(How to Maneuver your Opponent into his Unaccustomed Mode)

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.

In the previous series you have learnt how to attack with kicks and how to defend against them. Earlier you learned various ways to gain advantages over your opponent, such as attacking from the sides or the back, and employing tactics like continuous attacks, confusing attacks, instantaneous counters and interception.. In this series, while continuing with kicking attacks, we learn another way to secure an advantage.

Taijiquan Striking Hands

Roberto and Attilio are at the "peng" position observing each other.

Taijiquan Striking Hands Taijiquan Striking Hands

Seeing an opportunity, Roberto places his left arm under his right arm and "threads" it diagonally forward and upward, thus "opening" Attilio's defence. Simultaneously Roberto executes a left side kick, which is technically faster than a right kick and it also has a longer reach than a thrust kick.

Attilio moves his front right leg backward and lowers his stance backward to avoid the kick.

Taijiquan Striking Hands

Immediately Attilio moves his body forward, without moving his feet, and counter-attacks Roberto with a left palm strike. Roberto moves his kicking leg backward into a right Bow-Arrow Stance and wards off Attilio's strike with his right hand.

Do you notice any difference between this sequence and other sequences?

The change of stance is quite obvious, although it may not be obvious to many others who may not have the opportunity of systematic combat training. Roberto still remains at the right Bow-Arrow Stance, but Attilio has changed to a left Bow-Arrow Stance.

If all other things were equal, who has a technical advantage in this situation? The answer is Robert. Why?

It is because the right mode is the preferred mode. If you and your sparring partner have been practicing at the right mode most of the time, and now he is at the left mode, often without him realizing, you would understand your advantage. In other words, by maneuvering him to use his left mode, he is maneuvered into a position where he cannot effectively use his best skills and techniques.

It is helpful to note that martial art techniques (and also skills) are not equally practiced between the left and the right sides. Generally there are more techniques on the right mode. Moreover, the types of techniques are also different between the left and the right.

Would it be a good idea to be trained on both sides, like practicing your kungfu sets by reversing left and right? That will need much more time, and is often unnecessary. Analogies can be readily found in everyday life. For example, your left and right fingers type different lkeys on your keyboard, and it is unnecessary to train your left fingers type the keys of the right.

There are numerous ways to maneuver your opponent into his unaccustomed mode. The above is an example. Attilio has to move back his right front leg, otherwise he would still be within range of Roberto's kick.

After maneuvering your opponent to an unfavourable position, you have to exploit this technical advantage by attacking him or continuing with other relevant moves. However, we shall leave this to later stages; it is sufficient here to develop the skills to secure such an advantage. Of course, other techniques besides a side-kick can be employed for this purpose.

As it has been mentioned frequently in our Shaolin Wahnam School, all these combat principles are also applicable in daily life. So the next time you negotiate with your associate, you should not do so at his office. If you invite him to your office, you will have home advantage but it may be too obvious. A subtle way is to invite him to your favorite restaurant.

Taijiquan Pushing Hands

Taijiquan Striking Hands


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