Greetings. This is one of the clearest and most interesting explanations of Push Hands by an excellent instructor. A lot to think about. Don’t forget that our exploration of push hands starts on Saturday, September 1, 1 to 4 PM at the Studio.
And don’t be afraid of Push Hands. And realize that, when reading the article I have included, much applies to your Tai Chi form, which is really a pantomime of the martial aspects, that include push hands. Enjoy.
Essentials of the Practice of Form and Push Hands by Li I-yu
Formerly people said: being able to attract to emptiness, you can use four ounces to deflect a thousand pounds. Not being able to attract to emptiness, you cannot deflect a thousand pounds. The words are simple, but the meaning is complete. The beginner cannot understand it. Here I add some words to explain it. If some-one is ambitious to learn this art, he can find some way to enter it and every day he will have improvement.
Desiring to attract to emptiness and use four ounces to deflect a thousand pounds, first you must know yourself and others. If you want to know yourself and others, you must give up yourself and follow others. If you give up yourself and follow others, first you must have the correct timing and position. To obtain the correct timing and position, you must first make your body one unit. Desiring to make the body one unit, you must first eliminate hollows and protuberances. To make the whole body without breaks or holes, you must first have the shen (spirit) and ch’i (breath) excited and expanded. If you want the shen and ch ‘i activated and ex- panded, you must first raise the spirit (pay attention) and the shen should not be unfocussed. To have your shen not unfocussed, you must first have the shen and ch’i gather and penetrate the bones. Desiring the shen and ch’i to penetrate the bones, first you must strengthen the two thighs and loosen the two shoulders and let the ch’i sink down.
The chin (internal force) raises from the feet, changes in the legs, is stored in the chest, moved in the shoulders and commanded in the waist. The upper part connects to the two arms and the lower part follows the legs. It changes inside. To gather is to close and to release is to open. If it is quiet, it is completely still. Still means to close. In closing there is opening. If it is moving, everything moves. Moving is open. In opening there is closing.
When the body is touched it revolves freely. There is nowhere that does not obtain power. Then you can attract to emptiness and use four ounces to deflect a thousand pounds. Practicing the form every day is the kung fu (way of practicing) of knowing yourself. When you start to practice, first ask yourself, “Did my whole body follow the previous principles or not?” If one little place didn’t follow (them), then correct it immediately. Therefore, in practicing the form we want slowness not speed.
Push hands is the kung fu of knowing others. As for movement and stillness, although it is to know others, you must still ask yourself. If you arrange yourself well, when others touch you, you don’t move a hair. Follow the opportunity and meet his chin (internal force) and let him naturally fall outward. If you feel someplace (in your body) is powerless, it is double-weighted and unchanging. You must seek (the defect) in yin and yang, opening and closing. Know yourself and know others: in one hundred battles you will win one hundred times.