When you are defending yourself being able to block and parry the opponents blows is a functional first level of skill. A much better level of skill is being able to use dodging and stepping to avoid the opponents attacks. Combining dodging with counterattacking is even better because you avoid injury and use the opponents strength against them skillfully. If someone pushes you, if can pull them after they have committed their strength to the push you can easily toss them many feet away with seemingly no effort. If you can lead someone into become overextended, they become very vulnerable to being pulled. If they are overextended they have gone past the point where structurally they have the strength to resist you. If your opponent has momentum, if they are moving, and using a lot of force to push you, then you can capture and guide or lead their momentum. If you can skillfully locate and sense their center of gravity and the exact direction or combination of directions it is moving, then you can control their movement and project them away from you easily. Once they have committed their strength to the attack then perhaps you can without resisting them skillfully connect and then lead them into emptiness and destroying them.
Theory sounds good. How do we get this skill? An important part is found in the Single Push Hands Drills. These drills teach you how to contact, connect, sense, and lead the opponent. If you want to lead the opponent into a throw or take down how your hands and arms touch their arms and hands is important. How you skillfully you contact your partners arm is important. Can you grab their wrist? Can they grab your wrist? Can you take your hand away before they can grasp it? Can you intercept and grab the wrist of the opponents fast moving grab or strike? After touching hands or forearms can you slip past their guard and then touch their body? Can you prevent the other person from touching your body by guiding their hands or wrists away with your hands or wrists? If the other person does grab your wrist or arm, can you prevent yourself from being pulled off balance? If your partner tries to slip their hand away from you or to break contact with your forearm or wrist, can you stop them by sticking or adhering to them and maintaining contact with them? Single push hands is about the moment of contact between two arms, two wrists, and how it is resolved and what happens next.
These are some of the Single Push Hands drills we practice at 10,000 Victories. Not all of these are from the art of Tai Chi Chuan. Drills # 1,2,3,8,9, are all from Wong Jackman’s Tai Chi Chuan. #4 is from Cheng Style Ba Gua and Liang Ke Qiang, #5 is from Xing Yi Quan, Tang Shou Tao lineage, #6 is from Liao Wu Chang’s Monkey Boxing, #7 is from Liang Zhen Pu Ba Gua Zhang of Zhang Hua Sen.
- Single Hand Pushing
- Single Hand Variation – Reverse or Back Hand Pushing
- Single Hand Variation – Chopping / Slicing Down – Groin Strike
- Single Hand Variation – Overturning Low
- Single Hand Variation – Opposite Arms and Feet
- Single Hand Variation – Quick Turning Striking Palm
- Single Hand Variation – Pull Down Spiral Up
- Single Hand with Stepping – One Step
- Single Hand with Stepping – Two Steps
Come join a Push Hands class in San Rafael, CA, or online in our training academy!