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PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 2:38 am
by rvc_ve
There is this article in the latest INSIDE KUNG FU from a guy in china (I dont remember the name Damn it!!!) who is actually pretty respected taiji teacher. He states that he teaches push hands first and then the form. His new students will spend more that a year just on push hands without even being introduced to the solo form!

That to me sounds completely backwards, but he explained how it has better results. What do you guys think???

Maybe I should try it with new students?????
Naaah too scarry! I'll stick to the way I learned!

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 9:09 am
by HengYu
That might be logical in a developmental sense. The original Daoist exercises were performed;

1) Sitting down.
2) Standing.
3) Moving.

Certainly, within qi cong, often holding the '3 ball' posture, precedes form traing, etc

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 4:36 pm
by dorshugla

In agreement because that was how most systems were learned. The post standing methods (zhanzhuang) served as background, stabilization and root building befor actual form.

Modern training is form is all, which is a misnomer. Marketing wise, form sells and this "new age" tai chi philosophy is a good product. Give them what they ask for so many things are lost.

WHen I first started to teach, I started with post standing 'exercise' and the dropout rate was 95%!!! No one want s to sweat.

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 5:17 pm
by rvc_ve
But would you teach pushing hands BEFORE the form? Thats the question. Whe all know that standing post practice its an important element, there is no argument there, and the intention of the post is not to criticize one way of teaching or the other.

But There was an article in a well known magazine from a master claiming that is was best to teach push hands and then form, so...which one would you think is best?

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 6:19 pm
by Wushuer
Just my two cents on this.
How do you teach the student proper movement for push hands without first training, at least, push hands form?
You would have to teach them the proper form to use for push hands, so you are, in effect, teaching them form to teach them push hands.
It may only be single posture form, but it is form none the less.

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 6:48 pm
by rvc_ve
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Wushuer:
<B>Just my two cents on this.
How do you teach the student proper movement for push hands without first training, at least, push hands form?
You would have to teach them the proper form to use for push hands, so you are, in effect, teaching them form to teach them push hands.
It may only be single posture form, but it is form none the less.


Thak you great 2 cents!!!

Actually I do agree 100% with you/ It surprised me a lot to read this article, specially since this guys students end up being asia champions and everything, even though he claims his style is not competitive in nature.

The way I understand it, and the way I was taught, form must come first. That way you learn proper posture, alignment, rooting, and also get to understand the theory behind movement before trying to apply it.

But since this master (its a shame I dont recall the name I have to buy the magazine!!!), is a senior practitioner and teacher from Asia, maybe he is up to something, and its deffinetly worth pondering about it.

PostPosted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 10:18 pm
by rvc_ve
[QUOTE]Originally posted by dorshugla:

Yes. I would teach push hands (basic-meaning single and double) in conjunction with post standing. Push hands /rolling hands is sensitivity training therefore valid. It is of part of many.

Before the form? hmmmm! interesting! Thank you for the answer!

PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2003 1:06 am
by DavidJ
Hi rvc_ve,

If the push hands patterns included the 'Grasp the Bird's Tail' pattern and Da Lu, I could see learning that before form.

I think that a lot depends on the teacher. It might work well with one, but not another.

David J

PostPosted: Fri Dec 19, 2003 2:35 am
by Audi
Hi Ray,

I think a good teacher can make just about any kind of training work, depending upon what they actually do in class and on the type of students they have. One concern that I would always have about emphasizing push hands, however, is that many people inevitably focus more on “martial” results than on skill development. In my opinion, there are many ways that one can learn to push and throw opponents around, without necessarily developing traditional skills of Taijiquan. If one simply wants to learn general martial skills, this may be fine; but it can also be a great hindrance to learn other more subtle skills. Once you learn to do things one way and actually make it “work” to some degree, it can be very difficult to give up that method to seek something else that may initially be more elusive, but ultimately more rewarding.

I personally think it is a good idea to start push hands early, since it can provide good support to other aspects of training. I nevertheless wonder whether it can cause confusion if not introduced in proper context.

