What is Push Hands? Generally, Push Hands (or pushing hands) is a two-person training exercise practiced in internal Chinese martial arts such as Baguazhang, Xingyiquan, and Tai Chi. That said, it’s important to understand the purpose behind Push Hands. Instead of succumbing to the natural instinct to resist force with force, Push Hands teaches you to absorb force and redirect it. It is an exercise that can help you understand changes in direction of energy and the concept of maintaining a Central Equilibrium, which is the key to improving balance. As a form of martial arts, Push Hands is a way to put the Tai Chi movements you have learned to practical use.
Because Tai Chi is an exercise which emphasizes balance, maintaining a Central Equilibrium, or center of balance, plays a very important role. Central Equilibrium is the key to understanding Push Hands, because Push Hands is all about maintaining a center of balance. There are 3 secrets to understanding the role of Central Equilibrium in Tai Chi Push Hands.
1. Protect Central Equilibrium
When doing Push Hands, you want to make sure you maintain a Central Equilibrium at all times, so you are balanced and stable. The purpose of every move in Push Hands is to maintain your Central Equilibrium. To learn more about how to develop and maintain your Central Equilibrium, read: Develop Your Central Equilibrium in Tai Chi.
2. Use Central Equilibrium
In his famous work, The Art of War, Sun Tzu wrote, “Know yourself and know your opponent. Fight one hundred times, win one hundred times.” Knowing your own Central Equilibrium and understanding your opponent’s Central Equilibrium is the key to Push Hands. Use your own Central Equilibrium to destroy that of your opponent. Use your own balance and powerful moves to throw your opponent off his Central Equilibrium, so he/she loses balance.
3. Avoid Central Equilibrium
When your opponent tries to use his/her Central Equilibrium to destroy your own, you need to avoid the Central Equilibrium of your opponent. In other words, when your opponent tries to find out where your Central Equilibrium, or center of balance is, make sure to switch and change your center of balance, so you can yield to your opponent’s force and redirect it, without resisting force with force, or creating double weight; thus, you always remain stable and balanced.
Without your own Central Equilibrium, you will not able to feel and find your opponent’s Central Equilibrium during Push Hands. Keep your yin and yang balanced, maintain your Central Equilibrium, and let all of your Tai Chi permeate through into your Push Hands.
Copyrighted by Huan's Tai Chi 2010