Saturday, November 21, 2009

Push hands, Step by Step

When I was trying to teach a student push hands today, he tried to resist my form. Instead of using the form I've demonstrated to him and others, I have added another form to trick him and unbalance him using the same form. After class, I told him, you should not resist if it’s a demonstration of a particular usage to the class.

Many people are very competitive. Everyone wants win but lose. You are not really winning here because you lost an opportunity to learn how the movements works by “wining” ( push people away).

First, you need to learn both ways. In order to get familiar with this move, you need practice on a partner. This partner has to feed the movement to you for you to test. If this partner changes the way of feeding the right move, then you are not learning your movement right. On the other hand, you need to learn how you apply this move to this person. You need to be in that person’s shoes to understand better. Putting yourself on the opponent's side will help you understand the move better.

Furthermore, the person you're pushing hands with needs to give you feedback. Ask questions such as,

“Did I touch the right spot?” If the answer is “no”, ask him/her to show you the right spot.

“Do I have the right transition?” If the answer is “no”, ask him/her to show you which part went wrong.

“ Do I have right sized circle?” If the answer is “no”, adjust your circle.

“Am I relaxed enough while doing this?” If the answer is “no”, try to relax more.

Now this might be the point of view of this particular person, so try it with another person and see what he/she says differently.

Moreover, try to summarize how you feel in addition to what you've collected from your partner and double check with your teacher to see if all the movements are correct. Practice on the right move until you feel you've done the best with it.

Finally, write all the information down on notes, so you won’t wake up and say “Oh, I spent 5 hours figuring this out, but I can’t remember anymore.” Pen and paper are always better tools than your brain. My father, Master Zhang, Lu Ping also has a Post Doctoral degree in Mathematics, but he still took notes while learning things.

Copyright Huan's Tai Chi '09

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