Push Hand Strategy

Postby psalchemist » Fri Jul 29, 2005 8:50 pm

hmmm...I wonder if it could be some inadvertant effect of yi?

The chi is sent where one is focusing?

Since I was not focusing my yi on my hands, but rather on listening to what I was feeling/thinking about it, maybe it sent the chi to my head? LOL! I don't know...but I am very curious about it...
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Postby Bamenwubu » Fri Jul 29, 2005 9:49 pm

I have used this experiment before, but was not at that time conscious of the Yang family approach to holding in the chest.
I haven't done this in quite some time, and not in this same way with the same results.
I feel badly about your getting a headache from something I suggested. Again, I feel no ill effects from this practice.

I would recommend not doing this for you, if this is the second time you've gotten a headache from the practice there's a pattern here.
It's nothing earth shattering or important, I only mentioned it because I got such an interesting amount of information from it.

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Postby psalchemist » Fri Jul 29, 2005 10:17 pm


I never doubted your good intentions, and do not blame you in the least for your suggestion. Thank you for your kind concern, I will be fine.

Actually I am glad I did it...for it must hold some significant message for me, rests simply to discover what it is.

My hands became all pumped up too about an hour after the experiment...that is interesting as well.

This is not the first time I glean a delayed reaction like that...and I find that interesting as well. Do you have any idea what a delayed surge of energy to the hands is caused by?

Actually, my more powerful reactions have been the delayed ones~ I would really appreciate any comments on that...

Thank you for giving me all these questions Image

Best wishes,

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 07-29-2005).]
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Postby JerryKarin » Sun Jul 31, 2005 4:57 am

Regarding armpit, in his book under important points for rollback, Yang Zhenduo mentions:

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
2. Let's dwell for a moment on the two armpits (or underarms). As the two arms move and turn, especially when the hands fall during the opening movement, or postures where the weight sits on the back leg, frequently the arms stick to the body, closing up the armpit. This is not only uncomfortable, the external appearance is poor and one is easily controlled by others so that one is left quite helpless. For this reason it is required that in the process of practicing tai chi chuan, the two armpits must be opened to hollow out a space of about one fist. The arm stands apart from the upper body and cannot get stuck against the upper body. This way, you can create the right conditions to 'sink the shoulders and lower the elbows', 'hold in the chest and pull up the back' and you leave the margin neccessary for agility in transitional moves where you change the angle of the body or where the arms are changed so that you won't be controlled by an opponent. In other words, the external forms of the postures appear big and open, and the internal energy will appear especially full and rich; your qi and postures will be continuous, giving onlookers a sense of beauty. In the past in my hometown we had a saying: 'When you practice tai chi it is required to hold an offering in each armpit.' ('offering' is a kind of steamed roll offered to spirits in Hebei province) The main idea of this is to practice keeping a certain space between the armpit and the upper body, so that you retain an extra margin of agility for transition and turning and thus create a good habit in practice.

[This message has been edited by JerryKarin (edited 07-31-2005).]
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Postby Louis Swaim » Sun Jul 31, 2005 11:40 pm

Greetings Jerry,

That's a nice useful passage. It's interesting how the opening of the underarms is one of the keys to containing the chest and pulling up the back.

Take care,
Louis Swaim
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Postby psalchemist » Mon Aug 01, 2005 1:18 pm

Hi Jerry and Louis,

I agree that this is a great exerpt from Master Yang Zhen Duo...thanks for sharing this write up Jerry.

It took Louis' commentary to impress its ultimate importance upon me though...I really must attempt the embracing of ALL the essentials at once...for they are truly ALL dependant upon each other.

Impressing these essentials upon the body so they become unconscious embodiements is a very long process, but one that must be accomplished before I can say I'm doing TaiChi Image Still gazing at the horizons....... Image Wei Ji ~

Thanks for the invaluable advices.

