Archive through May 01, 2008

Tim's Discussion Board: Tai Ji Quan : Push Hands in the mainland: Archive through May 01, 2008
   By William on Monday, April 28, 2008 - 10:52 am: Edit Post

An interesting clip at Formosa Neijia blog, enjoy


   By Tim on Monday, April 28, 2008 - 08:24 pm: Edit Post

Interesting. Now compare to the Hawkins Cheung video.

   By Shane on Monday, April 28, 2008 - 08:48 pm: Edit Post

"When taiji masters get real...boring"

that Hawkins guy would slam all those 'grandmasters'

   By Jamie on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - 02:16 am: Edit Post

Very good Tai Chi application in this video.
However I am susupecting; most of the techniques, would not be allowed in that Formosa Tournament.

   By Dave C. on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - 09:44 am: Edit Post

I think we need to keep in mind that the Hawkins Cheung video is a demo, not a match -- be it push hands or otherwise. I seriously doubt he could pull off any of that in such a clean fashion in any type of match.

   By Tim on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - 07:53 pm: Edit Post


I and my students have pulled off practically every technique Hawkins Cheung does on that video in competitive matches, against trained opponents. Hip tosses, back heel trips and leg tackles are common and high percentage takedowns.

You need to watch a some Freestyle or Greco wrestling matches, you'll see much more spectacular technique than those shown on the Hawkins Cheung video being applied to much higher level opponents than the guy he was working with. Start here:

I suspect most of the grandmasters in the other tape simply didn't know any throws or takedowns, had never trained to apply them against any resistance, or had agreed beforehand that they would just try and shove each other out of bounds.

   By Bob #2 on Tuesday, April 29, 2008 - 08:55 pm: Edit Post

what isn't shown in Youtube 'when GrandMasters get real' clip, is that 3 days after the event, all but one master suddenly died from the dim-mak deathtouch of the most victoreous grandmaster pushhander of them all, the tall guy who looked like a cross between Big Bird and Morgan Freeman.

it was big news when it happened, well, three days later.


   By Dave C. on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - 12:09 am: Edit Post

No disagreement on your points. Yes, the range of techniques shown in the grandmaster clip is abysmal. No argument.

I'm simply pointing out that pulling them off won't be nearly as clean as what Hawkins shows in his clip.

Nice wrestling clip BTW. Let me share one of my favorite's:

Mike Swain is the man. :-)

Much larger range of techniques than we taiji guys usually show even though most of it is in the taiji forms.

   By Jamie on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - 01:55 am: Edit Post

I see the Hawkins demo as a very good demonstration of Tai Chi applications. Not amazing, but very good and real.

The wrestling video is impressive, snake creeps down (kata guruma) on several occasions and real, and overall adhering to Tai Chi principals.

On the topic of the Formosa push hands masters.
For sure none of Swains techniques are going to allowed in the Tai Chi push hands tournament (grabbing clothing is not allowed- I know there was some clothes grabbing in the Formosa tournament- it's against the rules). This is a problem with push hands tournaments they require the practitioner to play in a limited fashion. (Like having a hand tied- or not moving the feet) Tai Chi tournaments without kicks and punches should look more like the Hawkins Chueng video than the Formosa tournament. Tai Chi tournaments are notorious for their failure to exhibit good Tai Chi and the Formosa clip is a fine example of that.
The idea that Tai Chi players are limited in their repertoire, or range of techniques is a real failure of the Tai Chi player in understanding the art. The techniques of Judo throws are limited to 65 in tournament play. The techniques in the Tai Chi form are limited only by the player.
Tai Chi teaches principles that emphasizes timing and leverage; over strength and speed. Tai Chi's idea is one principle yields- ten thousand techniques.
The real failure of most Tai Chi artist is in thinking the forms are a series of techniques to be referred to like a moving encyclopedia. I learned them as examples of principles demonstrating body structure, timing, leverage and relaxation. All of the postures in my Yang 108 form have more than one technical application.
For example the posture High Pat On Horse.
I use it as an Aikido valley and heaven throw, a Judo O-soto gari, an entry to a key lock of the arm or four corners lock, a palm strike to the head or face, a push to the chest, an outside front foot sweep, a single leg take down. Same posture; same principles; several techniques = Taijiquan.

Judo on the other hand is compartmentalized into 67 throws, groundwork and several Katas structured by Kano to teach the techniques in a uniform fashion. Judo is far more exact with it techniques. one-trick; one-throw.

I see Hawkins Chueng demonstrating principles of Tai Chi, I see Swain demonstrating techniques.
The principles are going to look very much the same against resistance, as shown in the wrestling video. Judo during tournament play exemplifies individual techniques that are often difficult to discern, sometimes unrecognizable and are frequently forced. Very unlike the fine, and clean examples shown by the legendary Mr. Swain.

I think Hawkins Chueng could pull of the moves against true resistance as clean as the wrestling clip, but not as beautiful as the Swain show.
Anyway enough fun for tonight.
I appreciate every body's posts
even Boob the foot monitor.


   By Jason M. Struck on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - 10:23 am: Edit Post

""Judo on the other hand is compartmentalized into 67 throws, groundwork and several Katas structured by Kano to teach the techniques in a uniform fashion. Judo is far more exact with it techniques. one-trick; one-throw.

I see Hawkins Chueng demonstrating principles of Tai Chi, I see Swain demonstrating techniques. ""

The principles are unbalancing and reaction for minimum effort to lead to maximum results.
Mike Swain is far from the best, but he is certainly one of the best in the US.

Anyone above shodan, or heavily involved in the sport, understands that every judoka finds a natural variation on standard techniques to fulfill their needs, whether anthropometric or strategic.

   By Jamie on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - 09:00 pm: Edit Post

The principles "effortlessness" "softness" are the same to me in Judo, Aikido, Taijiquan and arts that do not depend on strength and speed to overcome the opponent.

The Judo emphasizing techniques has a greater chance of not looking like the demo; Taijiquan emphasizing principles has a much wider interpretive range to be considered Taiji; if soley based on principles of effortlessness.
Judo, Aikido and Taiji principles are fundamentally the same. The techniques in practice look very different.
So it is easy for a Taiji player to use a Judo technique with soft principles and call it Taiji. However using a throw like Parting The Wild Horses Mane, is not in the 65-67 throws and is not considered Judo no mater how well executed.
In this sense the variations and interpretations of Judo's standard techniques must have some basic elements that make them Judo weather or not if the principle of minimum effort, maximum results is adhered to.

Often the unbalancing and reaction, is dependent on the strength and speed of the Judoka. "Scrapers" often force techniques in Judo using brute strength to fit their needs. It is still Judo, principles or not.

Back to the thread. Taijiquan as a sport is far inferior to Judo in it organization, structure and real application. The Formosa push hand competition is a good example of Taiji's failings as a sport. Hawkins Chueng is a very good example of the potential of Taijiquan as a combative art. I like the hippie taiji video. The wrestling video is even funner to watch. The Swain video- do you have any links with him in competition?
That would be interesting.


   By Shane on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - 09:31 pm: Edit Post

speaking of Judo and Mastery here are a couple of clips of Mifune (in his 70s at the time of the filming). While some will claim that his opponents were taking it easy on him, when you see the big guy at 2:49 its obvious he's really trying. If I remember correctly the big guy was a Judo Black Belt.

Behold, the beauty of effortless throws, not using force on force, not being double-weighted, and being a geriatric bad ass. (with some good slo-mo shots)

I wonder how Mifune would have fared with those TaiJi GrandMasters who appear to be younger than Mifune-


   By Backarcher on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - 11:11 pm: Edit Post


We think so much alike! :-)

   By robert on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - 11:20 pm: Edit Post

those videos are awesome, a great reference.

   By Jamie on Wednesday, April 30, 2008 - 11:25 pm: Edit Post

Mifune THE 10th dan. I am always amazed at watching him move. Incredible. beautiful.

Oh and on the other thread:
Mifune was Iizumi sensei's teacher at the Kodokan. His favorite throw is said to have been O-Garuma. Iizumi being very short could not get his leg across, and Mifune invented a "spinning Uchi Mata" for Iizumni. A variation on the technique using soft principles. The art of soft Judo is sweet. Much greater than 65-67 throwing techniques.

I'm sure Mifune would throw the Formosa Masters around the room. However again the rules to those competitions really limit the options. No grabbing, no hip throws, no foot sweeps, no double arm drags, on and on and on...

Taiji sport as it is today is silly.

   By Dave C. on Thursday, May 01, 2008 - 01:09 am: Edit Post

I just posted this elsewhere but it seems like it would be useful here.

You can't fault the format in the clip for not being something it was never intended to be. It's not a judo match or a BJJ tourney.

The PH tourneys were designed to allow qualities that the taiji people value to be tested between players. So it's a specialization, not a general contest.

I wouldn't expect people who are more generalists or who have a different specialization to understand what is going on here.

The reason people choose to specialize in this is for the same reasons people might choose to give up their forms practice to concentrate on throwing -- you can't master everything.

Like any high-level match, this clip is meant more for people that can understand what is going on rather than the general public.

The real question is whether or not the clip actually shows the qualities that we taiji stylists are supposedly working towards. In other words, it shows what the top masters are really capable of doing (and not).

That's its value.

   By Jamie on Thursday, May 01, 2008 - 02:17 am: Edit Post

I am working towards the Hawkins Chueng style of push hands, it looks more fun.


   By Tim on Thursday, May 01, 2008 - 02:33 am: Edit Post

Good points Dave.

However, if the goal of endless hours of Taijiquan form and push hands practice is to lean on each other, shove each other to no other purpose than making your opponent take a step back while using virtually useless grips, it's a hard sell as a martial art.

There is no mystery in the grandmasters push hands film, they are doing what legions of Taijiquan players do every morning in every park in China.

Compare to these "amateurs"

This clip may give a clearer idea of what Taijiquan can look like against resistance, so even the general public can understand.

You may not be able to master everything, but you should at least be able to master something with some practical use.

   By Jake Burroughs on Thursday, May 01, 2008 - 09:28 am: Edit Post

Very nice!
That is how I was taught "push hands," but then again Tim taught me so....


   By Tobbe on Thursday, May 01, 2008 - 12:51 pm: Edit Post


When I was looking at the clip I started to wonder if thereīs any difference between "taijiwrestling/push hands" or letīs say greco - roman regarding weight transfering, grips, throws etc