(What would You Do when your Opponent is your Equal)

Taijiquan Pushing Hands

Editorial Note: This is originally meant to be a private webpage for students of Shaolin Wahnam Institute. Nevertheless, as there is not much information on Pushing Hands and Striking Hands although they are crucial aspects of Taijiquan, some explanation is given so that other Taijiquan practitioners may also benefit.

When you and your partner have practiced the previous series well, you will find that either one would have difficulty hitting the other. This is so because both of you are well trained. But if you meet an opponent who is not well trained, or worse who is never trained in combat application, it would be easy to strike him.

But if he is also well trained like you, and you fail to hit him though he may not be able to hit you too, what should you do? You should then seek advantages. This series provides an example.

Taijiquan Striking Hands

Roberto and Attilio are at the "peng" position sensing each other. Both use the right mode, i.e. right hand and right leg in front.

Taijiquan Striking Hands Taijiquan Striking Hands

Sensing an opportunity, Roberto moves his back left leg forward to a left Bow-Arrow Stance to strike with his left hand. Attilio wards off with his left hand, simultaneously moving his front right leg backward into a left Bow-Arrow Stance.

Immediately, taking an advantage that Attilio may not have stabilized himself after his movement, Roberto glides his front left leg forward and places it behind Attilio, and simultaneously brushes aside Attilio's left arm so that his back is expose. Roberto is about to strike Attilio's back.

Roberto has gained both a tactical advantage and a technical advantage with this simple move. He employs the tactic of continuous attacks, as well as positions himself behind Attilio, making it more difficult for Attilio to defend. Fluid footwork is necessary to gain these advantages. It is therefore helpful if you spend some time just practicing the footwork.

Taijiquan Striking Hands Taijiquan Striking Hands

Roberto attacks Attilio's back with a right palm strike. Attilio seems helpless, but not quite. He moves his back right leg diagonally forward and turns his body leftward, covering Roberto's attack with his left hand.

Just a moment ago, Roberto has manoeuvred himself to a locational advantage, attacking Attilio from his back. But with a swift change of footwork, Attilio turns the table around, changing a disavantage to a slight advantage, facing Roberto from his side.

To overcome Attilio's advantage, Roberto has to adjust his position accordingly so that he may face his opponent frontally. Or he may choose other options.

The above sequence offers some ideas how you can create advantages over your opponent. Attilio could neutralize Roberto's attack despite his advantages because Attilio was well trained. Others who are untrained or poorly trained would be struck by Roberto from behind.

You should now work out some other sequences on your own, and practice them with a sparring partner. A good approach is to follow the guidelines in Pushing Hands, namely

  1. Frontal Attacks.
  2. Right Attacks.
  3. Left Attacks.
  4. Back Attacks>
  1. Continuous Attacks.
  2. Confusing Attacks.
  3. Instantaneous Counters.
  4. Interception.

In fact the principles are similar; the difference is that in Pushing hands you employ “an” or “push”, whereas in Striking Hands you employ “da” or “strike”.

Taijiquan Pushing Hands

Taijiquan Striking Hands


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