Being able to instantly respond correctly will help you to master push hands.
Some students take too long to react. When pressure is applied they instinctively resist instead of responding. Their hands are too “kayu” (wooden).
To simplify learning sometimes I take a simple decision mechanism approach. If you have scenario A then you react this way. If scenario B then another way.
So the student must learn to recognize the scenarios right away and respond correctly. However, having two scenarios is too simple and does not train the mind to process input signals faster.
We do this by learning how to handle three scenarios instead, what I would term as A, B or C decision making. Students tend to find the A, B scenario easier to handle since the probability of each occurrence is 50%, thus they either respond one way or the other. But when there are 3 scenarios it is more difficult to react quickly.
This is where the learning trick comes in. To master the ability to react quickly you first learn not to resist but to just listen, in essence you must give yourself up in order to be able to read the other person correctly. Then when you get an input signal you don’t have to decide what to do because your opponent will tell you what to do. If you have to do it then you are not listening to the input and you then have to wait for the signal, interpret it, hopefully not misread it and react accordingly.
In this manner you can change at will and create techniques out of what is offered to you. Otherwise, each time you have to quickly find the right response and if the scenario is slightly different to what you are used to then you may respond incorrectly and instead of prevailing you end up giving away the game.