Best wishes,

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 08-01-2005).]
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Postby psalchemist » Mon Aug 01, 2005 1:43 pm

Here is my explanation of "Wei Ji" for anyone who might find it interesting...derived from the Yi~Ching, the book of changes. I hope this informal little side note is not offensive to anyone... Image Best wishes~


It sat on the banks,
One little rust fox.
Surveying with interest,
The outlay of rocks.

Which speckled the river,
So many, so few.
They were stepping stones,
The little fox knew.

It needed a way,
To forge chasms wide.
So sitting it pondered,
Intensely it eyed.

It could simply swim,
But current quite strong.
Be swept away swiftly,
No that way was wrong.

There was a high crossing,
An old, frail tree.
Had fallen across,
A bridge it could be.

But fragile seeming,
A treacherous risk.
It could give its way,
In sudden crack brisk.

It studied the stones,
The red and the blue.
And in its still mind,
A path wound and grew.

Deciding its course,
It had some great doubt.
As to which sequence,
The precise right route.

Alas, it must try,
For it had to cross.
For better for worse,
For gain or for loss.

The first few were easy,
It leaped in spry spirit.
But then he encountered,
A gap, would he clear it?


[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 08-01-2005).]
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Postby shugdenla » Mon Aug 01, 2005 4:08 pm


What is the actual progression of Yang style tuishou training?
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Postby Bamenwubu » Mon Aug 01, 2005 4:25 pm

Ah! I knew I had seen something about this in one of my books from the Yang family.
I have, however, been concentrating so much on the DVD I had not yet taken the time to dig into my books and research it out.
Much and many thanks.
I'm VERY glad I wasn't too far off on that concept. I'd have hated to have all these positive feelings and the flood of good results that have come from holding in my chest slightly and lifting up my back in the way I've discovered recently.

It's nice to be somewhat correct for a change!

I especially like that I gave a correct answer at Saturdays practice!
One of the students at our Saturday morning practice asked me a question about what the GM addresses in this passage, about the closing of the armpits as you lower your arms and how to not do that.
I must have remembered that passage somewhere in the back of my head, I have read it countless times with little understanding of it's meaning (I had NO idea what an "offering" was, for one), and I fortunately appear to have given the proper response to the question.
I admit I carried on a bit in my response to the point where some of them got glazed eyes, because we have been discussing it here and the idea was fresh in my mind. But I feel that I may have gotten some of the practitioners there to begin to understand holding in the chest and lifting the back.

Again. WHEW!
I seem to have gotten one right for once.
It's SO rare!!!

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Postby Audi » Fri Aug 05, 2005 12:52 am

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by shugdenla:

What is the actual progression of Yang style tuishou training?</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Hi Shugdenla, this is a short question that could be answered in many different ways depending on your intent. What exacly are you getting at, and what do you mean by "progression"?

I think we have talked a lot about various aspects of tuishou before; and it is not clear, at least to me, what you are asking about here.

Take care,
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Postby cheefatt taichi » Fri Aug 05, 2005 2:27 am

Hi Shugdenla,

Very generally, from the angle of sensitivity development it will be 1st to acquire `tinjin' (hearing), then `dongjin' (understanding) and finally, `jiren' (second nature). From the angle of skill level, there is beginner, ping sao (common hand), hou sao (good hand), kao sao (high hand)and miu sao (beautiful hand). Technical progressions are single push hands, double push hands, open hands, 4 corners push hands, da lu and san sao. So its pretty much what you are looking for in terms of progression.
cheefatt taichi
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Postby Bamenwubu » Fri Aug 19, 2005 5:12 pm

I received this article from an interested party. This is the complete article from Li I-Yu, not just parts of it.
It says what I tried to say earlier about knowing yourself through PH's practice, only much better than I ever could have hoped to.

by Li I-yu
as researched by Lee N. Scheele
Formerly people said: being able to attract to emptiness, you can use four ounces to deflect a thousand pounds, Not being able to attract to emptiness, you cannot deflect a thousand pounds. The words are simple, but the meaning is complete. The beginner cannot understand it. Here I add some words to explain it. If someone is ambitious to learn this art, he can find some way to enter it and every day he will have some improvement.

