Tui Shou - Push Hands

Complete home study course Greetings, Welcome to the special on-line Tui Shou or Push Hands course produced by Michael Gilman. This will be one of the most comprehensive Push Hands courses yet taught. My plan is to take you through the entire Yang style Push Hands curriculum with no thought to time or space. We will start with warm ups, basic principles, basic stances, and basic ideas about what we will attempt to accomplish. The next step will be to explore what is known as two hands practice, where both participants use one arm. The two broad categories are fixed or active stepping. In each of these there are subcategories like direction (horizontal and vertical), energies (peng, lu, ghee, and an for instance), and ideas of what we want to accomplish with each part of each movement. We will start with fixed step and then look at moving steps. We will then study four hands (each participant use both arms). We will start with the traditional Yang family style fixed practice,then study the other popular style that tends to be more fluid and allow more ease in moving and changing. After fixed we will add moving steps. Following four hands we will look at Da Lu and figure out how the corners and supporting energies add to our enjoyment and proficiency. The last section will focus on free style and tournament play. This is where we let go of thinking about the basics and just let our bodies take over. I will add tips I have gleaned from being a Grand Champion competitor and tournament judge, referee, and promoter. As with all my other online classes, there are companion videos available to enhance your learning experience. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments. I look forward to working on this with you. Push Hands is a feeling art. It is difficult to write about the skills of joining, sticking, leading, etc., if you have never experienced them before or pushed with an experienced player. If you can have a training partner near to practice with it, will certainly make all the information real and much easier to understand. So let¶s get started. Also, if you are an instructor or a member of a school that plays Push Hands, you might be interested in my article entitled "Push Hands for Fun and Profit" in the Featured Articles section of this site.

Lesson 1
Basic Introduction

Les s on 1

Tui Shou is the Chinese name for the partner exercise we call Push Hands. In the U.S. we tend to call it Push Hands, so that is the name I will usually use. But that name is really quite misleading. It conveys the idea of two people pushing hands with each other, when that almost never actually happens. What does happen is two people use their hands, arms, and entire bodies to receive and send energy to a partner. The legs are the essential energy movers and the hands and arms are just the tips of the iceberg so to speak. Push Hands is a traditional training device of the Tai Chi Chuan curriculum. After having studied all the solo forms and weapons work, one could then move into the study of Push Hands. This was the last step before free fighting. In present day America, not much emphasis is placed on the fighting skills of Tai Chi Chuan, so we use Push hands to understand the various energies of the solo form, and to understand the internal energy movement aspects of the form. I want to share with you the pure joy that can come from giving up your ³self´ and ³following others´ - one of the main principles of Push Hands. Think about it. Most all of our problems come from fear - fear of losing what we have, what we think we have, or what we desire. This fear causes us to react to others in a false way - devoid of reality. How could one see clearly when fear clouds the mind. One can¶t. It is like a pond on a full moon night. When the air and water are calm, the moon is reflected exactly on the surface, but if there is a breeze or something disturbs the surface, the moon will not appear as it truly is. For hundreds of years, this has been one of the main principles of Tai Chi training - still the mind so a situation can be perceived and acted upon appropriately. How I approach a situation, be it Push Hands or anything else, will determine the outcome. If I think win or lose, I am investing in winning and afraid of losing so I will either experience the ³thrill of victory´ or the ³agony of defeat´. If I approach Push Hands as a chance to get to know myself on a deeper level, then no matter what happens, I will be open to learning from the experience. Personally, every time I think about playing Push Hands, I look for a partner who will challenge me one who is willing to explore his or her bounties while pushing me to my limits if possible. When playing, I try to find that place where my partner is just ready to lose the center of balance, and then keep that pressure and see if he can somehow work out the solution rather then just pushing him over. What I am saying is that this learning experience, Push Hands, should always be approached as a mutual learning tool to help both players grow in their understanding of the basics and principles of Tai Chi Chuan. Tui Shou is the study of the interaction of yin and yang, of fire and water, of hard and soft. The theory is fairly easy to grasp, training the body is more difficult. If you have ever taken a Tai Chi class, I¶m sure in the beginning the instructor was always telling the class to sung (relax). This is the very first, most important skill to train in the body. When someone pushes us, relaxation is also essential, but much more difficult as the natural response to being pushed is to resist and tighten so as not to fall over. This act of resistance, this creation of a solid mass is just what a Tai Chi push hands player is looking for. It is easy to understand the idea that you can only effectively push against something solid. If you push a ball that is in the center of the floor, it will just roll out of the way. If the ball is placed against a wall, now it is solid, and when pushed, it will compress because the force is going into the ball. So the first skill needed in push hands is relaxation. Relaxation is attained not by just letting the energy dissipate, like lying down or slumping, but by integrating the structure. By carefully aligning the body with gravity and finding one¶s root, relaxation is the probable result. I am a large person with a well developed root. In most situations it is easy for me to relax when being pushed because I have studied structural alignment and can usually lead the incoming energy into this root. So alignment and rooting will be amongst the first skills we will study. My most challenging area of practice is achieving softness and yielding. I work harder in these areas so I can become more balanced in my approach and life. One of my teachers was Master

Tao who didn¶t weigh more than 120 pounds and was in his 70s when I worked with him. He was an excellent push hands practitioner and was a shining example of softness. There was no way he could have pushed me over or withstood my push. His technique involved yielding to the slightest pressure thus causing his partner to chase after him, only to find an empty hole at the end of the chase. He was also highly skilled in Chin Na ( joint locking, tendon stretching). This technique was applied when his opponent was trying to regain balance, making defense difficult. Master Tao is living proof of the power of yielding, and nonresistance. That is not to say that one should give up developing ones strengths to work on weaknesses. I am firmly convinced that one should put most of one¶s efforts into developing one¶s skill areas, That is where most of the profit lies. An elephant will never have the flexibility of a snake, a snake the strength of an elephant. Master Tao could probably never root my push, while I will most probably never achieve his level of softness. As most teachers I think will agree ³Know your strengths and develop them to their highest capacity.´ The study of Push Hands allows us to explore our physical, mental, and spiritual nature. We are given concrete examples of our true nature every time we cross wrists with a partner. I will be shown my strengths and weaknesses, and then it is up to me to decide how I will invest my time and what outcomes I want or expect to achieve. I will not start by listing the classic Push Hands principles. That has been done by quite a few excellent instructors already. We will cover all the essentials as they unfold in our class. Please don¶t worry about anything. We are going to be spending the next period of time studying this art in the same way that I would teach it in a classroom. I will be posting lessons as I finish them, over a period of time, so please keep checking back on a regular basis. It will all evolve in its own time. So let¶s get started. One last point. Mny of these lesson will contain lots of pictures. Depending upon your web browser, it might take some time for the pictures to come up. Be patient and I know you'll be well rewarded

as they would be in a natural stance. Let's look at the stances first as this is certainly the most important area of study and practice for effective push hands play. Shoulder Width Stance.Lesson 2 Stances Les s on 2 Stances Tai Chi Push Hands involves being close enough to a partner to push him (from now on I will use the term ³him´ to mean him or her). there is no possibility of a good push. please go the my Yang Style Long Form class also offered for free online. and if we are too far apart. . If we are too close. At the same time I want to be able to shift my weight back to neutralize a push without having to move my feet (at least in fixed step practice). Note: For a more through and detailed examination of the stances of Tai Chi Chuan. there is no escape. The basic Tai Chi shoulder width stance is the proper one for push hands. not just under the hips. This width allows for a more stable base of support without losing the ability to move. Notice that the feet are under the shoulders.

