Good Push Hands: Spoiler Alert...it's not about pushing

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Good Push Hands: Spoiler Alert...it's not about pushing

Postby Taste of Death on Sat Apr 27, 2019 10:24 am

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Re: Good Push Hands: Spoiler Alert...it's not about pushing

Postby Appledog on Thu May 02, 2019 5:51 am



This isn't tai chi; it's a mix of wing chun and tai chi and general CMA (probably something like hung gar but I am not sure exactly -- there are certain schools in Taiwan that teach similar combinations). I'm not putting him down, i'm just telling you what he does -- he teaches Chi Sao and Wing Chun side by side with Tai Chi/Push Hands in his classes here in Taiwan, and has developed quite a reputation in the wider community for insisting that tai chi students should learn to push hands before they finish learning the form (ex. http://abbie.freeshell.org/?Martial_Art ... e_articles)

Zeng was a police taekwondo instructor before learning wing chun with yip man. When he got out of the military or retired he learned Tai Chi from one of CMC's students. Anyways that doesn't tell you much about his Tai chi skills. But in the videos there is no push hands instruction going on... Where is the peng, lu? I don't see it.
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Re: Good Push Hands: Spoiler Alert...it's not about pushing

Postby windwalker on Thu May 02, 2019 7:10 am

Appledog wrote:


This isn't tai chi; it's a mix of wing chun and tai chi and general CMA (probably something like hung gar but I am not sure exactly -- there are certain schools in Taiwan that teach similar combinations). I'm not putting him down, i'm just telling you what he does



Why is it that this mythical taiji it's never seen.
But much is written about it.

This seems to be a very modern approach.
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Re: Good Push Hands: Spoiler Alert...it's not about pushing

Postby Appledog on Thu May 02, 2019 9:33 am

windwalker wrote:
Appledog wrote:


This isn't tai chi; it's a mix of wing chun and tai chi and general CMA (probably something like hung gar but I am not sure exactly -- there are certain schools in Taiwan that teach similar combinations). I'm not putting him down, i'm just telling you what he does



Why is it that this mythical taiji it's never seen.
But much is written about it.

This seems to be a very modern approach.


That's an excellent question. As it turns out, because of how Taiji was introduced to the west, and the general bedlam of Taiji for Health in China which preceded it, the general conception of Taiji is that it's a certain type of art compared to other Chinese arts which were introduced to the West before that time, and during that time. Mainly you are talking about your standard Hung Gar, Choy Li Fut, 'Wushu' arts, Karate, Judo, and so forth. The conception is that Taiji is that 'magical' aspect of Chinese Martial arts which all other arts strive for, such as any shaolin based art, incl. wing chun, etc. (even if they don't realize it -- see Ki in Karate, the search for the real Aikido, and how this concept of ki, chi, or force is talked about as a high level 'after' the main part of the art has been mastered).

This certain type of art is that it is a slow, gentle art with no direct combat application such as you will find in (say) eagle claw, praying mantis, or shuai jiao. There is no tough partner work like in judo or BJJ. There are no athetic kicks such as in TKD, Capoeira, and others. This perception of the art as an endless quest for perfect form has taken hold of the public consciousness to such a degree that the actual training methods of 'real' martial arts level Tai Chi has been obscured.

In short, a new 'official' kind of Taiji was created, a health oriented exercise. The martial aspect was somewhat discouraged from being taught, or severely delayed -- in essence the martial aspect of Taiji was cut out (to a large extent) without actually removing it-- placing an obstacle in student's progress by requiring certain qualities inherrent in the form without really teaching people how to train to get those qualities. Thus students could be taught health qigong in the guise of taiji, delaying their martial progres indefinately, while the same general practice could be used to train martial arts, with a few additions that were kept from public dissemination.

Thus, when the time comes that people start looking for the 'real deal' there is an incredible amount of confusion. There are a very large number of otherwise professional martial artists who come from other styles and go into Taiji because they know it is an easy ride -- so long as they have a very good form and can possibly perform a few jin tricks they 'have it made' in the taiji world. It does not matter what style they actually got their skills from, because of the above, no one in the west (and many people in China/etc) really have no idea what Taiji is in comparison to other arts. There is for example a very common saying that 'all three' internal arts work on the same principles (they do not, generally). But the shoe fits, because it seems as if the student is 'going deeper' into the neijia arts and 'figuring it out'. Little do they know this is basically just a setup so people from other arts can bring whatever-may-care into taiji and have it be called Taiji.