Desiring to attract to emptiness and deflect a thousand pounds, first you must know yourself (learned by form and Push Hands) and others (learned by PH). If you want to know yourself and others, you must give up yourself and follow others (Done through PH). If you give up yourself and follow others, first you must have the correct timing and position. To obtain the correct timing and position, you must first make your body one unit. Desiring to make the body one unit, you must first eliminate hollows and protuberances. To make the whole body without breaks or holes, you must first have the shen [spirit of vitality] and ch'i [vital life energy] excited and expanded. If you want the shen and ch'i activated and expanded, you must first raise the spirit (pay attention) and the shen should not be unfocussed. To have your shen not unfocussed, you must first have the shen and ch'i gather and penetrate the bones. Desiring the shen and ch'i to penetrate the bones, first you must strengthen the two thighs and loosen the two shoulders and let the ch'i sink down.

The chin [intrinsic strength] raises from the feet, changes in the legs, is stored in the chest, moved in the shoulders and commanded in the waist. The upper part connects to the two arms and the lower part follows the legs. It changes inside. To gather is to close and to release is to open. If it is quiet, it is completely still. Still means to close. In closing there is opening. If it is moving, everything moves. Moving is open. In opening there is closing. When the body is touched it revolves freely. There is nowhere that does not obtain power. Then you can attract to emptiness and use four ounces to deflect a thousand pounds.

Practicing the Form every day is the kung fu of knowing yourself. When you start to practice, first ask yourself, "Did my whole body follow the above principles or not?" If one little place did not follow them, then correct it immediately. Therefore, in practicing the Form we want slowness not speed.

Push hands is the kung fu of knowing others. As for movement and stillness, although it is to know others, you must still ask yourself. If you arrange yourself well, when others touch you, you don't move a hair. Follow the opportunity and meet his chin and let him fall naturally outward. If you feel someplace in your body is powerless, it is double-weighted and unchanging. You must seek the defect in yin and yang, opening and closing. Know yourself and know others: in one hundred battles you will win one hundred times.

I find it particularly telling when Li I-Yu says:
"Push hands is the kung fu of knowing others. As for movement and stillness, although it is to know others, you must still ask yourself."
This complete quote bears out the point of view I was going for pretty nicely.


[This message has been edited by Bamenwubu (edited 08-19-2005).]
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Postby Bamenwubu » Wed Aug 31, 2005 2:45 pm

If anyone can stand any more on this:

"... When mobilization reaches its peak there is movement, and when sensation reaches its peak there is awareness. Movement and awareness are easy, but mobilization and sensation are difficult. By first seeking to develop conscious movement in yourself and realizing it in your own body, you will naturally be able to know it in others. If you seek it first in others, it is likely that you will miss it in yourself. It is essential that you understand this principle, and the ability to interpret energy follows from this."

from the Yang Family Forty Chapters, "Our Natural Powers of Discrimination", translation by Douglas Wile in his Lost T'ai-chi Classics from the Late Ch'ing Dynasty, p. 66.
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Postby shugdenla » Wed Aug 31, 2005 7:11 pm


Thanks for the response.
It is rare for anyone to describe a process in Yang style tuishou so thanks. I know the mechanical (technical) pattern like single hands, 2 hands, four corners, etc but not the various hand skills?? pertaining to level of listing (dongjin) and so on.
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Postby cheefatt taichi » Thu Sep 01, 2005 2:58 am

Hi Shugdenla, tingjin and dongjin are abilities that will developed when you do push hands often enough. Primarily importance is to be fully focus and aware of the process to feel your opponent during push hand practise. This conscious concentration will speed-up your ability to arrive at tingjin and dongjin, without concentration push hand skills will always maintained at low level.

Secondly, stick steadfast to the principles of push hands i.e. forearms do not cross the centerline of body, armpit always maintains a hollow, move using whole body rather than hand alone, do not use strength and etc. If you can do these, your skills will improve very fast.
cheefatt taichi
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