Begin to Learn Push Hands 2

This is the second video :-

Here we continue working on the use of 5-Count in the neutralizing and issuing process.

We also learn how to use the horizontal circle to control our space whether for neutralizing or eating into the other person’s space to attack him.

Finally, keeping awareness of our space is important to prevent opponent from opening our door and entering it to attack us.



Begin to Learn Push Hands

I took 4 videos for my student to study. The videos are taken by putting a smartphone on a stack of chairs hence it is not framed properly.

This is not the first time I touched hands with him but it is the first time I explained the process of how to learn push hands from scratch.

The videos were taken after the explanation of theory was over. In the first video we are just working on a simple idea – how to control space using a horizontal circle – hence the slower pace in moving to allow him to feel and maintain proper pressure.

The other thing we worked on here is the use of the 5-Count in application. A more detailed explanation can be found in TaijiKinesis Vol 2 : Learning the Taijiquan Form.


Stupid is the New Smart

I was writing this for the SKD learning group but this can be applied to my other students so here it is.

I was thinking of why some students make good progress and some don’t. The ones that don’t make good progress typically over-think something. Instead of doing it they like to make theories.

And when they finally get around to doing it they do it wrong and then they wonder why they didn’t get it. They may think that knowledge is being withheld from them when the reason is so much more straightforward.

The ones that do make faster progress tends to do more than think too much. With doing they have feedback that can be used to make improvements and progress. Without the doing, without the feedback you will veer off the path too easily.

Some things don’t look right to the “normal” thinking mind because they are not able to see far or deep enough to know better. This is where the not so smart student will be stupid enough to actually try it and in the process make discoveries and attain insights.

Asking too many questions too early is another way not to make progress because too much information is confusing. The student who makes progress is the one that asks the right question after putting in practice and reflection on his practice. Of course, this begs the question – what is the right question?

A subject can be broad and deep. Many techniques make for a broad subject. The details that make a technique work is defined by its depth. If you don’t know what you are looking at then you end up fooling yourself because then you think in one direction while failing to consider another direction. Its what I call solve one problem but create a few more problems.

So for example, when you swing your hand in a certain way to slap your body you may think it would be better to say slap the shoulders because it makes sense to you for whatever reason. But you missed out on another crucial point, one that tells you why you should not aim at the shoulders. If you can’t figure this out then you don’t know enough to make assumptions of what is right and what is wrong.

Finally, don’t look for praise when learning. This is what I call an American entertainment disease. I see it all the time on reality TV. Someone fails but told he should be proud of what he has achieved. Seriously, what has he achieved? He failed. What is there to be proud of? Instead, he should just get up and go back to basics. I don’t know about the entertainment field but that’s how you make progress in learning CMA.

A traditional teacher doesn’t praise the student much not because he does not want to but because he knows that too much praise is detrimental to learning. Praise can make a student stop or slow down his learning since he thought that he has already achieved it when the truth is he has just scratched the surface and that the real journey is from that point on. In not receiving the praise the serious student then works harder because he is looking for approval.


Chair Fajing Training

The thing I love about Tai Chi training is that you don’t always need to use specialized training tools for your training.

In fact, even chairs stacked together can be used. In the first clip my student is trying out a fajing method by using the stacked chairs that a religious group has left in the void deck for their gathering.

It should be straightforward but it is not easy to control what he wanted to do. So another attempt which turned out better before faltering.

This is what I wanted him to do :-

The idea is to pin the opponent’s root so that when you apply pressure he cannot run away. Below is a demo of the result we are aiming for :-

I have challenged my friend Paul to replicate the result on stacked chairs. Let’s see how it turns out for him.



This is a demo of ………… I’ll have to view back the longer clip in our SKD FB learning group to see what topic we were talking about here.

Anyway, the background is that our use of high stances gave Stanley’s Hung Gar buddy the impression that our method is so-so.

So here was an excellent opportunity to let Stanley acquaint himself with one side of the argument. It would be good if he were to go check out his pal’s stance work for comparison.

I would call this method the stance of no-stance. You can see Stanley taking a look at how I was standing as he couldn’t believe it that I wasn’t standing in a low stance, or even in a stance.

I didn’t tell Stanley to cooperate by not pushing hard so that I can look good. I just let him push however he sees fit. You can see how he changed his position towards the end.

This outwardly rootless method is a result of training the bell body method of Grandmaster Wei Shuren. I present a simplified way of doing it in this post here.



Occasionally I see demonstrations of rooting where the demonstrator goes really deep into his stance to withstand the strong pushing pressure.

Whilst I have no argument against this type of method part of me cannot help but wonder how resisting this way is useful for combat. This is because a really deep stance locks you into the ground.

In this clip I showed Stanley a simple way to root :-

The method is simple. Just align yourself sufficiently to the ground and move (turn or step) to adjust yourself to allow the pushing force to be minimized.

Caveat – you do need to be sensitive enough to feel where the pushing pressure is affecting you and adjust yourself to let the power flow into the ground. Use the neutralized power to help balance yourself better.

By rooting this way you don’t lock yourself into the ground. You can still move about stance and all.


Leading the Dance

When you play push hands you need to relax.


The reason is when you relax you can harmonize better. This allows you to join, harmonize and lead which is a lot like dancing where one partner leads and the other follows as can be seen below :-

Stanley is not my Tai Chi student. He is learning Sam Kuen Do (三拳道) via my FB SKD group.

I did this demo to explain some point about borrowing energy. I asked him to give a little resistance and he gave a tiny bit but its enough for me to use it.

I didn’t tell him what to do or not to do. I let him react however he wants to react. And it does look like an out of synch dance.