. If one needed to move quickly and wasn't concerned with stability or absorbing power. this is the proper stance. it is top heavy . The base is quite a bit wider than the upper body. As you can see.a small base of support and a wider upper body.Stance of Movement .Too Wide The Stance of Movement allows quick movement in all directions.Too Narrow Stance of Power . The Stance of Power is very stable. This stance is seen in the martial arts that concentrate more on power release then on movement. like a pyramid. like certain forms of Karate and Kung Fu.

Bow and Sit. he should thoroughly understand the bow and sit stances. I show them and explain them for people interested in knowing about push hands but don't have the fundamentals yet. It is used to define the outermost reaches of the territory I .Bow Stance Sit Stance Bow front view Sit front view Here the the main stances of Tai Chi Push Hands . Bow stance is the basic yang stance. By the time a Tai Chi student reaches the level of being able to study and understand push hands.

very serious injury can occur if the player is suddenly pulled space. Leaning can result in loss of balance in the event of a pull as well as knee strain. hips relaxed. There are several important guide lines for this stance: front knee just covers the toes. back is straight. It puts a strain on the inside of the knee and if not corrected. Notice in the front view the distance between the insides of the two feet. spine straight without leaning forward or backward. I will most probably have to move to remain centered. This is my absolute smallest space. Sit stance is the basic yin stance. If this space gets invaded. knee lines up in the same direction as toes. This width is important for stability and as a solid base for all the twisting that goes on in push hands. front leg straight without being locked. weight presses down into both feet. All students should examine carefully their stances to make sure the knee always points in the direction of the toe. even the rear foot The second common problem. both knees face in direction the toes are facing. Notice in the front view that even rear leg knee faces the toe. can lead to serious knee problems. This puts a lot of strain on the back and balance is compromised. which is very common in sit stance when there is pressure coming inward. my knee is OK. though not as serious. nose points in the same direction the front toe is headed. When playing push hands with this problem.claim as mine . The third picture shows leaning back in sit stance. In the leaning picture. Here is the limit to how much territory I will give the opponent. Knee out of alignment . What not to do Here are three common problems that can lead to serious problems if not corrected. is leaning forward with the toe extending over the toe. Sit stance requirements include: weight mostly on rear foot. back leg is relatively straight without being locked.ouch! . The first and most dangerous if having the front knee going in some other direction than the toe.

mainly where the head of the femur attaches into the hip itself.I have placed my hand over this area to make it clear. one must crouch down and gather energy into the hip. The point is you can't jump very well from a standing straight posture. The Kua is defined as the hip area. In order to jump. First energy must be gathered into the Kua. The Kua also refers to all the muscles of this area.Leaning forward Leaning back Another important thing to keep in mind and body is the use of the Kua. Below are two pictures of the Kua area . this energy hits the floor and causes your body to be propelled upward or in any direction you might desire. A good example of this area is use is jumping. When it is released downward. any effective movement follows the same sequence . In Tai Chi form and push hands. and then release it. if you study your form I'm sure you will see this for yourself. The Kua is the area where energy that is generated by the legs gets transmitted to the torso. Crouch and bend into the hip area. . If you look at sprinters lining up for a race it is the same thing.first gather the energy into the Kua.

If you compare the sit stance above where my body is facing straight ahead with the photo below. It is my experience that the greatest power is gathered and released by turning as you move. or move and then turn at the end.Kua Area Kua The next stance to examine is the turning bow and sit. . This turning happens at the same time as the forward or backward movement. the torso turns. except for the fact that as the body moves forward or backward. More on that as we go on. Many people turn and then move forward or backward. I'm sure you can see the difference. This is the same as bow and sit. The turning allows incoming energy to be easily neutralized.

I am not leaning. There is about 6 inches or so between the two feet.out of balance Notice in the correct photo above how the torso. Michael and Stephanie Morrell.especially in fixed step play. I have turned too far and my balance has shifted outside my base of support . My balance is not good and I do not have the energy in my right Kua like I do in the correct stance. The legs neutralize and gather the energy released by your partner. Examine your stances carefully. nose and toe all line up. Both of these lead to limitations in the push hands experience.The weight is falling correctly into my rear foot.the correct stance relationship is shown. and the legs release your energy into the partner. Please do not forget what I said . Stances Continued Let's look at how two stances fit together for push hands. the correct relationship of the two stances is shown as the two players. including fixed step and moving step studio and tournament play. Correct relationship .Correct Turning Sit Stance Turn too far . This is how all push hands encounters should start. In the second and third pictures you can see the feet either too close or too far apart. In the first picture. In the Incorrect photo. we'll look at the correct hand positions. In the next lesson. practice. In the next part of this lesson we will examine the correct stance relationship between the two partners. not just the tips of the toes.Tai Chi push hands is mostly about the legs. The balls of the feet line up. In the last photo. The arms and hands play a definite secondary falls to the rear of my rear foot.

Too close Too far apart Correct stances in action .

The hand is about a foot or so in front of the body. please notice how in the #1 photo.Note: Susan Leinbach who is taking these pictures is quite a bit shorter than me so the perspective is slightly off. We have already looked at the legs and once again you will what a correct foot position looks like. Now notice the left arm in relation to the torso. If I am depressed or low energy. and if it is held tightly against the body. One has to be careful to be able to defend the amount of personal space claimed. If the elbow is raised. with just a bit of space in the arm pit. Yang family tends to use #2 mostly. and if too little space is claimed. The left hand covers the left side of the body/chest while the right hand covers the right side of the body/chest. #1 . it will not allow for a full range of movement options. It is guarding the center in the middle of the chest. it will weaken the structure.Lesson 3 Arm and Hand Positions Les s on 3 This lesson is concerned with the proper hand and arm position.Left will see a correct starting position. This distance signify's the space I claim as mine. left foot . Most schools use one stance predominantly. making my arms look a bit higher up in front of the upper chest. It is ultimately important to feel comfortable in any position. the torso is a bit open to the right side. The elbow is drooping. and in the #2 photo the torso is faced directly straight ahead.Correct stance #2 . If one claims to much. The hand is in the center of the chest and does not cross over to the other side of the chest. my hand is closer. and vice versa. it is easy to get pulled forward out of one's root. If you look at the first photo. This is because we . It doesn't matter. not too tightly held or raised up to expose the arm pit. Let's examine it and see why it is correct then we'll look at some incorrect body positions.Right hand. There are four possible stances: right foot forward with right hand up.Correct stance When you look at these two positions. left foot . and left foot forward with right or left hand up. one is always feeling pressure with no place to move to. The true position is just about the center of the chest. Let me show you the correct positions and talk about why. especially for single hand push hands.or left hand up. I first learned like Photo #1.

my arm is too far to my right side. rather then a jerk.Too closed You can see how my center is not guarded in #3. I'm sure you will feel the difference.Too open #4 . limiting me to always being on the defense. Make the pull slow and steady. Have a partner pull you from the front and see how much pull you can withstand. #3 . The point is: guard your center. Both of these limit my smooth flow of chi for offensive purposes. I can afford to be more open in photo #1 because my center is guarded well. making it easy for the opponent to release energy into me (Fa Jing). Let's examine the relationship of two partners together. Now let's look at a couple of incorrect stances and see why.always want to defend our center from the opponent. The other hand is generally pressing down to create internal balance (Duei La). Let your back hand relax. In the second photo I have to sink a bit more into my left Kua in order to bring the torso more into straight alignment. . Then use the other hand and press down with a force equal to the forward pull of the partner and see how this feels. Try this. It would be very easy to control my body as my left shoulder joint is too closed making movement restricted. In #4. Stand in one of these postures. One other thing to consider about either of these incorrect postures my ability to release energy forward (peng). My arm could be pressed into my body. It can point to the side or to the front. I can also easily be pulled off to my left. Having my arm in this position makes my body heavy to the right so I would be vulnerable to being pushed in that direction. The opponent can easily find his way into my center.

