To Be Soft

How do you learn to be soft and yielding in push hands?

I have unearthed some old clips from 2011 that is useful to answering this question.

Background to the clip – it was shot when a friend who practiced Chen style Tai Chi visited. We talked, explained and practiced.

It is not a full on, try to beat each other up, type of practice. But it is also not completely soft to the point of collapsing type of push hands.

In fact, there is some resistance, mostly light, but if the pressure wavered my friend would get a tap – you can see this now and then. In a clip in another post I introduced striking briefly into the play just to remind ourselves not to position ourselves such that an opponent can hit us easily even though we were not emphasizing striking in the play.

In some clips I also introduced other additional elements but I will not post them since they are not relevant to the topic at hand.

However, the series of short clips which I extracted from longer clips is useful for those looking for way to enter the path of softness not just in Tai Chi but for any training platform that utilizes contact, pressure and sensitivity.

Below is the first clip :-

The basic elements of being soft are :-

a) Resist enough to stick but not go against opponent’s strength

b) Be round, move circularly and go with the flow

c) Stick, adhere and be as one with the opponent

And there you have the three simple keys for being soft. Easy, isn’t it?


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