Feb 5, 2018
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Pushing hands, Chen Xiaowang, Chen Bing, Chen, taijiquan chen, tuejshou, master Chen

Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang and master Chen Bing pushing hands.
Pushing hands is said to be the gateway for students to experientially understand the martial aspects of the internal martial arts (內家 nèijiā): leverage, reflex, sensitivity, timing, coordination and positioning. Pushing hands works to undo a person’s natural instinct to resist force with force, teaching the body to yield to force and redirect it. Health oriented t’ai chi schools may teach push hands to complement the physical conditioning available from performing solo form routines. Push hands allows students to learn how to respond to external stimuli using techniques from their forms practice. Among other things, training with a partner allows a student to develop ting jing (listening power), the sensitivity to feel the direction and strength of a partner’s intention. In that sense pushing hands is a contract between students to train in the defensive and offensive movement principles of their martial art: learning to generate, coordinate and deliver power to another and also how to effectively neutralize incoming forces in a safe environment. Pushing hands is said by t’ai chi’s Chen family to have been created by Chen Wangting (1600-1680), the founder of the Chen-style t’ai chi ch’uan, and was originally known as hitting hands (da shou) or crossing hands (ke shou). Chen was said to have devised pushing hands methods for both empty hands and when armed with a spear. Other Tai Chi schools attribute the invention of pushing hands to Zhang Sanfeng. In recent history pushing hands has become a part of modern competitive Chinese martial arts, especially those devoted to internal arts. Within this context, pushing hands is not an exercise to develop skill but a competitive sport.

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