Really interesting Video comparing Push Hands judging in America and China

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by aaradia, Aug 1, 2015.

  1. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    My first CLF instructor posted this on Facebook. It was part of a much bigger article on a more broad based subject, but this clip in there was the part I found most interesting.

    I need to mull it over and watch it again. But several things did stand out.

    One thing, I don't have enough experience in competitions outside my school system to know if the American example in this is a common example of push hands judging in America or not. I would like to hear from others with more nationwide experience?

    I wonder if the lines on rules are so clearly one way in China and another in all of America? Or if one competition is being used as if it represents all US competitions when it does not?

    But that head judge definitely IS doing some idiotic overbearing ridiculous judging IMO. And he is definitely catering to that hippy concept of what TCC is. :rolleyes: So I hope it isn't a fair all encompassing comparison.

    Really curious to hear what others think of this.

    [ame=""]Pushing the Issue: Tai Chi Push Hands Tui Shou - YouTube[/ame]
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 1, 2015
  2. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    IMHO, ask what are the bad habits that a rule set promotes.

    I could take the Chinese push hands in the video and ask, where are the strikes? Strikes from push hands can be like a compression of the internal organs. Rather than uprooting, this causes the body to collapse and shut down.

    Rather than causing the enemy to collapse, the contest becomes one of uprooting and throwing. A bad habit that could be developed is to focus on rooting so much that you leave yourself open to a fight ending strike.

    In the American example of push hands in the video, I could ask, where is the force? It seems that the contest is one of trying to be softer than the other. A bad habit that could be developed is to focus on softness so much that you end giving up the initiative to a superior force. I think you are right that this could be like the "hippy" concept of TCC.

    So IMHO, every rule set can build bad habits, so training should address these gaps. I think the Chinese push hand example is perfectly good as a way to test balance and flexibility. I think the American example might be perfectly good as a way to test softness and sensitivity (although the jury is still out on this one since the contests were constantly stopped for rules violations).

    What I can say is that both are okay as long as it is clear what the value and purpose of the training is for. This is to help avoid building of bad habits by not understanding the context.
  3. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    I'll ask "Where are the throws and locks?" What kind of skill do you intend to develop in an environment that

    - strikes (include both kicks and punches),
    - locks, and
    - throws,

    are not allowed?

    It doesn't matter what MA style that you may train, you want to develop skills for kick, punch, lock, throw, and ground game. IMO, "push" is not among any of those skill catagories.
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2015
  4. qazaqwe

    qazaqwe Valued Member

    Well, push, as you put it, would at best be a set up to either strike or throw, i'd imagine.
  5. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    The "pull" can be used to set up strike and throw not "push". You should keep your friend close but your enemy closer.

    Last edited: Aug 2, 2015
  6. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    Should always stun or unbalance before lock or take down. To me, the skills from push hands should both take into account unbalancing and stunning. In this way, while unbalancing the opponent, practicianers do not leave themselves open to striking.

    However, we all have to start somewhere. Starting under an agreement of no striking seems okay to me to help learn and test things out under more controlled situations.

    I see now that you mentioned it, another area that is limited. After unbalancing, it seems that pushing is used rather than locking or throwing. As long as they unbalance before pushing, I can see value in the exercise. But I see your point, having a throw or lock after the unbalance would be better. The value I see is that you make it very hard to be unbalanced since you spend so much time training that aspect.
  7. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    This is a peculiar argument. You might as well critisise Judo for not allowing strikes, or boxing for not allowing throws.

    These were vdieo clips of pushing hands competitions. Pushing hands can take many forms, but will always have a ruleset - it isn't all-in wrestling!

    There are plenty of things that can be critisised about the stuff in the videos, but critisising pushing hands for not allowing 'a bit of everything' is silly. It completely misses the point.
  8. Johnno

    Johnno Valued Member

    The Chinese version was clearly pretty relaxed about what was allowed. It was a very 'open' ruleset and the competitors seemed to understand it perfectly well.

