Push Hands Competition

Tim's Discussion Board: Tai Ji Quan : Push Hands Competition
   By Michael W Gooch on Saturday, November 25, 2000 - 09:00 pm: Edit Post

Has anyone here had experience in this? What exactly are competitors trying to do? What are the objectives and rules? The few photos I've seen are from a French tournament. It appears to be some sort of boundary wrestling like Sumo. I have no experience in pushing so if someone could explain this in layman's terms I'd be grateful.


   By Sum Guye on Sunday, November 26, 2000 - 02:27 pm: Edit Post

As I understand it:
Push-hands is a drill to learn sensitivity, sticking and using the waist properly to issue and/or absord force. Basicly, push hands serves as a training tool teaching how to make contact, stick to, move in and apply any and all techniques on someone who is trying to do the same to you.

Starting cooperatively, two people work several patterns- One has their palms on the back of the others hands. Making circles with their hands (using the waist to make the hands circle)- as the circle continues the other person's hands wind up on top of the back of the other persons hands. (continual contact of skin).

They gradually learn to 'stick' (keep contact) with the opponent- and also learn to feel the opponents 'center' (meaning to feel where the opponents balance can best be thwarted). Also,
the goal is to learn to turn the waist to neutralize the opponents attempt to find your center.
(it may look and sound simple, but there are little details that make a huge difference; if
one person rolls their hand over too far, or leaves their thumb too high during the transition from bottom to top, the other person can easily catch that hand and flip the opponent via any number of wrist leverages)

As the practice becomes more advanced- the more skilled person will cause a disconnect (when opponent doesn't stick well) and strike the opponent. Even more advanced practitioners can throw and foot sweep easily during push-hands.

Push-hands is a drill to teach one how to fight.
Many (all I've heard of) push hands competitions
have rules like 'no stepping'. Which means two folks stand in one spot and try to off balance each other. The first one to have to take a step (correct their balance) looses. This is fine for training- but it's not an end goal. When some freak wants to pound your face into the pavement -he aint gonna stand in one spot.

Tim said in class yesterday, "Push-hands teaches you how to enter... as soon as your opponent throws a punch and your arm connects with his arm- now your doing push hands- if he doesn't know how, that's not your problem"

it's like in the UFC fights- a brawler hits a JuJitsu fighter a few times- the JJ latches on like a python ties him up and takes the brawler to the ground. Don't know how to ground fight? that's not the BJJ guys problem.

   By John Bryan on Monday, April 16, 2001 - 10:53 pm: Edit Post

HI , it is me again . i know you are probablly tired of my postings but i have yet another newbie question : Tim , can you give me any tips or tell me of any exercises that can help a person who doesn't attend classes learn " Economy of Motion " ? I understand ( i belive ) that it is the mind telling the body how to move , react , and stand , but who does ones mind ataing the knowledge of how to train the body ?

   By Bob on Monday, April 16, 2001 - 11:13 pm: Edit Post

If you don't attend classes, what motion would you like to make more economic? In regards to your second question, you need a teacher to attain the knowledge you seek. Certainly reading books and watching videos can help but you need hands on training from an experienced teacher. There are aspects of internal training that are impossible to grasp without hands on training. You may understand a concept but never figure out how to apply it and it is the application that requires touch sensitivity. It does not matter what style whether Aikido, Judo, Ju Jitsu, Hsing Yi, Ba Gua, Tai Ji or Wing Chun, you cannot develop the sensitivity required for any of these arts by reading books or watching videos. That does not mean give up reading or watching tapes, just find a teacher who knows his stuff. If there are none in your area than go where they are. Tim went to China. It just depends on how badly you want it. Where there is a will there is a way. Good Luck


   By John Bryan on Tuesday, April 17, 2001 - 09:26 pm: Edit Post

how much would it cost to sponsor a teacher to start a school where i live ? someone said get like 20 or so people to Sponsor one ....

   By Bob on Tuesday, April 17, 2001 - 10:19 pm: Edit Post

He was talking about a seminar. I doubt you will be able to convince anyone to move to start a school. If you had the people I'm sure Tim would be glad to come out for a seminar. That's what Tim's do best!(in my best Tigger voice) Organizing a seminar without a school would not be an easy thing to pull off. I suggest attending a seminar someone else is sponsoring to get your feet wet so to speak. You might e-mail Tim and ask about private lessons.

Good Luck

   By Tim on Thursday, April 19, 2001 - 01:53 am: Edit Post

Hi John,
Although 'economy of motion' means different things to different people, I would define it in the narrow sense as the minimum amount of movement and force required to accomplish a specific task. Note that depending on the task, economy of motion may still require a great amount of movement and effort. Still, underlying principles should apply across the board. Things like efficient body use and sensitivity to force and momentum should apply in virtually all cases. If no martial arts teachers are available, you might want to look into other (non-martial) systems that teach correct body use.

   By John Bryan on Friday, April 20, 2001 - 12:48 am: Edit Post

what are "non-martial systems that teach proper body use ?

   By Sum Guye on Friday, April 20, 2001 - 07:32 am: Edit Post

Dance. (hip hop, jazz, ballet, street, etc.)
swimming.(with a coach or trainer)
running (with a coach or trainer)
Even aerobics if the teacher is good.

Tai Chi instructors are everywhere- if you can
find one who teaches applications and doesn't
treat CHI as if it's some magic bullet you can
shoot at people (a good tip is whether or not
the school has mats... if people aren't throwing
people, it aint actual Tai Chi) the principles are very similar to Bagua and after studying Tai Chi for a few months you could probably grasp Bagua more quickly from videos and books.

Then, save some cash and fly out to study with
Tim a few times a year. He's the best you'll find
on this continent.

   By Tim Ash on Thursday, October 12, 2006 - 11:43 pm: Edit Post


Back to your original question:

The rules of so-called pushing hands tournaments are unrealistic and force people to square off in very deep forward lunge stances. In this format, it does become Sumo-like.

You are relying on leaning and horizontal friction to make you strong in one direction. Your balance depends on the opponent that you are bracing against (obviously a bad idea). Many of the so-called "pushing hands" competitions that you will see have such restrictive rules that most competitiors will basically try to get as low as possible and lean on each other and drive upwards with their bodies and legs. The pressure at the point of contact, and muscle tension required are immense. This makes a travesty of what Tai Chi is really about, and is the perfect example of "double weighting" (a big no-no in Tai Chi).

IMO: Many of the guys that get into this are looking to show how tough they are without taking any real lumps in the process (you might end up with a few bruises where people grab your arms...). Unless you are a high level Tai Chi guy, all you will learn at these "competitions" is how to rely on brute force (probably something that most of us already know and not the reason we are studying Tai Chi).

   By chris sam friedman on Tuesday, October 24, 2006 - 10:22 am: Edit Post

Hi Michael I've done a few. Here are some videos of my matches. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4UKn2uRSw0g
This is restricted step.

Add a Message

This is a private posting area. Only registered users and moderators may post messages here.