All shaolin based arts (all) for example will teach you pile standing and will have soft, slow, relaxed forms and qigongs. None of them are 'Taijiquan'.

So how does the student know what is the real deal, if they are in fact interested in 'Taijiquan' vs. 'anything that's good'? First, there are quite a large number of top level people in the Taiji world. In the Sun family the students of Sun Jian Yun are considered the right style, in the Chen style there are a lot mainly coming from Chen Fa-Ke and Chen Zhao-Pi and Chen Kezong and whomever, in the Yang family Yang Zhenduo, Yang Jun are the right style, and generally from what I have seen the Wu style is mainly okay -- with a large number of good people (like the Chens) such as Eddie Wu, Ma Yue Liang, et cetera.

Take Ma Hong's well known chen style push hands DVD which is actually on youtube. He teaches almost exactly the same things that Yang Jun teaches. Which is almost exactly the same kind of push hands I have seen from the Wu style and Sun style. My point being there is enough similar information coming out from top level people that if you did some time and research into investigating it you would see that a cohesive product is being passed down from a large number of unrelated people in unrelated lineages. My point is not to whitelist certain people or lineages but to point out that what is being taught by all these different people is basically the same. When you get someone like Zhang who teaches in a very different manner, it is a legitimate question to ask whether or not it is taiji which is being taught or if it is something else. If as it turns out he also teaches wing chun, or white crane, or jow gar, or lama pai, or whatever, in the same class as the taiji, then it is no longer a taiji method. Taiji is not a 'type' of exercise such that all slower and more relaxed song-type movements are taiji. It is a cohesive subsystem of neijia which is not necessarily compatable (so to speak) with the training methods from other neijia.

This cohesive product is in stark contrast to what we see in the above video or what you will experience in Peace Park (FWIW) or other similar schools of Tai Chi. For better or worse, what you are seeing is Tai Chi mixed with other arts, and it's not being hidden, it is very well known that the art has been mixed. Huang for example is well known to have taught White Crane forms alongside Tai Chi forms in his school. Zheng above teaches Chi Sao alongside tai Chi push hands. These are experimental methods which are different from the methods which have been passed down. You would have to have a lot of faith in your teacher to follow one of these experimental, untested methods. Maybe you will get something and maybe you will not. Maybe you will get song, and some qi and jin skills -- maybe you won't. One thing is almost absolutely certain though is that these arts will have different results than traditional Taiji training.

You can't just decide to mix hung gar footwork and throw in a couple of wing chun and eagle claw moves and call it Tai Chi. This isn't how Tai Chi works -- it's not a mythical concept, it is just not generally understood in the west because Taiji is now seen as something you can progress into from other arts. This is simply false; all stories of top level people you will read about, when they come in from another style they must stop practicing it.

This is the difference between who can teach you Tai Chi versus who can teach you Kung Fu. Maybe most people don't care, but this is actually highly insensitive. Tai Chi is Tai Chi-- it's not Chow Gar or Choy Li Fut and you can't do a Wing Chun straight blast in Tai Chi, it's a different energy, and what you will end up with -- however good it is in a fight -- can't be called Taiji.

So I would say in general look at the top level people across different styles and try to find a common ground. You'll see that far from being a modern idea it shows that something has been passed down for hundreds of years and, in fact, this modern idea that you can mix whatever and call anything neijia 'Taiji' is actually quite a hypermodern idea in and of itself.
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Re: Good Push Hands: Spoiler Alert...it's not about pushing

Postby windwalker on Thu May 02, 2019 10:08 am

More writing.

My point was that it never seems to be seen,
but people do like to write about it.
Seems like for those with strong feelings about what it is, they themselves would be the examples going out to show or allow others to feel or see it.

Most of the teachers I met in Taiwan were very amicable to having others feel their work.
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Re: Good Push Hands: Spoiler Alert...it's not about pushing

Postby Appledog on Thu May 02, 2019 10:30 am

windwalker wrote:More writing.