    The American version had a very restrictive ruleset, which the competitors seemed to have some difficulty in following, and which seemed to be rather difficult for the judges to follow at times!

    I'm not sure what you mean about the 'hippy concept' though. I think the American ruleset is trying to get the competitors to use skill to defeat the opponent rather than relying on brute force. And of course it is disallowing techniques such as throws, which while a perfectly valid part of TCC (just as strikes and joint locks are) they don't necessarily form part of pushing-hands practise.

    The idea of using relaxation to overcome force isn't 'hippy', it's the fundamental principle behind Taiji. (cf. the Taiji classics.) However, trying to impose such a narrow ruleset in a pushing hands competition probably isn't the best way to teach Taiji principles. They should be learning that in class, then trying to apply it in competiton. If they can't do that then they are wasting their time doing Taiji, they might as well learn something else.
  9. Knee Rider

    Knee Rider Valued Member Supporter

    Hard to find fault with the commentary provided in the video. American comp appears neutered by comparison to its Chinese counterpart. Seems like the product of placing a romantic/flawed ideal over pragmatism but I'd be interested in hearing the history on how competition rules and Reffing developed in USA.
  10. Knee Rider

    Knee Rider Valued Member Supporter

    I agree with this. Seems like a better class exercise (if properly contextualised by teacher) rather than full fledged comp format.
  11. Xue Sheng

    Xue Sheng All weight is underside

    Likely not a popular view, but competition push hands is ruining push hands. Push hands is not for fighting or any of the things they are doing with it. It is a tool to help you learn how to "properly" use taijiquan in application. Competition push hands is stand up wrestling, that is all and not taijiquan
  12. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    We do. We criticize pretty much everything for lack of something. Lack of striking, lack of weapons, lack of multiple attackers, lack of fundamentals, lack of realism, lack of resisting opponent, etc.

    However, I think when we do this, it is mostly in regards to what bad habits or bad behaviors we see. Not that what we see is necessarily correct, but just our opinions.
  13. qazaqwe

    qazaqwe Valued Member

    Need to stiffen up that jab more, bro.
  14. PointyShinyBurn

    PointyShinyBurn Valued Member

    Should being good at taijiquan make you better at stand up wrestling?
  15. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Shouldn't it be the aim, to ''use skill to defeat brute force'', if there's no brute force allowed, how to you develop the skill to defeat brute force.

    You cant shortcut your way to deep skills.
  16. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    [ame=""]Marcelo Garcia and Tuishou Chen Do Karate-do - YouTube[/ame]

    If you do it properly, hopefully!
  17. ned

    ned Valued Member

    Push hands can be trained with compliant 'soft' drills" but the benefit of competitive or live training is the element of resistance that those compliant exercises lack ; taiji is about an interplay of hard and soft
    Of course the best approach (and most fun !) is to use both methods to develop a practical understanding of the art.
  18. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool Spes mea in nihil Deus MAP 2017 Moi Award

    so what your saying is, For the soft to overcome the hard, then you need to practice against the hard sometimes.

    seems legit!
  19. YouKnowWho

    YouKnowWho Valued Member

    Agree! If you develop bad habit from certain training, you will need another training to remove it.

    Even if striking is not involved in the training, you should still assume that your opponent's fists can land on your head. If "sport" is not your only interest, your training should cover all areas.


    This is why there are Sanda/Sanshou (kick + punch + throw) and MMA (kick + punch + throw + lock + ground game).

    If Taiji push hands format is used to develop skills such as listen, sticky, yield, follow, ... then what format is used to develop kick, punch, lock, throw, ground game?

    It seems to me that the training after Taiji push hands is missing.

    Taiji form -> Taiji push hands -> ???
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2015
  20. Rebel Wado

    Rebel Wado Valued Member

    It might make you better in some situations, but the real benefit probably only comes if you have a foundation in stand up wrestling.

    For example, I learned much more about my Aikido training after cross-training in other arts, including BJJ.

    Based on this, if you want to learn more about TCC, after building a foundation, then cross-train in stand up wrestling.

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