Push-hands advice for a beginner?

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by KrazyKaiju, Apr 17, 2009.

  1. KrazyKaiju

    KrazyKaiju New Member

    Hello MAP,

    I've been doing Tai Chi for about 1.5 years. I've accumulated a couple forms and have made a bit of progress since day 1. :rolleyes: At least...it's as much progress I can make while being a full-time student.

    However, things have been really busy at school lately, and I'm lucky if I'm able to practice my Tai Chi 3 times a week. I've been getting a bit rusty, and now, it seems that I'm losing some very important components in my Tai Chi practice. Namely, I'm losing my ability to release my hips and drop my weight.

    It all kind of hit me when I did push hands yesterday. Man, I got annihilated! A couple of the guys kept getting at my torso and letting out quick, sporadic pushes. I'm afraid of pushing too far - I'll just get pulled. If I do nothing, they can just play around with me. But trying to push with them is like either pushing a brick wall or a pillow. Either I feel their center and can't move it or I can't feel their center at all. I just think my push hands is BAD, and I don't think it'll improve any time soon.

    Part of the problem is that I don't know what kinds of "openings" I should look for in an opponent. I seem pretty decent at feeling another person's force on a skin-sensitive level, but by that time, the opponent already has control of me! Closing my eyes helps me relax a bit, but I can't see any openings.

    AAAGH!!! So much frustration!

    Does anyone have any quick and dirty tips for push-hands, rooting, or anything of the sort? Perhaps some general rules of thumb? (I'm not looking to win - just to improve my Tai Chi, but I just don't feel like that's happening any time soon)

    P.S. This was me last night: :bang:
  2. old palden

    old palden Valued Member

    As a matter of fact, I do have a quick and dirty tip, and a general rule of thumb.
    Measure your tai chi experience in years instead of months....
    Then once you have that down, measure it in decades instead of years.
  3. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    listening skill is one of the corner stones of taichi. I would say keep practicing push hands as much as possible. The problem is as much lack of practice with partners in push hands as much if not moreso than solo training. Its easy to get rusty with both.. Try this tactic, when you sense or feel fullness, connection, hardness, stiffness etc. in their structure use that to fajin or push against (taking their centre out of their base) and where you feel looseness, emptyness, lack of connection you want to pull or lead their centre away from their base - using it to effect and manipulate their structure in such a way that you unbalance them. Remember to work along the dead angle as much as possible. When force is applied to you or at you, you want to either use emptyness or rotate it away like a wheel turning round an axis (your torso).

    just a little something you can try. also work on using the 8 methods particularly ward off and roll back in as many ways as you can. If you didn't already you could also check out the link to an essay on push hands i posted recently which offers a few pointers.

    Oh and quick dirty tip 101 - practice, practice, practice!
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2009
  4. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    In this case, keep practicing and let it improve in it's own time. No need to hurry :)

    Heed Old Palden's advice.
  5. Puzzled Dragon

    Puzzled Dragon Valued Member

    Another 'dirty trick': ask your partners what they would advise you to do in a particular situation. Get them to talk to you, and learn from them.

    Chances are, the same thing will not work with another partner, or even with the same one at a different time.

    Then do remember Old Palden... and don't forget to practice the form slowly, that ought to bring about some rooting, sooner or later. Also, get into the moment and come back to your studies later, you cannot be in the head and well rooted at the same time.

    Don't know, Kaiju, a couple of forms in 1,5 years seems too much by far. Going fast, but not going deep, by necessity. That way it might take longer than some decades...
  6. El Medico

    El Medico Valued Member

    Ok Krazy, I get that this time of the year many students are under the gun and training drops off a bit or a lot depending on the individual and what they're studying in school.We used to lose all the engineering students every year at this time.

    You say you're lucky to practice 3 times a week right now.

    Ancient Chinese secret-get up a little earlier and practice first thing in the morning,even if only for 15-20 minutes.Even with cracking the books late it shouldn't be that awful to sacrifice that much wink time.Depends how much you want it,of course.Anyway,at least you've done a little something for the day even if you don't practice later.Makes a difference.

    If after 1 1/2 years you're having trouble dropping your hips due to lack of practice lately,I'm inclined to think it may be the end of year stress you're under right now rather than sporadic practice.How long under normal circumstances do you normally train outside of class?

    Here's a tip which may help-there's a line in the old writings,the gist of which is if your waist -(or hips)- are troubled,check your legs,and vice versa.

    Regarding PD's comment on your having learned two forms,are they different?Or was one just an introductory form to the second?If they're totally different,such as Yang and Chen,or Chen and Hao,PD makes a good point.As you've no doubt discovered,it takes about a year to learn how you're supposed to train as opposed to just learning/memorizing the sequence.It takes about another two years of serious practice to really get your form down well.Splitting time between two different forms,if they are different,is probably somewhat counterproductive at this stage,unless you train like a madman.

    Push hands tips are moot if you're unable to keep your structural integrity-so just keep working on dropping those hips and don't worry about getting creamed or your inability to cream them,ph is about learning,not winning.

    Then again-

    "The purpose is always to win." Cheng,Man-ch'ing.

    But win correctly,with structural integrity,otherwise it's a hollow victory-it's about doing it correctly,not just being the one who didn't lose his balance.
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2009

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