Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Monday, September 30, 2019

Taijiquan Free Style Push Hands

Below is an excerpt from a post that appeared at Thoughts on Tai Chi on five elements to excelling at free push hands practice. The full post may be read here.

These five points on how to master tai chi free push hands is nothing I myself have seen written down in any book or in any article. The real Masters should know them very well, but sometimes it’s not something they will describe or teach. Often, you need to discover the tactics and strategy by yourself, by understanding what your teacher does when he practice with you or demonstrates his skills. Some people will get it, some people won’t. Anyway, if you understand these five points, you will have a great advantage against any opponent, and not only in push hands. Here are also valuable things to learn for sparring and combat.

But first, remember the basics and fundaments of any tai chi, what always should be remembered at all the time: Be relaxed and always relax more. Never tense your breath and focus all your strength and movements from the dantian. Rely on tingjin, let your touch decide what to do. Always keep the integrity of your tai chi shenfa: i.e. never at any cost compromise your balance and structure. All of these points here and the five important points below, are meant to be turned into practical practice.

Thinking will be of no use. You need to do it practically.

1. Always do two things at the same time.

Whenever you do something in free push hands, whatever it might be, don’t think one dimensional, or that “two” comes after “one”. Instead, blend your movements together, always do two or three things at the same time. When you defend, attack at the same time. If one part of your opponent’s body moves forward, another part will go backwards. This means that at the same time you defend, as evading from an incoming push, you should follow and fill in the gaps. When you fill in the gaps, never let your opponent escape. Keep on following and fill in. In stationary push hands, if he continue to move, he will fall by himself. In moving push hands, you can add a third aspect as by slipping your foot behind his, or trap his body in a compromised structure, to make him fall.

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