Stop going for the big push!!

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

Stop going for the big push!!

Postby Walk the Torque on Wed Jul 21, 2021 3:42 pm

Its true to say that a lot of demo stuff is initially quite interesting. Even the wild fajin blasting across the room is sort of alluring at first, with its promise of impenetrable defense and awesome powah!!

Once you cotton on to the jive though it is a little disappointing to say the least, with so much depending on the receiver and the low percentage of incidents where this kind of power can be applied to send your opponent. Even though I have done this on occasion I wouldn't wont to rely on it as a go to technique.

The real issue I have with the chi blasting demo game is that, while it might (sometimes) demonstrate some real internal skill of the issuer, the general reactions to it with calls of Bulshido! and such like tends to encourage folks to "throw the baby out with the bathwater" so to speak.

If we take the "big push" out of the picture and take a look at the skills that can arise from either power testing or pushing hands, such as the specialized form of chin na, or unbalancing, uprooting/sticking etc. and concentrated on that, I think it would add more credence to the arts we practice.

As the classics tell us not to look for the far and neglect the near (I paraphrase of course), its time we started demonstrating more concrete techniques like throws, take-downs or even balance compromising and follow up strikes instead of the almost sensationalist "big push".

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Re: Stop going for the big push!!

Postby johnwang on Wed Jul 21, 2021 7:52 pm

The leg skill is the issue. If you

- don't use leg skill, it will be just a push.
- use leg skill, it will be a throw.

Here is a push with leg skill "inner hook".

Image
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Re: Stop going for the big push!!

Postby Walk the Torque on Wed Jul 21, 2021 8:28 pm

Hi John,

yes that would help for sure.

Also using fajin for any other technique except push really.

I also think it would be a good idea to stop allowing people to push you on your body in pushing hands. That way you have to develop a higher level of hand/arm skills.
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Re: Stop going for the big push!!

Postby johnwang on Wed Jul 21, 2021 9:41 pm

We can see many video that a teacher push his student. But we have never seen any video that a student pushes his teacher, why?



Here is a student who throws her teacher. If you taught your student right, your skill should appear on your student.

Image
Last edited by johnwang on Wed Jul 21, 2021 9:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stop going for the big push!!

Postby Subitai on Wed Jul 21, 2021 9:55 pm

I'm going to assume that this thread about "big PUSH" is primarily about Taiji demos involving pushing?

Personally I think the priority in the modern day should not be PUSH as you say...
* Push can be useful if you are using it to PUSH someone into something else. Or into an advantageous position...blah blah.

BUT if all you can do is PUSH then, its a limited attack. Being able to weather a storm, defend and ultimately setup your opponent is more important IMO.

FOR SURE, I think at least a teacher or coach should be able to demonstrate that 1st. That they can defend themselves vs a serious attacker. Casual and health only people really don't care for this type of skill so i'm not concerned about them.

About the Push Demos.... I mean nobody seems to respect them anymore. They seem to have gone the way of the DODO. (except to newbs)

* The only thing I really care about when I see a demo is: 1) how skilled is the attacker and 2) how did the defender respond ?
3) is it sparring or real ? Lastly to stay on topic with your thread, "if a big push was applied... how well did they set it up? "
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Re: Stop going for the big push!!

Postby Bao on Wed Jul 21, 2021 10:37 pm

Pushing away an opponent is mostly useful in free, moving push hands. In stationary PH, unbalancing is enough. If someone moves around, he will just step away if you try to unbalance him. So you need to trap his balance in some way or lift his root. You can use takedowns, throws, pushes or whatever. But the "long" push is a consequence of push hands as a training method as well as Tai Chi's focus on unbalancing and controlling balance. The real, authentic "big" push also need a certain type of developed body skill.

3) is it sparring or real


The tai chi push is a training method to learn how to uproot and handle an opponent's balance and body mass. It's not for sparring. It has its uses, but in common sparring it's pretty pointless unless caught in very specific situations. It's not done anyone should aim for testing in sparring.
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Re: Stop going for the big push!!

Postby Trip on Thu Jul 22, 2021 12:26 am

Here's an effective push

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Re: Stop going for the big push!!

Postby Steve James on Thu Jul 22, 2021 6:14 am

I was taught that "push" as in push hands isn't "An" --the way the energy/power/etc is expressed. You know, as in peng, lu, ji, an. The difference is that one is horizontal, and the other is diagonally downward --as opposed to diagonally upward. (Btw, I know. Ymmv and others look at it differently. Just explaining my perspective).

Afa pushing an opponent away as a defense, it's way more useful than dumping him on his head. In real life, there'll be fewer legal ramifications. In competition, head dumping is fine --wrestlers train for it. And, yeah, if it's him or you, dumping him head first onto concrete will probably end it. But, between the two, which one do you figure you'll use more in your life? Or, which one have you used more in your life?

Oh, that's not to say that knowing how to "push" is all anyone needs. At best, even when misunderstood, "push" is only 1/13th of taijiquan.
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Re: Stop going for the big push!!

Postby Bao on Thu Jul 22, 2021 1:34 pm

I was taught that "push" as in push hands isn't "An" --the way the energy/power/etc is expressed. You know, as in peng, lu, ji, an. The difference is that one is horizontal, and the other is diagonally downward --as opposed to diagonally upward. (Btw, I know. Ymmv and others look at it differently. Just explaining my perspective).