Correct starting position This picture shows the place where the partners attach together. he is a bit further away so she won't feel as much pressure to start with. There is a very good reason for this particular place. so I want you to pay close attention to this. I want to share with you what I feel is extremely important about the relationship of the two hands .The wrist . Since Michael's arms are quite a bit longer then Stephie's. or having the arms pressed against the sides.Here we see Michael and Stephanie lining up to play push hands. or turned in either direction. # 6 . Both people look comfortable. Notice that they comfortably face each other without being too close or too far. Both people's arms are relaxed without having the shoulders and elbows up. Stephie is in Peng or On Guard and Michael is in Push. Most players get sloppy with this aspect. # 5 . Next.the part you offer to the opponent and the part you attach to what is offered.

That is not to say that using a different part of one's wrist or hand won't work.Not on wrist In Photo # 8. Another problem with this is the pusher can not grab the wrist when the fingers are so low on the wrist. If the wrist offers any resistance. but for the optimum usage of these tools it is my experience that they work best.The upper heel of the hand # 8 . you see what can happen when the fingers are used to push or join. The wrist . Photo # 9 shows what happens when the pusher pushes on the hand instead of the wrist. the fingers are easily bent backward.This picture shows the correct part of the hand to attach to the partner's wrist.Using fingers # 9 . Let me show you why these places are correct. # 7 .

just like bending a hose. This is something all Tai Chi players should be careful about. the chi can flow smoothly and the hand has much more sensitivity and adaptability. The difference in appearance is slight. The wrist needs to be controlled. In # 10. you see illustrated the correct and incorrect angle for the hand and wrist. if you can see wrinkles in the wrist. taking the force away from the push. but it has a great deal of influence on how much chi is given and received. . The answer lies in the taller player taking a lower stance and the shorter person a higher one.Correct hand/wrist angle # 11 .can bend. it means that the angle is too sharp and it cuts off the smooth flow of energy.Incorrect hand/wrist angle In photos 10 and 11. # 10 . This openness is more difficult for a taller player when practicing with someone shorter because his shoulder is higher. Another problem is now the wrist can spring forward into the pusher.

Stephie's wrist angle is good. we will do a few warm ups to help us start to move our awareness inside the body.So finally we arrive at the correct starting position for push hands. We are now ready to move to the next lesson. Correct starting position . no wrinkles. where it belongs during push hands. She has placed the upper portion of the heel of the palm against my wrist. In that.

and sensitivity of hand and body. and let the energy continue in the direction is is coming without resisting or running away. but first I want to show you some warm ups that help the partners get ready for the push hands exchange. lossen her waist. The pusher gets to develop a sense of touch. to root pushes coming from various directions. keep in mind the idea you are helping each other discover important principles. to accept the energy rather then running away from it. Here they are helping each other develop a strong root. they help players get into a cooperative spirit. to feel for tension in the partner's body. moving around the body to push. and get used to having someone else touch them in various parts of the body. This first series shows Michael pushing Stephie. The idea is for Stephie to keep her root. These warm ups are useful for a variety of reasons. It helps Solo Form students learn many of skills necessary for good form. The idea is that one partner stands in "wu chi stance". and to learn where the vulnerable places are for the partner. Michael pushes Stephie in Wu Chi Stance Pushing in a different place . and also start out as lightly and easily as possible and work up to more vigorus. Firstly. correct body alignment. The person who is being pushed learns to relax when being pushed.or a relaxed shoulder width stance. There are a couple of different ways to approach this exercise. I'm only going to show a couple of exercises. You can see that in the first few pictures. This exercise is a good one. awareness of space. but I think you'll get the idea and be able to create ones of your own. I use it in my Tai Chi classes as a warm up. She is in a parallel.Lesson 4 Warm Ups Les s on 4 We are just about ready to start our lessons on single hand push hands. The first is for Stephie to just neutralize the incoming push by moving with the energy of the push. The first exercise is what I call "push to loosen". to learn to push from the center not just the arm.while the other person pushes him in various places. shoulder width stance. Most importantly. and also to help people get to know each other.

Both resistance and running away are faults that need to be corrected. it means I am learning to feel these in my partner. Stephie stands in a Wu Chi stance while I move around. When pushing. you might try being pushed with you eyes closed so you don't see the push coming and anticipate. losing balance. . That is the whole reason we practice Push Hands . what I call running away. When I meet resistance. listen to someone's touch. Stephie is learning to let go. or just not knowing what to do. understand the force amount and direction. and allow the body to neutralize it. What we need to learn is to accept the incoming energy.Try pushing from the rear There is a strong tendancy to resist the push. which is a very powerful skill for me to master. to root. or feel tension. I am learning to feel for ever deeper layers of tension and more subtle holdings. Most people get tight in the knees and the push doesn't get rooted to the bottom of the foot. If this is true for you or your partner. learn to accept and understand energy. It is something that can't really be learned by reading about it. because one is tight or anxious about the possibility of falling. The person being pushed is afraid of not being able to deal with the push so he or she moves without really feeling the energy. pushing her in various places. So for this first exercise. to open to accepting energy. The other common tendancy is to move before the push. and to react in an appropriate way. Be sure always to keep some flex in the knees and use this to help neutralize. My hands/mind are learning to feel. One thing to pay special attention to in this exercise is for the person being pushed to depend upon using the knees as shock absorbers. This skill is learned over time through practice.

Stephie can root into either of her feet. It is very empowering a skill to learn. This will help me when I try to push someone over. Start with light pushes. If the partner is pushing too hard. Always start by pushing as lightly as possible. This skill. and working up to vigorous. This is also very good for the pusher .learning to listen deeply to the inner workings of the partner. which made them vulnerable. I will be used to feeling inside the person. right into her body and then down into the ground. The object is not for me to push the person over. moving around her body. make this a good learning experience for the pusher. Next try the absorb and root process. only this time Stephie uses Bow And Sit Stance. If you want them to try something else or again. absorbing and rooting. Give feed back when possible. plus she has a brace behind her so she can handle far more pushing energy directed straight into her center. He or she is doing the push not only to help the partner. Be mindful of your role as helper to the other person. Stay on the front leg and neutralize. but when mastered. Do the same process as before. is the main skill I used to win the Grand Championship at Taste of China. And again. We'll talk about that when we get further into the course. When practicing. and she welcomes my energy. ask. slowly and steadily. The object is for Stephie to learn that she can welcome the energy into her body and root it. People couldn't push me over so they had to resort to tricks. is very powerful. Another fun variation to this exercise is for Stephie to stand.while keeping her Wu Chi stance. Then do it with the other leg. So Stephie stands and I push. not fighting or repelling. That is why when we play push hands. suggest that they might try it softer until you get a feel for it. This skill is harder to develop. When I push I am feeling what Stephie is doing to absorb and redirect my push. You are both here to learn. You'll notice how much hadrer it is to neutralize pushes coming from the flanks or corners then from the four directions. we always try to push the person from a flanking position. . the pusher pushes slowly and steadily until the pushee (person being pushed) is overcome. Play and have fun. but to gain valuable skills in listening. The next warm up is a variation on the first one. absorb and then direct the push into one foot . Good skills to develop. The possibilities are far greater for her to neutralize as she can move more easily in all directions. Try sitting on the back leg and from there neutralizing pushes. not just feeling the surface.A variation to this first exercise is for me to push Stephie and have her not move but root the energy.say the right leg .

