This blog post is written after reading Scott Phillips’ excellent account of his encounter of pushing hands with another notable Tai Chi blogger… Tabby Cat here.
Interesting post. It reminds me a lot of all the (sometimes depressing) Tai Chi push hands encounters I’ve had with other practitioners. I think the problem is that everybody has a different view of Push hands than everybody else, and these encounters always end up in ‘passive aggressive smiling through gritted teeth’ ideological stand-offs.
My push hands seems to be a lot freer than other people’s. I’m not a fan of this idea that ‘you lose if you move your foot’. As the author says, if your training this as a martial art that’s an absurd conclusion to come to, also moving a foot is yielding, should we not yield now in the art of yielding to force and overcoming it?
But I can also see the value of attribute training.
It comes down to push hands being a useful vehicle for a teacher to use to get across their teaching to a student, but an essentially useless vehicle to test a stranger’s skills out. Sadly it seems to be used for the later all the time!
I don’t know what the solution is. I’m trying to come up with something called GPF Push hands, which is a rule set that will allow for an actual test of skill. (Humorously known as Ground Path Free Push Hands). It’s still a work in progress and the main issue to overcome is ‘what makes this different to wrestling?’
Anyway, you can see a few of my videos of GPF Approved Basic Techniques at: