Man is probably the only creature on Earth that forms habits that are detrimental to its health and smooth functioning of its body. Society has caused more damage then nature ever has. Just look at tight clothes that restrict movement; high heel shoes that tip the pelvis, and cause all sorts of foot and ankle problems; chairs that hurt the back and shorten the hamstrings; cigarettes that restrict the breath and cause cancer.
When we practice Tai Chi, we form a bond with our bodies that allows us to move beyond the limits of destructive habits into the open space of joyful and conscious movement.
Why does ons study Tai Chi Tui Shou (push hands)? The main reasons are martial skill, philosophy in action, application understanding, form understanding, relaxation in motion, inter-personal communication, just plain fun.
Tui Shou has various meanings. The most common is “push hands”. This is quite misleading. Most of the time, the interaction does not involve pushing as much as neutralizing, yielding. People get turned off at the idea of pushing someone else. Too martial. And in reality, it is the legs that do the pushing and pulling with the hands only as a conduit between your legs and the partner’s body.
Master Choy called it “join hands”. Better choice of words, I think. The main idea of Tui Shou is to learn the important skill of sticking to a partner, moving with their energy, not fighting back.
Another possible translation would be “understanding energy through touch”. Most people are too busy talking to listen clearly and understand what is being communicated. Tui Shou forces and encourages listening above all other skills.
More on this next week.
A Friendly Reminder
For those of you who have recently joined our Monday Morning Tips family, all the past 175 (as of last week) tips are up for your view or review. Just go to www.gilmanstudio.comand click on Training Tips. They are all there, dating back to 2015. I hope you enjoy them and that they inspire you to practice with more determination in your heart.
Full Studio Schedule
Starts on Monday, Sept. 3. Please visit www.gilmanstudio.com and click on Studio Classes. Don’t forget, first class is always free.