Stephie neutralizes by turning Rooting on the forward foot Here Stephie is rooting into the rear foot. as you'll have to root the incoming energy from both these places about an equal amount of the time. The next warm up has to do with connecting the arms with the center and root. She has to be careful not to lean back. It takes some practice to feel comfortable doing this. as there is no brace behind. This is harder to do than the forward foot rooting. She wants to take the incoming energy into her rear Kua area and then down into the ground. It is important to practice both the forward foot and rear foot rooting.and finding out the correct distance the arms should be from the torso for effective ward off and press. Try not to break the integrity of the spine by leaning. and not into the Kua where it should be going. . It will put all the pressure on the back muscles.

and strength almost never works. the arm can easily be moved away fom the body resulting in the person having to move forward or lose balance. . it will be very uncomfortable for the person receiving the push and he or she will have to use strength to try and keep the force from coming in. If the structure is correct the push will be rooted into the ground with little force being taken into the body. If not. If the pushee's arm is too far away from the body. This is a good exercise to make sure one's ward off posture is correct. Partner then pushes against this structure and this push needs to be rooted. If the arm is held too close to the body.Stephie in correct arm position Push to test and strengthen root One person stands in Bow stance with arms in front of the body as if holding a ball or in ward off position. there will not be enough space to react well to the incoming force and it usually results in the arm collasping againt the body or the pushee fighting and running away to keep the force off.

Arms too far from body- easy to pull forward

Arms too close - easy to push body

Once again, the pusher must keep a helpful attitude. Do not just smash in quickly. Push slowly and steadily and allow the pushee to figure out how to change the structure as the lines and direction of the incoming force change. So let's now move into the two hands (each partner uses one arm) practice. After having examined the leg and arm positions and done a few warm ups, I'm sure it will now be easy to learn the fundamentals of Tai Chi Tui Shou or Push Hands.

Lesson 5
Horizontal Circle

Les s on 5

We are now ready to examine Single Hand Push Hands with fixed step. This is the foundation exercise for push hands and the exercise most schools and instructors teach. Let's look closely at it and see if I can help you understand why it is so important as a beginning step. We can start in any one of various combinations: both people have right foot forward and right hand, or left hand; both have left foot forward and right or left hand; one has right foot and the other left foot with either hand. Traditionally in the Yang school, we start with both people having the same foot forward, say the left foot, and presenting the same arm, the left. The other common option is presenting the opposite arm, for instance the right arm when the left foot is forward.

Left foot and right hand - Yang family

Left foot and left hand - Yang style

We start with a horizontal circle. This is not really a circle, but for now I'll call it that for reasons of ease of understanding. One person pushes towards the center of the partner following all the directions we covered in the previous lessons relating to leg and arm placement. It is very important for the pusher to push directly towards the partner's center. What usually happens is that people know they will be making a circular motion in front of the body so they just head in the direction they will be ending up and don't push towards the center. Be mindful of this. Let's talk a bit about pushing and amount of pressure used. As a rule, we start with as light a pressure as possible and as the skills are mastered, we can add more. Please try to use as light a pressure as possible. Most difficulty in practice comes from one or both people using too much force. If the pusher is too strong, the pushee thinks he or she has to resist with strength, then the pusher uses more force, on and on, till they both get tired or accuse the other of using too much force. I like to use an image of having a fly between the two arms and doing the exercise without crushing the fly or letting it go. Just a constant, light pressure is best. Practice will go a long way in helping

get clear on amount of pressure. Please feel free to tell your partner what you are feeling without moving into the accusing or teaching mode. Just tell him how you feel. So in the above pictures, Michael is pushing Stephie and she is in Ward Off posture. It is Stephie's job to neutralize Michael's incoming energy, while maintaining her space. Let's look at the circle and examine it for detail. I'm sorry to say that the full photos show Stephie with her left arm and Michael with his left, while the close ups show Stephie with her right arm and Michael with his right arm. The movements and details are the same so please forgive the different arm placement.

Starting - Stephie sitting back

Hand on wrist

Here we start the circle. Stephie is in right foot sit stance while Michael is in left foot bow stance. Stephie has energy in her right Kua/hip and Michael is in Ward Off Left position (Yang style movement #2). There is correct joining of the hand and wrist. Michael has presented his wrist and Stephie has joined. This is an important point. Stephie has to join and stick so she can either push, or feel if Michael advances with Peng energy (expanding force) into her torso. Michael has to stick so he can feel the intention of Stephie's push - the direction and intensity. If either partner disengages, the other is free to attack. Both are fully aware of defense and offense. Stephie now starts by shifting her weight forward with the intention of pushing into Michael's center. If she were strong enough and Michael was too soft, she could push directly into his torso and throw him off balance. If he is too tight and resistive and she were strong enough, she could push his arm and torso off balance. As it happens, their forces are matched and the circle will start to revolve to his right as Michael leads her energy away from his center.

out of her area of greatest strength. Both partners are committed to the sticking for the above reasons. She can turn her hand over. I'll talk about those maneuvers later. trying to trap my hand in between my body and her hand. sticking. and starting to close her up by leading her arm across her body.Stephie starts her push Stephie already neutralized Here you get a chance to see how effective are the skills of join. and leading. so even if his arm defense fails. This new attack is called Press (Ji or Ghee). If you look at the second picture. I will illustrate this change later. she has to start bending her wrist. let's assume we are practicing for the most basic of skills . her force will be mostly dissipated by the time it gets to him. thus hindering attack by her other side. as my body turns to the side. stick. Also notice how Michael's ward off posture keeps the same shape and distance from his torso. For now. she opens herself up to an attack from me. Or she can continue her attack by rolling her hand over. Michael has turned slightly to the left in the full photo as his weight starts to shift back. . staying attached to my wrist. She can withdraw and try to get back out of the situation which is headed into a place which will soon become a problem. If she does. ward off.joining. In order to stay attached. so Stephie will start to roll her hand over in order to give me a surface to push back against so we can continue the circle practice. You can see that in the picture. and lead. and move into a defense positon. The most important is to keep a certain distance from the attack. He is shifting back for two reasons.She has various options at this point. There is a real tendency to let the arm (left in full photo) collapse. she can apply elbow or shoulder stroke. She can also allow me to continue leading her to the side and. he is leading her out of her center. Secondly. you will notice that Stephie's hand is no longer pointing at my torso.

the turning over of the hands. There is no way she can use her other hand to attack me. Michael is turning in order to be in a position to grab Stephie and pull her out of her root. When you look at me. I'm in a good position. my attached hand faces directly towards her face/center. Both partners have to stick without resisting or becoming too soft.Hands rolling over Sticking and rolling As we continue this exercise. you will see that Stephie is getting closed up. I can also easily pull Stephie because she is at the end of her forward movement possibilities without taking a step. the partners start to turn their hands over while staying attached. When you look at the pictures above. . This is a tricky point . and my other arm can easily attack her closed up flank. Her only attack is to come at me with the back of her attached hand/arm in a pressing fashion. The minute she starts to move out of her stance. she is very vulnerable. I have gathered her chi into my Kua. Stephie turns over because she can no longer push effectively so she is going to move into press if the situation allows. We'll be talking about movement later.

sticking to her wrist. and we continue to stick. for this exercise. This is a special time in the circle. She starts to withdraw. In any case. I follow. the action at this point would get exciting. it doesn't matter. I have rolled my hand over so I can pull or push. I could push her before she starts to withdraw in the hopes of knocking her out of balance and she could follow and retreat. with the feeling I will push her if the time is right. We both have to make decisions. I am back as far as I can be without moving. As she does. She starts to move back and I start to move forward. Stephie has gone as far as she can without coming out of her center and she has turned her hand over so she could press into my center. For the sake of this training we assume Stephie decides to move out of this dangerous position and back into her center. . or she could retreat and I could push her as she does. At this point I want to talk a bit about the hand position for the roll over/change and why. If this was a push hands contest instead of a training exercise.The roll over is complete I can pull or push Here we can see the completion of the first half of the circle. Let's look at a few pictures.

