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Four Hand Practices

PostPosted: Wed Mar 07, 2001 6:47 am
by Audi
I have a video of George Xu and Ye Xiao Long demonstrating various push hands techniques. I do not know the general reputation of these individuals, but I very much like the video for the martial aspects they demonstrate in the routines they show.

If anyone else has seen this video or recognizes what I am about to describe, I would appreciate comments to the following three questions.

Is the four-hand routine (peng, lu, ji, an)they demonstrate more or less the same as the traditional Yang style? It seemed so to me, but George Xu showed many more possibilities to the movements than I had seen before. I am also assuming from the titles I have seen in T'ai Chi magazine, perhaps incorrectly, that George Xu is predominately a Chen and Wu stylist, rather than a Yang stylist.

The video also shows a version of the four-hand routine that is combined with circle walking. It looks really interesting, but I was wondering whether this was straight T'ai Chi (Chen, Wu, Yang or all of the above), or something with Ba Gua stepping added.

The video also shows an unusual (for me at least) version of the four hand routine where the opponents have feet forward on the same side (e.g., a left bow stance facing a right bow stance). The hand motions are purportedly still versions of peng, lu, ji, and an, but the motion looks very different from the version that has complementary feet positions. There are many implied elbow attacks and grasping/squeezing of the opponents four fingers in circular patterns. Does anyone know if this is a common practice; and if so, in which styles?


PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2001 6:23 pm
by jerome
I've been practicing Tung Family style for several years, and just recently started practicing with a Chen Man-Ching, et. al. stylist. When we push hands, we do not do circles, we just mess around, feeling each other out. I'd never seen this before, but what strikes me about it is the reality of it. I have come to the conclusion that this formless practice is just as important as practicing forms- like two sides of a coin.
I am curious how Yang Family practices and teaches push hands as part of Tai Chi development.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 15, 2001 8:23 pm
by DavidJ
Hello Audi and Jake,

First, as a general thing I recommend reading the article on history at because toward the end of the article are some things that I think will interest you both.

A friend of mine studies with George Xu and by all accounts he is excellent. I've read some of what he has to say and have found it very useful. I believe that he is a Chen master, but that doesn't limit him to only knowing/doing Chen style. He has Chen Tai Chi, Yang Tai Chi, and Xing Yi tapes out, among others.

From what I understand, that left-foot-forward versus right-foot-forward push hands is common.

I don't know if the formless push hands is part of Yang style, (the person I've done this with studies Yang from three lineages, Wu style and Chen Style) but I consider it to be very important.


PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2001 1:35 am
by Audi

Thanks for the link. The history was very good and stated a lot of things more cogently than I have heard expressed elsewhere. I also like the discussion of the eight energies and T'ai Chi combat theory.

The description of squeeze/press energy was new to me. Talking about sticking, adhering, following, and controlling the opponent's center, rather than the limbs, was very well put. I also thought that describing T'ai Chi as producing self-defense abilities quicker than hard styles was also an interesting view point.

If you don't mind, I will post this link in answer to the post about the internal energies, and may add a few comments.


I am pretty certain that "formless" push hands is part of the Yang syllabus. As I understand it, you progress from fixed step, to moving step, to free stepping, and from fixed hand routines to free movement. Certainly during free time at Yang Zhen Duo's seminars, students have engaged in free-style push hands with each other.

My question was about a specific stepping pattern that seemed to break free of the back and forth of the normal moving-step pattern. Basically, with each movement of the four-hand sequence you either crossed stepped or stepped into a horse stance.

The theory was that you had to match the opponent's stepping to prevent having your legs exposed to a sweep, where your opponent would cross step behind you and to the side and would sweep his heel backward to uproot your heel, while striking with the hand to apply splitting energy. The whole sequence looked simple, but really neat, to use a technical term.


PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2001 10:00 pm
by DavidJ

You don't need my permission to post the link. I have no connection to that website. I passed it on because I like what's expressed.