I have been playing around with trying to focus on my Taiji in free sparring, and what I am finding is that, while sticking and following at close range really screws up the "freehand strikers" and gives me an advantage, the Shuaijiao guys just grab me when I get in close and I either have to escape back out to striking range or switch to Shuaijiao. Is it simply that I should be more vigilant against being grabbed, or is sticking and following at close range just tough to do against Shuaijiao? I know that drawing lines between styles is artificial and dangerous, but I'm just doing it for training purposes--for real what works works : ).
Taijiquan martial aspect has shuaijiao and qina as part of its training and application.
Shauijiao today, in itself isfrequently taught as an independant art (Chinese wrestling) though taken from various geographic Baoding and Monglian (Bok(h))).
Push hands, as a training mechanism may help to absord/redirect a strike/hold.
Styles are not as important as the person. e.g. 90% of time TKD people will kick but within that percentage, with the advent of Gracie type jujitsu, a good TKD person will feint with a kick, you will be expected to grab, and he (TKD) will throw/punch/elbow since you missed the cues of the individual.
Modern Korean TKD (last 20 years) have added judo as part of their training. Sticking to a shuaijiao 'stylist' is useless since your hands are bridges and he will use his feet as Cung Le does frequently.
Just observing the rules.
For what it's worth one of Dan Docherty's United Kingdom, English inside the door student (Wudang Taiji aka practical Taiji) a Mr Coung Sam made the extraordinary feat of winning SILVER position in his category AT BEIJING COMPETING IN SHUAI JIAO (CHINESE WRESTLING )World Championships.
So there you have it an up and coming taji adpept/master only practicing Wudang Taiji and getting Silver in Shuai Jiao World Championships, pretty damned immpressive if you ask me. What do you think Tim ?
You have to remember the old saying... dont box a boxer if you are not a boxer.
If you are a Tai Chi artist and are sparring with a Shuai Jiao artist... dont give him a bridge to cross.
Stay away and fight the way that will be against what he knows.
I'm not sure what you mean by "switch to Shuai Jiao," fully 75% of all Taijiquan techniques are wrestling oriented. A great number of Taijiquan throws are virtually identical to Shuai Jiao throws (although the grips are often different without the jacket).
You can't win a Shuai Jiao match by staying away from your opponent, it's not possible to wrestle at a distance.
Tim, Tim, Tim... But the Shuai Jiao artist can't win either by you staying away!
Eh...this place is full of wise guys!
I asked my teacher the same question and--SURPRISE!--he gave the same answer. What can I say--I'm still learning : ). Luckily I have a good teacher. Thanks for the answer!