Little finger control Keeping the thumb free When I am neutralizing and rolling over into a pull position. If I grab her wrist in the normal fashion. There is plenty of control for pulling. The hand then folds over to secure the entire wrist. My little finger hooks around the base of her thumb and gives me a very secure place to attach to. I am likely to get my hand trapped against my chest if she were to apply peng jing (ward off energy). . Having my hand in this position also allows me to attack her any time with this hand as it isn't committed too strongly to the grab. I mostly use my little finger on her wrist. This is an important position.

It works for me. or anything else. You must take the time to experiment around and see for yourself what works and what doesn't. Then try grabbing with your thumb on top and have them try to trap you.Correct grab Incorrect grab Incorrect grab Trapped by Peng Jing As you can see by the above pictures. Also see how easy it is to lead them around using only your little finger wrapped around their thumb base. but this is push hands and there are other issues involved. It feels natural to use this type of grab. . So let's finish the horizontal circle. Nobody told me about the thumb wrap. it is important not to take everything presented as the ultimate truth. but it is an essential skill in any case). When learning push hands. Experiment with your partner. I figured it out for myself by doing a lot of push hands. Try to grab in the usual fashion and have your partner expand their energy up and into you ( might take a bit of practice to feel how to do this. it is fairly easy to get trapped by someone if you wrap the thumb aound the wrist.

Following the picture on the left. The arm remains in front of the torso at all times. to enter. turn the waist not the arm. don't use strength. stick lightly. and have fun. This is training for martial art skills as well as developing social and interpersonal skills.Michael pushes Michael starts to lose the center So now we have finished one complete circle. Do not let the arm move to the side and expose your center to the partner. It is important to notice in all these pictures how the ward off arm space remains throughout. stick while rolling over. . use your legs. the tendency is to just make a circle and not really work on the principles. Keep it yours and only allow those people. we both finish our roll over and Stephie starts the push again. because we appear to be making a circle in front of our bodies. As I said before. You have a certain space defined as you. It is important that you both push towards the center. or energy you choose. keep a good ward off posture with the arm.

horizontal. The next pattern we will examine is called vertical circle. so be patient as it downloads to your browser. and lead. only this time the push is aimed either upward or downward depending upon circumstance. especially join. All the same principles apply. . stick.Lesson 6 Vertical Circle Les s on 6 Note: This is a long lesson with many pictures. This is quite similar to the last pattern.

Striking face Here we see two possible techniques for Michael to attack Stephanie. and martial skill. Usually. Pushing into face. one cannot touch the partner above the top of the shoulders. full knowledge of available techniques.Upper body/face Here we see the starting position in the first photo and the target area in the second.Starting Position. The first involves pushing or . most pushes go for the torso because it is a larger target. Target . we must know about the vertical circle. harder to get out of the way. But for sensitivity. so this exercise would have no real use. as it was in the horizontal circle. The target is now the head instead of the torso. In push hands competition. and controls the balance for the body.

Since her hand is moving past my body on my right side. My energy is no longer effective. She sticks and starts her roll back. Also notice how I am already closed up. I disengage and strike her with my palm. Notice how her elbow remains sinking downward. Needless to say. Stephanie does not want either of these outcomes. I start my push towards Stephie's head. or somehow I have tricked her into thinking the attack was going somewhere else. The second photo shows Michael striking. Be careful here as it is easy to let your right arm/shoulder/elbow all lift. exposing your flank and weakening your structure. For this sort of attack to work I have to catch Stephie when her mind is still on the push as she is ending her push towards my center in the horizontal circle. In the second picture. I can also strike her anytime we are circling if she loses concentration or sticking. she continues turning to her right and following the upward energy. . she will lead me up and to her right. My left hand points to the spot where my hand was attached. Pushing upward Already neutralized From the beginning position. closing me up. and since my push or strike are headed upward. She must neutralize. This is possible if she is too soft compared to my strength.compressing Stephie's hand into her face.

If he has pushed too far. Michael has decided to continue the offensive and presses (Ghee Jing) into Stephie. At this point he has to make decisions. while Stephie is still quite comfortable. press is . She has easy access to Michael's right flank with her left hand. while Michael cannot reach her with his left arm. In the first photo. Should he withdraw or continue on the offensive? Press Retreat Here we see two options. he is closed up.Closed up and rolling over The pull Here we see the completion of half the vertical circle. When push or ward off are overcome by roll back. Michael's upward push has been neutralized. Stephie could pull him out of his root and really expose his flank as seen in the second picture.

and her roll back is overcome by Michael's press. So in order to keep the circle going. This means Stephie will be pushing downward into Michael's center. Anytime you find yourself uncomfortable (usually resulting in tension and imbalance) just ask yourself "How can I become more comfortable?" and make any adjustments you need to while maintaining attention to the opponent. Again. She could use a strong push down energy (An) to break my structure if I was trying to maintain a forward position.used to turn the situation around. he will withdraw downward to come back to a centered position. Since Michael was overextended upward. is the idea of always moving into a more comfortable space. she just follows with the intention of pushing towards my center when the time comes. Here you can see that Michael's push was overcome by Stephie's roll back. One of the most important lessons I learned from Sam Masich. but as I am withdrawing. When press is used. this will become very clear. and is very important. When we get into four hands practice. we will assume Michael starts to withdraw and Stephie follows by sticking. Let's look at the rest of the circle as Stephie pushes down and in. this will be seen more clearly when we get to four hands. This second photo could also illustrate the idea of An Jing or Push overcoming press. Here Stephie points to the place where her push will be directed. The Target . In the second photo. one of the greatest push hands players and teachers. we see Michael deciding to withdraw into a more comfortable position. a sudden push downward will almost always break the attack structure.

Sinking back Continuing back and starting turn Turning hand over Hooking wrist with back of hand .

It is important to realize the importance of Stephie sticking to me even when I am joined with the back of the wrist and am on top of her hand. Let's review this circle. it will eliminate the use of the palm for striking.I think you can get a feel for the join. the person whose hand is under. It is easy to do so. you will be familiar with Duei La .Can easily strike Can roll over and pull down As you examine these last few pictures. When you pull down. The angle is a bit tricky when the hand gets to the waist level. The transition from the end of this part to the beginning of Stephie's retreat is a point of special attention. As she does. If the hand rolls over to soon. Another point I want to make is to be careful not to bend slightly downward and/or to the side as you neutralize the downward push. If Michael pulls. Try this out with a partner. and lead that is so important in the beginning. It is very easy to strike if you use the back of the hand to sort of hook the opponent's wrist. I join on to her wrist to push inward and we repeat the circle. she can guide me out of the way. this back of the hand hook lead is very effective for offense as well as defense. Once mastered. Notice how Michael's right hand does not roll over to face down unless he intends to pull. doesn't feel as much pressure to stick and problems form. Much of the time.inner balance of energy. When I roll back or pull downward. If I try to strike and she is sticking. The circle now goes back to me pushing upward towards Stephie's face. in order to keep the circle going. Stephie steps in and applies shoulder or elbow. raise your energy up. Or. Stephie retreats to get out of trouble. stick. not shorter. making the spine longer. If you have followed any of my other web lessons. viewing it from the other side. She needs to sense my intention for either pull or strike. . it is a more difficult neutralize. not viewing it from below. I want to feel like I am on top of what is happening. When the force is coming in from up to down. my internal energy also moves upward.

