Tai chi push hands is a practice that a student of tai chi undertakes in addition to learning the form. At its core, it is a two-person activity in which each maintains the connection with the other, keeps their own structure, and feels out weaknesses in their partner. Ideally, it is dynamic: constantly moving and flowing.
Push hands is useful as a way to apply tai chi techniques in a safe environment. This is imperative for the art to be effective because tai chi is practiced slowly. When practitioners speed up to block there is a temptation to lose coordination and body structure if not in the controlled situation that push hands provides.
At USKSA, push hands training begins while one learns the form, starting with individual and partner drills emphasizing sensitivity, and body structure. As one advances competitive push hands is recommended. This is because without an uncooperative partner one can never be sure if their techniques are really working. Competition essentially puts your money where your mouth is.
Push Hands at USKSA
There are several reasons USKSA is a cut above other schools when it comes to push hands training. First and foremost, there is an acknowledgment that form alone is not enough to be excellent at tai chi. One needs push hands to refine the techniques. Next, we have sets of drills that teach how to use moves from the form in push hands. These drills are passed down through our lineage and have proved effective. Finally, we have a staff of world-class push hands practitioners who have competed at the local, regional, national, international, and world competition levels. All of these factors combine into a community of push hands players that provides a variety of partners to practice with.
When I think of how students respond to our push hands program one comes to mind as emblematic. She began tai chi for relaxation and to address some health concerns. In class she experienced partner push hands drills with many different people. She commented to me that she was intrigued by the differences in how people pushed. She shortly thereafter expressed interest in pushing competitively and trained with me and other competitors. Ultimately, she competed at the international and world levels. This journey from seeking health to competition is not uncommon among our students.
If you’re interested in practicing push hands, give us a call today. You won’t be alone in joining us for that reason specifically as we do have a program that is a cut above the rest. We offer two FREE semi-private lessons to get you started.
Owings Mills: (443) 394-9222
Marriottsville: (443) 545-5566