Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Can Learning Chess Improve Tai Chi Push Hands?

There are several similarities between Tai Chi Push Hands and the game of chess. Both require similar strategies to move from beginner to expert. Here are 8 chess strategies that can be applied to Tai Chi Push Hands.

1. Be prepared - At the beginning stage of a chess game, you normally move into a pyramid shape to defend yourself. With Push Hands, say single Push Hands, you need to have one arm protecting your knee and lower body, and another arm protecting your chest and upper body. Like the stable pyramid in chess, make sure to create a nice stable form before you start Push Hands.

2. Rely on an observer – Observers watching a competitive chess game can often identify the best moves better than the players themselves simply because they are outside the game. Your teacher will be better able to tell if you and your partner are making progress in your Push Hands technique because he is an outside observer.

3. It’s all about losing – In chess, you always gain experience if you play with a person who knows more about the game than you. The same is true for Push Hands. If you push with some one who is better than you, you can always learn new things. It’s not about winning but about losing.

4. Concentration – More concentration and less talk always helps in chess. Same for Push Hands.

5. Play it Slow – You need to think before you make a move in chess, and playing it slow helps. Moving slowly when doing Push Hands will also help you to understand and feel the listening energy.

6. Linking and Protecting – In Chess, a well-known strategy is to link all the chess pieces together so they can protect each other. In Push Hands, body parts need to stay connected to defend each other.

7. Trap in – In chess, we often give up the small pieces or trap opponent’s pieces in order to put the king in check. In Push Hands, we don’t resist our opponent, but absorb and trap his/her energy in order to control it.

8. Practice makes perfect – The more you play chess, the better player you will become. Similarly, the more you practice Push Hands, the better your Tai Chi will become.

Copyright by Huan's Tai Chi 2010

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