Michael retreats .Starting Michael pushes down into lower belly Stephie follows and leads to the side Transition .

Stephie follows upward Push neutralized Michael could pull . Michael was pushing towards Stephie's face and in the second set he was pushing down into her lower body. When playing this circle. Notice how neither player bends or twists. The arms always stay in front of the torso. do one direction for a while and then switch who pushes up or down. not just the arm. it is the torso that turns. After . When the arm gets pushed.Stephie could Press Transition into Michael Push down In the first set.

easily. This is one I call "flip flop". The next lesson will focus on another single hand skill. As in the previous patterns. © 2008 Gilman Studio All Rights Reserved Member of the International Society of Tai Chi Ch¶uan Instructors Lesson 7 Flip Flop Les s on 7 We are now going to look at another pattern in the single hand. lead are our essential energies. . palm upward. The first pattern we examined was horizontal . turning over my hand so my hand is on top. This time we will focus on how to neutralize poking attacks.dealing with attack and defense when the push is aimed upward or downward. I join and lead it down to my waist level. It is seen in the Yang Style form as White Snake Puts Out Tongue. join.either up or down . one can change direction . The second pattern was vertical . from the center. push hands with fixed step.neutralize and attack dealing with pushes to the center. There is a very distinct spiral quality to this move. This pattern is easy and fun to practice. stick.a while. so I can return a thrust back. usually directed towards the throat. As the thrust comes towards my center.

Be careful not to let the left arm get behind the torso or you will lose the power of using the Kua and torso for this trust. Also notice that Michael's arm is slightly in front of his body. Actually. It could also be any where along the center line from the lower abdomen to the eyes. with his palm pressing her wrist down. Michael has Stephie closed up. Michael points out the target . Notice how the energy is gathered in Michael's right Kua.Stephie's throat. Michael's hand is not really pressing down. it is more like it is resting on Stephie. There is no force used.Starting position The target Starting the exercise. . In photo two.

We now finish the pattern as Stephie attacks. effectively closing me up. She will then twist the energy in the opposite direction as she attacks. gently screws or twists the energy as she retreats. She doesn't force my hand over and down. turns her torso to the left. allowing me to extend my energy forward. As you practice this pattern. As Michael thrusts. She gently leads me as she retreats. feel how the neutralizer. Stephie thrusts #1 #2 . You turn your hand in one direction to screw in and turn your hand in the other direction to screw out. shifts her weight back.Neutralizing #1 Neutralizing #2 Neutralizing #3 Here we see the pattern. Stephie sticks. It is similar to screwing a screw into a piece of wood. leads my left hand over to her left side. Stephie in this case.

this pattern has a very flip/flop quality to it. what is simple and straight forward is usually best. as well as life in general. hence the name. . In Tai Chi. I think it will be clear in the pictures. resulting in the fingers ending up facing outward and making the forward thrust not as quick and effective. then spiral him over to close him up. If the partner pushes off to the side in an attempt to close me up. Also notice how the neutralizer's fingers face the partner throughout the whole movement back. The second involves a spiral (fold and pile) for rolling back. Lu. When an opponent pushes towards my center. Lesson 8 Fold and Pile Les s on 8 In this lesson we look at a single hand technique that is really a part of the four hands requiring constant attention to detail. the horizontal roll back usually is the most simple and effecient. Ghee and An) as practiced in the solo form. Again I remind you not to force the opponent's hand over. It is easy to let the fingers open to the side as you retreat. there are two common four hands routines practiced by Yang Style players. the technique illustrated in this lesson will make the four hands pracice clear when we get to it. In any case. Lead it gently. is very straight forward and shows the four energies (Peng. I will use fold and pile to first exhaust his strength.#3 #4 -Back to the beginning As you can see. The first. most common with the Yang family. It is definetly the most difficult of the single hand techniques . It is called "fold and pile". As I said at the start.

Starting back and to the left All the way back and neutralized . stick.Here we see Stephie pushing with her right hand towards Michael's center. Most people will just use muscle strength and turn to the right anyway. neutralizing the push and closing her up. He defends with his right arm. If she pushes straight. and follow the direction of the push. he will have to make a decision as to how he will deal with it. But if her push heads towards Michael's left side with the idea of traping his arm against his body. A good way to deal with this type of push is the following technique . We must join.fold and pile. Not good Tai Chi technique. Michael will sit back and turn his waist to the right.

At this point she does not know exactly what she should do. Now that her jing is exhausted. I spiral her arm over to my right side and can either pull down or follow with a push. as her center is fairly open. Be careful with this open to the side not to let the right arm collapse or move too far over to the left side of the body. you must connect and follow/lead to the left. I can also step in with my right foot and apply right shoulder or wrist. but Stephie can no longer attack me using her right hand.This is the heart and most difficult part of the technique. As the push comes in. which will create tension and loss of structural integrity. Starting to fold In complete control . sitting back. It is easy to lift the elbow and shoulder when doing this move. Be sure to sink the elbow. I have led her to the left and allowed her to exhaust her jing (strength/chi). It might not look it. or she could step in with her left foot and apply elbow or shoulder to my center with her left arm. Her most effective attack would be with her left hand/arm to my flank.

Your right wrist. We both have to be careful as the arms move to my right side.Either pull or push Pull down A few things to consider when doing this technique. instead of pulling. she can disengage and come in under me and attack my lower torso. She would then sit back. She of course has the same problems. so you have four patterns to pracice. which is doing the attaching. If i am too hard. Be sure not to use just your arm to move her hand over to the right side. I would push towards Stephie's left center. this is an essential technique to master before moving into the Yang Style four hands drills. must be firm without being hard. If I am too soft. As I said. In order to practice this technique as a partner exercise. as illustrated in the last picture. . Be sure to practice this with both arms with each foot forward. and follow with a push. Stephie can use the downward jing of the vertical circle and crush my arm into my body. Use your waist. turn her waist to the left. It sticks and leads. and spiral my arm over to here right side.

