Thursday, June 12, 2014

Important Points of Classical Wu Style Tai Chi Push Hands

The following is the dialogue of the most recent Youtube video from Workshop 2011. The subject of the workshop is the basics of doing (click here) Classical Wu Style push hands.

  • Master Stephen Hwa instructs, demonstrates and allows students to participate in the learning.  The subject includes what is referred to as non-competitive push hands.  Master Hwa demonstrates the importance of the following points:

  1. Importance of going fully forward in any Tai Chi posture
  2. The difficulties of going fully forward
  3. How to counter being pulled over while forward
  4. How to crimp or cramp up your opponent's posture
  5. The importance of correct distancing and the difference it makes
  6. The importance of sitting back fully
  7. The importance of turning the body correctly
  8. The role of the pelvis in correct push hands

The times correspond to the statement in the dialogue

0:41 Say for instance that he pulls me.
0:45 You see that is why you practice the form.
0:51 You want to be in this full forward position.
0:53 Lot of people in the beginning are afraid to go into that full forward position. They feel like they are tipping over or something.
1:04 Now if he pulls me like this, I can relax my shoulder...see that?
1:09 See how much I can do that (stretch at shoulder)
1:13 Now he is kind of cramped
1:17 Because I let that go
1:21 In these things a couple of inches make a difference
1:24 So when he pulls me, I give him a couple more inches...he is cramped
1:43 Now when he comes at me I want to be able to sit back as much as I can
1:50 So it is kind of like to 2 people competing, who can stretch more, who can sit back more
1:54 So now I can sit back more than he can stretch
2:02 Now if I turn too much like this, then he can just push sideways
2:14 If I keep the pelvis still, he cannot push me
2:19 It is square here, he cannot push me, but once I do this
2:29 Very very different isn't it?
2:30 So the ability to keep the pelvis fixed and turning has a huge impact in push hands
2:40 The ability to feel comfortable going forward and the ability to sit back has a huge impact on opponent
3:04 When you go outside to push hands with people, they may not follow any rules
3:13 Then there are the people who come through the rank of weight lifting rooms, with extreme strong upper body
3:25 What they first do is grab you with 2 hands
3:30 In that remember Peter is strong, right?
3:45 When they try to grab your hands, you have to be prepared.
3:50 Once I feel you grab my hands, I have to do this, I do not let you grab solidly
4:00 Once he grabs solidly, this is harder to do
4:10 So you can use this particular move in getting away from the grab
4:32 Now outside people will stand sideways like this
4:43 So if you come forward they are going to pull like this
5:04 Now to counter this you have to exploit the weakness but there are several ways to get around this.
5: 24 One way is you don't let me really grab you
5:26 The other way is they don't make a full grab, they grab you like this
5:44 Then you have to step forward quickly and then you can jam them
5:50 So my weak point is force coming this way from the side like this
6:05 If you let him pull like this, then you are sunk.  Remember a great 90% of people push hands like this sided.
6:30 Then there is the other situation with people who always keep their body perpendicular to the ground.
6:40 Then it becomes like wrestling because I am always in the middle, no one wants to sit back.
7:20 Very frequently on the youtube you see people pushing and wrestling like this, no one wants to sit back
7:30 They don't want lean forward, they don't want to sitback, they are afraid
8:29 Just remember don't get your arms to close to your body
8:40 It is kind of a right angle with the arms
8:50 Don't turn your hip too much, it is unstable
9:20 Tucking is important, because when the force comes on to you, you will get this curve or bend in your back when you do not tuck.
9:35 So this bend will stop the force right in this zone
9:40 With a correct tuck the force starts transmitting downward through my leg
10: 00 Try to keep the body reasonably straight, fold at the pelvis here. This way you will have better turning ability
10:18 If you crunch too much forward, you cannot turn the body.