements of tai chi ", a posture expressing each one of these aspects is found in all tai chi styles. Training and pushing hands competitions generally involve contact but no strikes.

Rooting - Stability of stance, a highly trained sense of balance in the face of force.

Yielding - The ability to flow with incoming force from any angle. The practitioner moves with the attacker's force fluidly without compromising their own balance.

Release of Power (Fa Jing) - The application of power to an opponent. Even while applying force in push hands one maintains the principles of Yielding and Rooting at all times.

Pushing hands is practiced so that students have an opportunity for "hands-on" experience of the theoretical implications of the solo forms. Traditional internal teachers say that just training solo forms isn't enough to learn a martial art; that without the pushing hands, reflex and sensitivity to another's movements and intent are lost. Each component is seen as equally necessary, yin and yang, for realizing the health, and applications. 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.

Asking and Anwsering Edit

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.

List of Pushing Hands technniques: Edit

  1. Stationary Peng, Lu, Ji, An
  2. Basic 8
  3. Moving Peng, Lu, Ji, An; Da Lu
  4. Straight step.
  5. Cross step
  6. Changes
  7. Da Lu
  8. Free-style Tai chi Push Hands with random changes.
  9. Chen Style Tai chi Push Hands • SINGLE HAND
  10. – Push In Horizontal Circle
  11. – Push In Vertical Circle
  12. – Wrist Spiralling & Rolling Hand Method
  13. – Lower Arm Sticking in Vertical Rotation
  14. – Upper Arm Sticking in Vertical Rotation
  15. – Outer Elbow Pressing & Rolling Hand
  16. – Inner Elbow Pressing & Rolling Hand
  17. – Grasping, Holding-up, Pulling, Rolling Hand
  18. – Shoulders Striking
  19. – Back Striking
  20. – Chest Striking
  21. – Hip Striking
  22. – Knee Striking
  23. – Four Doors Moving Step Grasping
  24. Applications of Tai chi tuishou.
  25. Free-style Tai chi Push Hands – Peng Lu Ji An and Dalu with random changes.
  26. Chen Style Tai chi Push Hands • TWO HANDS TECHNIQUES
  27. – Push In Vertical Circle
  28. – Four Basic Hand Method – Peng
  29. – Four Basic Hand Method – Lu
  30. – Four Basic Hand Method – Ji
  31. – Four Basic Hand Method – An
  32. – Fixed Step Four Basic Hand Method
  33. – Moving Step Four Basic Hand Method

The Song of Pushing Hands Edit

Be conscientious in Peng, Lu, Chi, and An.
Upper and lower coordinate,
and the opponent finds it difficult to penetrate.
Let the opponent attack with great force;
use four ounces to deflect a thousand pounds.
Attract to emptiness and discharge;
Zhan, Lian, Nian, Sui,
no resisting no leting go.


Applications Edit

Tai chi push hands04:56

Tai chi push hands

Pushing Hands in Chen-Style Taijiquan

What is Push Hands? Chen style taijiquan tui shou04:16

What is Push Hands? Chen style taijiquan tui shou

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