The character "An" has no direction. It just means to press something, like putting you hand on something. You can "an" an elevator button, or you can see if you can reach up to "an" the roof. Chen style has adapted the name "an" to a specific movement, but that doesn't mean that "an" as movement or "energy" necessarily must go downward. The movement in a form is just an example of one of the 8 gates can be used. None of the 8 gates is a specific direction, but they can all be used in many different ways.

At best, even when misunderstood, "push" is only 1/13th of taijiquan.


Maybe you meant "8". The five steps are not techniques. But in any case, I don't believe that this is a fair generalisation. Nothing in Tai Chi is used equally and people have their own favourite methods and specialise at different things. So for someone, "push" can be a main method. Other ones might not be interested in its use at all.
Last edited by Bao on Thu Jul 22, 2021 1:35 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Stop going for the big push!!

Postby Steve James on Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:14 pm

The character "An" has no direction. It just means to press something,


That seems to be a contradiction. Pressing has a direction.. But, I'm talking tjq terminology.

Maybe you meant "8". The five steps are not techniques.


Nope. They're not "techniques," but they are essential, especially number five. Though, moving forward, backward, left, and right, do not require stepping. They are directions of body movement --and central equilibrium also includes/requires up and down. All are coordinated.

That's my perspective. I don't expect agreement. The way I was taught and currently understand is that it is forward and down. Some would say "like water flowing" and mean it.
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Re: Stop going for the big push!!

Postby Bao on Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:51 pm

Steve James wrote:
The character "An" has no direction. It just means to press something,


That seems to be a contradiction. Pressing has a direction.. But, I'm talking tjq terminology.


No, I said "the character an" = The Chinese character = 按. In Chinese, "an" or "press" (It does't mean push, "push" is just a bad translation) is not limited to any specific direction. "An" can be up, down, forward or to the side. There's no specific direction associated with the Chinese character or word. The Tai Chi movements of "push", which are different in different styles, are only examples of how to apply the principle "an".

The way I was taught and currently understand is that it is forward and down. Some would say "like water flowing" and mean it.


This is just an example and a specific technique. Remember that they are called "Jin", energies, or "qualities" for a reason. Why would peng or lu be done in different ways and directions and "an" not? It doesn't make sense that one of the 8 jins could be qualities but another must be a specific technique. It's about qualities, as well as ways of using and organising the body. The techniques are only examples of many ways to use them.

Oh, and btw, a couple of Yang teachers taught the opposite. It should be first down and then upwards. Like a wave. What you describes sounds more like the Chen style standard.

Maybe you meant "8". The five steps are not techniques.


Nope. They're not "techniques," but they are essential, especially number five. Though, moving forward, backward, left, and right, do not require stepping. They are directions of body movement --and central equilibrium also includes/requires up and down. All are coordinated.


I have absolutely no idea how each of the eight gates/jins and five steps could be regarded equal in importance and represent "1/13th of taijiquan".
Last edited by Bao on Thu Jul 22, 2021 2:54 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Stop going for the big push!!

Postby Ian C. Kuzushi on Thu Jul 22, 2021 3:57 pm

I was also taught that An was a downward pressing energy. This was expressed in how we did the more obvious "pushes" in the form. You can't really tell by watching, but if you feel it, the downward force is very clear. You don't launch them back or out unless you want to. The standard would be to push them through the root of their back foot causing them to crumple. Standing on their front foot helps disable their stepping out of it.
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Re: Stop going for the big push!!

Postby Trip on Thu Jul 22, 2021 4:04 pm

:)
Last edited by Trip on Sun Jul 25, 2021 2:36 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Stop going for the big push!!

Postby Walk the Torque on Thu Jul 22, 2021 5:36 pm

Even though I like the direction model, I like the version of An that relates to the quality of clinging (like the trigram fire) best.

In this interpretation the hands stay attached to the arms/body in whatever direction it moves; feeding the borrowed force from the opponent back, it can stick to the body and as the body or mass starts to move away we follow accelerating or "backing off" if required to keep the correct connection.

As a set up if a raising/sticking precedes the body moving away it will result in a long sending of the opponent. If the opponent crouches down to spring up An can repel the force in a weak direction (crumpling the body structure).

The feel of An can be quite Yin as it is constantly receptive to the opponents force whether moving into or away from you.

My point though is that An may result in the opponent being sent some distance but that it not the goal; Rather it is to stick and follow.

What it seems a lot of folks go for is the explosive fajin, which IMO is just an addition to any of the 8 powers in Tai Chi.

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Re: Stop going for the big push!!

Postby robert on Thu Jul 22, 2021 6:27 pm

FWIW Yang Banhou's training manual assigns the eight jin to directions.

八門五步
[1] THE EIGHT GATES & FIVE STEPS

方位 八門
position / gate:
掤 南 坎
warding off – S / ☵
捋 西 離
rolling back – W / ☲
擠 東 兑
pressing – E / ☱
按 北 震
pushing – N / ☳
採 西北 巽
plucking – NW / ☴
挒 東南 乾
rending – SE / ☰
肘 東北 坤
elbowing – NE / ☷
靠 西南 艮
bumping – SW / ☶

Old Chinese and fang shui maps have south at the top so ward off is up and push is down.

Anyone who has done push hands should be aware that that ward off, roll back, press, push, and so on are also techniques. The jin and the techniques aren't a perfect match - a push is a push, it is not a pull. A push can be down, straight across or upward. My opinion.
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