Yang Family Practice Note: Be patient. This is the pattern taught by the Choy family. I highly recommend that if you are interested in learning this well. We now move into the traditional four hands circle. This will be explained in the lesson. There are a lot of pictures to download. as well as the Yang family.Lesson 9 Les s on 9 Four Hands . you purchase my Push Hands Vol. Lu (Roll Back). 2 video available at my online store. It will show this pattern as it flows. . Ghee (Press). It explains the Yang style "Grasp the Bird's Tail" movements of Peng (Ward Off). Study it carefully for there is so much information about Tai Chi Chuan contained in this simple pattern. and An (Push). In this practice there is also an added movement called Hwa (neutralize). I have done my best to show in still pictures this pattern.

is a very light stick and follow. and quickly follow with a inward push to throw him away. Stephie in Push Roll Back neutralizes Push #2-Stephie Pushes. before the retreat and turn. If this was a competition. One partner is in Peng or Ward Off (On Guard) while the other is in An or Push. If this is done in the circle practice. The first. Michael immediately starts to retreat and turn to the right to neutralize.#1-Michael in Ward Off. following. There are many possible starting positions. which I call the Yin approach. forcing Stephie to exert more committed energy. etc. the partner is forced to respond in the same way or the circle will not work. There are two common ways to do this. while the Yang approach is well suited to larger people able to root well. It is very important for Stephie to pay attention to her attachment to Michael's elbow . Here we see left foot forward and right hand Ward Off. but feel the Yin approach is a higher level to play at with more skills necessary for sticking. The elbow is . the feet are correctly lined up. Michael Starts Roll Back Here we see the traditional start. This space will remain the same throughout the practice. it is difficult to keep the circle harmonious. if one person uses the Yang approach. My feeling about these two approaches is that the Yin is more suited to smaller people dealing with larger force. There is a tendency to let this space collapse. Notice that the partners face each other. Michael allows quite a bit more pressure to build. and Stephie touches Michael's wrist and elbow. Also. As Stephie pushes (for this practice the push goes straight towards Michael's chest). Michael wouldn't let much more than a couple of ounces of pressure build up before he starts to turn and follow the direction of the incoming energy. I am able to use the Yang approach well. leading. The Yang approach requires more root and body alignment. The other most common start would be left foot forward and left arm Ward Off. Also notice the distance between Michael's arm and his chest. Avoid this error. Stephie would exert a downward energy on his arm to break Michael's guard.

Stephie neutralized Press overcomes Roll Back #4-Stephie starts to Press We now see the power of Roll Back. It will keep Stephie from coming in with her right side (shoulder/elbow) as she gets neutralized to her left side. notice that Michael's other arm is coming up as he starts back. Always keep the elbow pointed down but keep a bit of space between it and the body. Another thing to keep in mind about the elbow is it's offensive possibilities. So right now Michael has the advantage. Since her pushing attack has been neutralized. Stephie's push has failed. Her idea is to fold over Michael's right hand into his chest. If you look at the #4 picture and notice the direction her left hand is facing. In #4. it is a perfect place for her to attack with elbow/shoulder. using a straight or slightly upward push. As one great Tai Chi player once said. Attention to the elbow is essential for both players. Stephie can jamb his elbow into his body and push him easily. If she losses focus. Lastly. Michael can attack with the elbow and throw her out. If Michael is too light. Don't wait too long to bring the other arm up.the major place to control the opponent in push hands. if Stephie losses focus for a moment. get inside his defensive left arm. throw Michael away. She is turned to her left side with her force going to Michael's right side. In this case. If Michael isn't careful of her elbow. roll his right hand over for grab and pull. or use it to attack her elbow. It is important for Michael to place the forearm against her elbow at this point. you can see it is aimed between Michael's . She has gone as far forward as she is comfortable. Both partners must always be careful of all parts of the body as offensive or defensive tools. Michael could. Stephie could. Stephie must be careful to stick with her right hand. She needs to come back and attack again to Michael's center. If Michael's elbow is stiff and raised a bit. she must do something if she is going to remain in the game. #3-Michael Roll Back. "All parts of my body are hands". Michael could easily attack with his right hand. She is threatened by Michael's left arm. He could strike her with it. Stephie makes a change of energy from Push to Press. at this point. and Press her energy in a diagonal direction to throw him out. Correct position comes from practice.

we can see Press in its fullness. Of course. to keep the circle going for practice. You can see that Stephie is concentrating her energy into Michael's center with the back of her right hand and the left palm. His left hand starts to fold over to trap Stephie's hands between his to aid in controlling the situation. Michael must retain a certain amount of Peng Jing (Warding Off energy) in his right arm and keep this arm away from his body. It is the energy of both sides of the body sending the energy in the same direction in a squeezing way. Also notice that Stephie is not leaning forward. Michael's right arm is trapped against his body. she has to be light and easy. It is easy to over extend. Press energy (Ghee Jing) is very powerful. and this is the perfect example of why. The energy of both of Stephie's arms is being released directing into his center. Stephie has to be careful not to lean forward for Press. It is so important that Michael has his forearm on Stephie's elbow. In order for this not to happen. His left forearm/elbow maintains attachment to Stephie's elbow. She remains solidly on her left foot. #5-Press Press neutralized by Hwa ( a form of Roll Back) #6-Press starting to be neutralized In picture #5. Press energy mostly comes from the front foot.two legs where he has no structural root. He can also still attack with his left hand. He can neutralize this Press by Pushing in and down with his forearm on her right arm. It is like a wave crashing on the shore. . He starts to turn to his left to follow the direction of the incoming energy. breaking the structure. as opposed to Push energy which is more like a great swell in the middle of the ocean. Both are powerful. usually slightly downward. Michael would surely be thrown out. If she used Fa Jing (Attacking energy). Stephie must keep her face back. especially if one tries to Press from the rear foot. and part of her awareness on this possibility. He is as far to the rear as he is able to be without stepping. but press tends to be more explosive.

She is not leaning. His left hand has folded over her wrist and is sticking with the palm. She has to stick upward with her left hand to guard against this. #9-Hwa . Stork Spreads It's Wings are all examples. Notice that Michael's inner hand is away from his body.Close Up #8-Hwa This action is the most difficult to master in the Four Hands circle.Here we see a close up of the relationship of the two pairs of hands during the process of Hwa or neutralize. Brush Knee. His left hand is moving in the same direction as her push in. guarding and giving him some space to maneuver. . #7-Close Up of Hands Folding. Her left wrist/palm presses against her right wrist/palm. His right hand still guards his body. His left arm is attached to her right arm. Stephie has to be careful here as Michael's left hand is quite close to her face and can strike out. Michael has sealed Stephie's hands in between his and is following /leading her in the direction of her press. This folding over the wrist/hand is done a great deal in Tai Chi. down and to his left. Stephie's hands are pressing in the direction of his center. Single Whip. Her elbows are relaxed and pointing downward.

or to guard against her possible elbow strike. turning to his left to follow Stephie's energy. Her options are: 1.#10-Hwa #9-Hwa continuing Michael has emptied. now is free and gets ready to attach to her elbow for roll back or push. If she had pressed with force. 3. Retreat and pull Michael's left hand back as she does. 2. this emptying usually results in her losing balance and falling forward. For the sake of keeping the circle going. his right. or attack. The press failed and Michael has a structural advantage in that his right hand is now able to attack and hers isn't. Press again in the other direction. Michael's inner hand. Stephie now must decide her next course of action. 4. . she moves directly into Ward Off. Step in and apply elbow/shoulder to his center. Move into Ward Off with her left arm to protect herself.

As Michael places his right hand on Stephie's left elbow and retains contact with his left palm on her wrist. only reversed. Michael pressing to the left. as in the starting position. She could expand outward into him. or she could guard herself as she regains a centered position. We now find ourselves in the same positions. as he is still on his rear foot and doesn't have much room. In order to keep this lesson from becoming too big to download in a reasonable amount of time. and Michael moving into Ward Off with his left arm forward. We would now continue with Michael pushing. with one partner in Ward Off and the other in Push. Stephie neutralizing to her right. I will continue with some details in the next lesson. she moves into Ward Off posture. Stephie turning left to Roll Back.#11-Moving into Ward Off Ward Off (Peng Jing) overcomes Hwa #12-First half of circle complete Here we see the completion of half of the circle. . which she does in this case.

Yang Family Practice .Part 2 Four Hands . The last lesson ended with Stephie in Ward Off and Michael in Push. Stephie starts to roll back Michael neutralized . Be patient. We'll just flow through it.Lesson 10 Four Hands .Continued Les s on 10 Note: There are 38 pictures in this lesson. so it might take a while for all of them to download if you have a slow browser. Let's look at the form as we finish the circle.

