I know this thread my run counter intuitive to the way taijiquan is taught, but I was wondering if you had to use a technique from your forms that had a high probability of success from a close range altercation what would it be? My reasoning is that from the interview/dialogue stage and from the 'fence', you want something that allows you to regain or steal the initiative from your assailant, in order so that you may bring to bear your other skillsets. While push hands allows you to bring many of these skills to bear (takedowns, escape from the clinch and takedown defence), I feel this would happen later on from the fence, but not immediatly after it. This incidentally is not something that is particulary missing in taijiquan, but is a shortcoming in many arts or at least the way people practical approach self defence. I practice Chen style Taiji and I noticed that many of the applications have warding off of strikes as a prerequisites for applying techniques. After quizzing my instructor on this he suggested that practicing 'circle hands' (a variation in yang style is 'cloud hands') would be particulary useful in the first instance, to a the very least ward off or find the line attack as well as giving the opportunity to gain the attachment needed for the trapping/push hands distance. Anybody find this to be true? And other ideas/suggestions for techniques delivered from the fence?