Take care,

PostPosted: Mon Dec 22, 2003 3:46 pm
by Wushuer
A thought that I had while pondering life in general...
Maybe this guy who teaches push hands first was tired of hearing that TCC isn't martial?
If you teach some martial right up front you can't be accused of not being martially oriented.
I used to think my Sifu wasn't teaching me enough "martial" applications once upon a time. When I voiced my opinion about this, he laughed at me and told me I knew much more about the "martial" aspects than I knew I knew.
When I asked how this could be he laughed again and suddenly launched a punch right at my stomach. Without even realizing what I was doing I performed a necessarily modified for the circumstances brush knee and push, which accepted and redirected his incoming punch and knocked him back about three feet away from me with my push.
He was still laughing himself silly as he bowed to me.
Indeed, I knew much more martial application than I ever imagined and he proved that very quickly.
However, some teachers don't know that they can teach martial applications without ever teaching a single martial application, so they give up too much "applicaton" training in the mistaken belief that thier students are not learning any on thier own.
I have to agree with Audi, in that sometimes teaching someone one set way of doing things leads them to limit their thinking. They are convinced that the first thing they learned is the only way to do something, instead of keeping their mental faculties open to new ideas.
Your students can be their own best teachers, not to mention your own best teachers are your students.
Just my ramblings on a Monday morning without enough coffee....

PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2003 2:47 pm
by lalsup
There is an old saying, practice the form to develop body movement, and practice push-hands to find the mistakes. Then practice the form to resolve the mistakes.


PostPosted: Wed Dec 24, 2003 11:47 pm
by Polaris
In my school the form is a filter for undesirables. There just aren't many 'Joe Ninjas' or other thugs who are going to spend the 6 odd months necessary to learn a long, complicated and (to them) abstract set of motions. IME, they want to learn the martial "good stuff" right away that PH may represent to them, and we purposely hold off on it to see if they have the patience to learn the entire form. Sure, we could teach PH right away, but I'd rather to get a bit of a handle on the student's character first. You can learn a lot about a person in 6-8 months...

PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2003 12:23 am
by rvc_ve
Dear Polaris,

Its true that the form also teaches patience. However, your aproach may make students think that form practice is some sort of "punishment" and that after they have proved to be "worthy" the are not requred to practice it anymore.

My opinion only!

PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2003 12:26 am
by Polaris
Oh don't worry, we don't tell them that! LOL! We just say, "this is the way it's always been done in our schools" and leave it at that. We tell our instructors, or people who have gotten through it and may ask, that it is a filter, but not the newbies. Too much information! If they ask again I ask them what the last form they learned was and ask them to show it to me. That gets us right back to the premise that in our schools the expectation is on them. The way I've been taught is that the students have to prove themselves to us, not the other way around. If they don't think we are qualified they may vote with their feet. If I want to punish a student I will have a good reason, they will richly deserve it. There are lots of psychos out there!

Incidentally, I teach for the Wu family, and am a long-time disciple of Wu Kwong-yu, so that is where I learned these principles.


[This message has been edited by Polaris (edited 12-24-2003).]

PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2003 5:03 pm
by Wushuer
I remember well learning my long way through the long form.
It took me right about the six months you mention, and about seven different instructors teaching me ninety differing interpretations of the Wu form, until Sifu Britt would step back in and show me how he wanted it.
Then Sifu Eddie came for the first seminar I attended, I believe it was in '89, and he spent three days refining our forms the way he wanted. It was much harder!
But I got there, slowly. As soon as I proved to Sifu Britt that I could do the form fairly accurately from beginning to end, he started me out on push hands.
I was SO happy, for about two minutes.
That's how I found out that I knew NOTHING of TCC! All I knew was how to move my body kind of the right way to get started.
The more you know, the more you know you don't know.
That's why I said before that in order to train push hands before the form, you would need to train push hands "form". Without these basic body mechanics required to do push hands, all you are doing is wasting time and working up a sweat.