Michael starts to Press Press Stephie starts Hwa Hwa complete .

Stephie in Push Michael starts Roll Back . Stephie in Push We now look at the circle with a different combination of hands and feet. Michael in Ward Off. This time the left foot and left hand are forward.Michael moving into Ward Off Michael in Ward Off.

Michael in Roll Back Stephie in Press Michael does Hwa Hwa or Roll Back .

Stephie moves into Ward Off Michael Push. Stephie starts Roll Back Roll Back Michael starts to Press .

We focus on the hands and arms. Stephie starts Hwa Hwa Hwa or Roll Back Michael moves into Ward Off Now let's look at the circle from a different view. .Michael Press.

Stephie is neutralized Michael in Roll Back.Michael in Ward Off. Stephie starts Press Stephie in Press. Michael starts Hwa . Stephie in Push Michael Rolls Back.

Press and Hwa Hwa Hwa or Roll Back Stephie moves into Ward off. Michael moves into Push Stephie starts Roll Back Michael neutralized .

Stephie in Roll Back. Michael starts Press Press Hwa neutralizes Press Hwa .

body integration. knowledge of Tai Chi principles. In the next lesson.Hwa or Roll Back Michael moves into Ward Off. and a desire to learn and help your partner learn. relaxation. I will continue with some details about this basic four hands pattern. Always start out as softly as possible and work slowly. you can increase intention and speed. .Push Hands volume 2. As you get more familiar. Stephie into Push I hope this makes the basic four hands pattern more understanable. The skills necessary to do this well are sensitivity. and I remind you that all this is on video at my online store. I know it is very difficult to get it from still pictures.

Body forward Starting Roll Back .Lesson 11 Les s on 11 Four Hands . can firmness be added. lines of energy. but it will. I see so many players who use firmness without connecting. placement of root.Yang Family Practice . The first. Be as soft as you can be. and open your mind. The most important thing is to stay relaxed. sort of like shooting a gun. So I say again. remain in contact throughout the exercises. Ward Off . In the beginning it is hard to see how softness will overcome a large force. so you can see the turning.Turning and moving to the left . and I feel most important skill. we can feel the opponent's body. is sensitivity. We connect. and through connection. and only then. I want to show the position of the body during the exercise. Once you have developed sensitivity. Firstly. Tai Chi push hands is much more like wrestling then boxing.Part 3 I want to look at a few details that will help make your push hands more enjoyable and effective. etc. Only through softness can sensitivity be developed. I will show it in solo. start off as softly as you can.

body turned Starting Hwa . starting to turn left as partner Presses Hwa continued .Front leg straight.Roll Back .Still back.Almost finished Roll Back . turning left .Still back.

Still back.After being neutralized by partner's Roll Back .Moving straight ahead Starting Press .Still back Push Continuing . turned straight Push Position .Hwa complete .

.Front foot.Press Continuing .Energy off the front foot Press complete.Front foot Moving into Ward Off following Hwa . back to straight ahead Now let's look at a few details that I think are important.Front foot. body slightly to the left of center Ward Off .

The first tension will be at the wrist/hand as it tries to keep the force away. Be patient when doing this with a partner. My push comes straight in. In the second picture. There is plenty of Peng Jing in her wrist. her hand does not collapse. She seems to feel confident about the amount of space she is claiming and defending. If you look closely at the picture you can see that my force goes into her wrist. the next place the energy gets stuck is the elbow.Rolling Back . gives her plenty of space inside to react and move. you will notice that Stephie is actually presenting her forearm bones. All these angles require tendon. This allows the energy to flow from her wrist to her shoulder/spine without getting stuck in joints. as well as dealing with much more force. The elbow is relaxed down.keeping shape and Peng #2 . and then another right angle into her back. Here it makes a right angle into her upper arm.Rolling Back . It takes practice. In #2. The arm. She must transfer this force at an angle parallel to her body to the left. This is much stronger and more direct. If you look at #1. XX #1 .Incorrect Ward Off In the first picture we see Stephie doing Ward off correctly with her left arm. I will be pushing against her forearm first. Have him push your wrist with a slow and steady pressure in both of these positions and see how much more comfortable you can be with the proper shape. and muscle strength to keep from collapsing. the upper part of her wrist. Because of the shape.Breaking shape and pulling . ligament. Notice the nice round shape of her arm. The arm is at a right angle to the opponent.Stephie in correct left arm Ward Off #2 . you can see what is the mistake most beginners make. You might not get it right away.#1 . Experiment with this with a partner. to me. Any pressure on the wrist will result in a great deal of tension all over the arm as it tries to maintain the shape. being about a foot and a half from her chest.

My elbow can easily be lifted. Don't let yourself use this position. In the Yang Family practice.Hand on elbow #2 . In #1. follow. When Stephie pushes in #1.Roll Back . Proper shape Elbow raised Let's look at Roll Back and see if we can get a deeper understanding of the shape involved. In #2. Let me tell you why. In the pictures that follow. My elbow is relaxed and can sink more if Stephie tries to lift my elbow for attack. I am actually starting to fold my wrist over Stephie's hand. The shape will be round in the direction of her arm. Tai Chi principles direct the player to follow the energy. The beginner thinks he needs to lead by pulling. I am incorrectly breaking contact with my wrist in an effort to pull her to the side. lead with my hand. I will then continue the stick. Both have advantages. Stephie will be comfortable giving me her energy which I will be able to use to my advantage. If I make a proper shape. one can see the correct shape in #1.Roll Back . wrist and forearm.When Rolling Back it is important to keep connection and follow the push of the opponent. A bad shape.Forearm on elbow There is a lot of discussion about this position. If you grab or place your hand on the elbow. I use the forearm on the elbow. In #2. #1 . the energy flows around me. My shoulder joint is under pressure. all the pressure into my elbow cannot easily be neutralized. The hand on the elbow is good . you limit what you can do and how fast you can do it. This is a big mistake which results in a lot of tension in my wrist and elbow. and one of the most common mistakes in #2. Some teachers prefer one over the other. that of raising the elbow and creating a right angle with the elbow.

Press aiming in the wrong direction #2 . folding over the hand on the opponent's press. #1 . all I have to do is shift my weight forward and I can throw Stephie away. there is not much threat.Press into center .Good position #2 . In #1. and locks. If you had your hand on the elbow. Think about it. Notice how I am aligned in #1. I must let go and she can use her elbow or shoulder to block. The other thing about using the forearm is the ability to do Hwa. She is under pressure and must divert much of her attention to this threat. It is not good for striking. The forearm position can do all these plus it allows easy strikes with the hand. this technique would not work. throwing.Roll Back . you can see how my fingers in #2 are pointed directly towards Stephie's face. My torso/center is facing into the flank of Stephie so this works well. If you look at the pictures. Press #1 .Using Roll Back as an attack Here we see Roll Back using the forearm again.for pulling. In #2. If I go to strike with my hand.

Go to the online store. It is more complicated by a lot of fun to practice.Here we see a common problem with Press. certainly not straight back. As you can see in #1. I have the correct position . There are not many places she can go. In #2. Again I remind you that a video covers all this and more.right into her center. © 2008 Gilman Studio All Rights Reserved Member of the International Society of Tai Chi Ch¶uan Instructors . She must use Hwa to trap my hands and follow my press. my Press is not aiming in the correct direction. This usually happens because I have waited too long to Press and lost my position advantage. It would be easy for Stephie to neutralize this force. The next lesson will start to look at the other popular Yang Style form.

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