When we practice push hands the ability to control the “chess” board is important. This is because even as you are trying to find means to push your training partner out he is also trying to do the same to you.
Controlling the mental board is one way we can give ourselves an edge. First you have to fix the chessboard parameters in your mind.
Next you need to learn some example of “chess” moves ala Tai Chi. Then work them until you know the strengths and weaknesses of each move. Learn to interchange the moves.
Last night I added one more spice to the mix by having one more layer of control. We worked through how to seize the battlefield area. When the opponent is strong we worked on how to influence him to give us what we want.
We used free flowing push hands to learn the board strategies. We flowed whilst moving, probing constantly for an opening, baiting when there’s none to create our own opportunities.
At times we explored examples of games of strategies, example such as feint to the east, attack to the west; simple yet requires ability not to telegraph our intent. This involves a degree of control of pressure and movement.
At the end of many such exploratory games we should gain certain abilities to enable us to have a meaningful game of push hands.