(Flowing with your Opponent to Overcome Him)

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 learned three techniques to fell an opponent. Remember that in a real fight, felling an opponent onto the ground is insufficient to win a combat, unless the fall is drastic like breaking his skull or bones. He would just jump up to continue fighting you. Hence, you need to follow up with a coup de grace, or if you do not want to hurt him, subdue him in such a way that he concedes defeat.

On the other hand, you may employ other techniques or tactics to lead you to a successful felling technique. You may, for example, begin with a palm strike, and as he responds to your initial attack, grip his arms and pull him to fell forward, using the tactic of continuous attacks. Or, he may attack you with a thrust punch. You can also grip his arm and pull him to fall forward, using the tactic of instantaneous counters.

Taijiquan Pushing Hands

In this series, you will learn how to reverse falls. In other words, an opponent tries to fell you, but to his surprise he finds himself felling onto the ground instead.

Taijiquan Pushing Hands Taijiquan Pushing Hands

Roberto moves forward, closes Attilio's hands, and pushes him to fall backward. Without moving his legs but sinking his body backward to "swallow" the push, Attilio holds Roberto's both wrist, and pulls them leftward and backward by swinging his waist to his left side. This will cause Roberto to fall forward.

Attilio's counter is a modification of the "lu" technique in Yang Style Taijiquan, or the pattern called "Earth Dragon" in Chen Style Taijiquan. It was the same technique Roberto used to fell Attilio in the previous series.

Taijiquan Striking Hands Taijiquan Striking Hands

Now, what would you do if an opponent applies "Earth Dragon" on you, pulling you to fall forward. One way to reserve the fall is illustrated above.

Roberto holds Attilio's right arm and pulls it to his right and back, simultaneously moving his front right leg backward. This will cause Attilio to fall forward.

Instead of resisting, Attilio moves his back left leg a step froward and places it behind his front right leg. Immediately he moves his front right leg a step forward. At the same time he spreads his right arm slantingly forward, felling Roberto backward, using the "fen" or "spread" technique. Instead of placing his front leg in front of his opponent, he can places it behind to prevent Roberto moving back.

Taijiquan Striking Hands Taijiquan Striking Hands

Fromthe Pushing Hands position, Roberto places his front right leg behind Attilio's front leg. closes Attilio's arms and throws Attilio to fall backward.

Taijiquan Striking Hands Taijiquan Striking Hands

Attilio swiftly moves his back left leg a small step backward. This shift of footwork will neutralize Roberto's leverage advantage which is necessary for his throw.

At the same time, Attilio lowers his stance and presses down both hands at Roberto's arms. This subtle movement will press Roberto to fall onto the ground. Just follow the instruction as explained, without doing anything extra, and you will be amazed how easily you can fell your opponent.

Do not, for example, attempt to pull your opponent to fall -- just press down your hands. And do not use brutal strength; perform the movement gracefully. Remember this is Taijiquan, not wrestling. You will be surprised how effective this apparently simple technique is. However, it is important your stance must be firm.

Naturally, it needs more skills to reverse a fall than to fell an opponent. Hence, you should practice the sequences very well before you can apply these "fall-reversing" techniques skillfully.

More important than the techniques themselves are the stances and correct timing. If your stances are not firm, or you respond too early or too late, you would be unable to reverse the falls even though you use the right techniques.

The principle of "reversing falls" may be helpful in your work or social life. If your enemies try to discredit you, you may reverse the effect on them by applying this combat principle. Solid stances and correct timing, which are essential for a successful application of this principle in combat, are translated as upright character and efficiency in your work and social life. In other words, if malicious schemers attempt to harm your reputation with falsehood, you can be successful in reserving the fall on them only if have been upright in character and efficient in your work all along.

Taijiquan Pushing Hands

Taijiquan Striking Hands


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