Fast Dance 7

This is the push-pull dance.

Basically, pull when pushed, push when pulled. Hey, this sounds familiar……. ah, yes, its the famous Judo maxim.

However, if you want to borrow the opponent’s movement and strength this is what you would do. This principle is baked into a number of Tai Chi movements so its not just a Judo thing but a universal principle.

So push-pull like a pulley when you do this dance.



Fast Dance 5

This is the “block” dance.

Yeah, as in “block” the opponent’s ability to counter before you strike him.

Not to forget to use sink and unify also. This can make you feel “heavy” to your opponent and make it more difficult for him to resist you.


Fast Dance 4

In Zhuang Tzu there is a story that begins with :-

Haven’t you heard about the mantis who flailed his arms in anger to stop the carriage coming in his path?

Similarly, in playing push hands the best strategy to adopt is not to be there. Why?

What is the consequence? Take a look :-

Moral of the lesson – don’t be like the mantis and oppose a greater force head on.


Fast Dance 3

When you dance, sing :-

Move, move, move your arm,
Up and down like wave
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Sink and hit liver.

(Note – sing to “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”)

I think this fast dance is pretty self-explanatory and won’t need any explanation.


Fast Dance

Its a cold day in hell, I mean Singapore. Its been cold for the last two days, reminiscent of the winters I went through when living at one end of Sydney’s Bondi Beach ages ago.

A good way to keep warm is to play push hands like doing a fast, swaying, rhythmic dance. Take a look below :-

The video was uploaded 5 years ago. It was a sunny day when we shot it.

This is one of the ways we practice push hands. We moved at a brisk pace. We probed, we explored, we sought openings.

We swayed like a willow tree when encountering resistance. And when an opening presented itself, attack like the branch of a willow tree returning the force of the wind onto itself.


Timing in Striking

I was explaining to my student about the use of timing to render strikes workable during push hands. The issue is this – in push hands because your arms are in contact with your opponent every move you make can be felt and read by him. Move fast, move slow, use more strength, use less strength, and so on can be detected by each other.

This means that its difficult to strike your opponent in push hands because each time you try to do so he can feel it. Unless he is slow to react most of your strikes will not land. Chances are after a while you end up disengaging arms before you throw a strike because this is the only way you can prevent him from reading you.

It is not wrong to use this method to stall your opponent’s reaction. However, it then defeats the purpose of training your ability to listen and understand through the sense of touch. This means that at some point you should still learn how to use contact to overcome your opponent’s ability to read your moves.

When we train push hands we do not only go faster to try to beat the opponent’s reaction. This is too easy. To challenge ourselves we make it a point to go slower and still be able to prevent the opponent from reading our moves and land our strike where we want it to land.

To up the challenge you can tell your training partner where you want to hit so that he can make it harder for you to do so now that he knows where you are going to hit. This is to train a traditional martial arts principle of hitting where the defense is the strongest as opposed to going for the weakest defense.

One of the key factors in being able to land a strike whether slow or fast is through the use of timing. The olden principle of timing is associated with keywords to teach you how to do the strike properly. Actually, if you train forms a lot you will be able to understand this at some point.

Sometimes when you cannot “see” the timing it may help to hear it. Listen from 0:00 to 1:10 in the video below.

This is an example of the use of odd time signatures in music. If you are my student and you can remember what I have told you about striking timing I would recommend to listen to this part of the music and you slowly think through what I said. At some point you will get what I mean about timing. This is one way to examine the topic from another angle.