Push hands is a quiet and gentle cooperative exercise involving two people. Their arms and hands alternately carry out pushing and yielding action with the aim of increasing their capacity to relax under pressure. This can be summarized by saying push hands involves the interplay of opposites: positive and negative, relaxation and force, yin and yang.

Why is it important to practice push hands?

The three pillars of Tai Chi Chuan are the practice of forms, meditation and push hands. The Tai Chi Chuan master of the past invented the game of push hands as a method or sparring. It is especially good for developing the sensitivity to listen to your opponent's actions. If you are correctly following the Tai Chi Chuan principals of Relaxation, Natural Continuous Motion, Circular Motion, Sinking and Rooting you will see this in your pushing hands practice. Besides being the test of your Tai Chi Chuan principals in action, it is also a wonderful way to share energy between two people, and it's fun.

Push Hand Essentials

1. When your opponent strikes you with strength, instead of opposing him (force against force), you simply withdraw your body, neutralizing his weight. Thus his weight will be emptied and will not come to your body

. 2. When attacking your opponent you should not attack him immediately. Your hands must first lightly touch his body, and as soon as you interpret that he is going to resist you, you yield (withdraw) slightly and then immediately attack.

3. When interpreting your opponent's energy, you should not put too much weight against him during the time of interpretation. If you have too much weight against him and he moves you may too easily come off balance. To improve your Push Hands and ultimately your Tai Chi Chuan you must "invest in loss"

The Purpose of Push Hands

1.Push hand teaches one to fully realize what sensitivity of the entire body means. Externally the practitioner develops an acute sense of touch transmitted throughout the skin. Sensitivity and awareness is also developed internally.

2. The practitioner learns how to empty the body of all force. When one rids the body of force, one can experience what it is like to be a twinkling star; the body is there and yet it is not there.

3. Through understanding the principals of push hands, one can learn to balance Yin and Yang in daily experience. Thus the quality of life as a whole is enhanced.