My point was that it never seems to be seen,
but people do like to write about it.
Seems like for those with strong feelings about what it is, they themselves would be the examples going out to show or allow others to feel or see it.

Most of the teachers I met in Taiwan were very amicable to having others feel their work.



You're absolutely right.
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Re: Good Push Hands: Spoiler Alert...it's not about pushing

Postby Formosa Neijia on Thu May 02, 2019 8:00 pm

Appledog wrote: My point being there is enough similar information coming out from top level people that if you did some time and research into investigating it you would see that a cohesive product is being passed down from a large number of unrelated people in unrelated lineages.
...
These are experimental methods which are different from the methods which have been passed down. You would have to have a lot of faith in your teacher to follow one of these experimental, untested methods. Maybe you will get something and maybe you will not. Maybe you will get song, and some qi and jin skills -- maybe you won't. One thing is almost absolutely certain though is that these arts will have different results than traditional Taiji training.


I agree that what is commonly put out there is a product to make cash and it's a faulty one, at that. Utterly useless while people push their hands around in endless pretty patterns while they get bilked out of their hard-earned cash. The pajama-wearing crowd all does seem to be in on the racket, too.

These "experimental methods" are pretty standard stuff. I don't see anything particularly controversial in the clips. I like that he insists people "push hands" before they do form and tells folks they can do the form at home. :)

Taiji is nothing special. It came the same sources as other CMA and shares some similar concepts. If it didn't, it wouldn't be a CMA. And there are only so many effective ways to throw someone. Taiji people need to get off their high horse. Moving step push hands competitions have existed a long time in Taiwan for anyone with their pajama-infused qi powers to get out there and show these inferior "mixers" how it's supposed to be done. Yet, somehow that never quite happens.

Anyone would be better off trusting these "experimental methods" to give them actual skills and you'd have to have a ton of faith that the 10-30 year investment in the other methods would evey pay off.
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Re: Good Push Hands: Spoiler Alert...it's not about pushing

Postby Appledog on Fri May 03, 2019 4:05 am

Formosa Neijia wrote:Taiji is nothing special. It came the same sources as other CMA and shares some similar concepts. If it didn't, it wouldn't be a CMA. And there are only so many effective ways to throw someone. Taiji people need to get off their high horse. Moving step push hands competitions have existed a long time in Taiwan for anyone with their pajama-infused qi powers to get out there and show these inferior "mixers" how it's supposed to be done. Yet, somehow that never quite happens.

Anyone would be better off trusting these "experimental methods" to give them actual skills and you'd have to have a ton of faith that the 10-30 year investment in the other methods would evey pay off.


One of the reasons it doesn't happen is because people who wear pajamas and have qi infused powers view push hands as a training exercise. Pushing with the people around here is like engaging in a shoving match. What they call 'push hands' here has absolutely zero to do with actual tai chi push hands. That is actually absolutely fine. Chi sao isn't push hands either that doesn't mean it's not good. And maybe some of these people secretly train proper push hands behind closed doors, I don't know. But here it ain't about proving what is right by walking in and 'winning' against everyone you push with. That's kind of a joke -- it would be like pushing against someone who only does chi sao. The energy is different, and the chi sao guy can't understand why that is okay -- seeing things from his perspective it simply looks wrong. Okay so he doesn't understand it -- also fine, since he isn't interested in doing it. But if he starts saying chi sao is tai chi, that would be dishonest. If he starts saying the traditional method doesn't work, that would be dishonest.

You seem to be the type of person who would rather pick up fighting skills per se than explore the purity of an art (especially since in some cases such a thing may prevent you from learning new and interesting things). That can be good. I remember someone here saying their teacher asked them if they wanted to be a teacher or a fighter. because teachers need to know a lot of stuff fighters don't need to learn, and as such teachers are not always the best fighters (neither are the best fighters usually any good at teaching). For me, I prefer understanding what actually is going on under the hood and how it is supposed to work. I've gotten quite far with that. I know what Tai Chi is, how it is supposed to be trained, and the general progression of the art. I don't know much about other arts (like wing chun for example) other than they are different and incompatible with tai chi.
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Re: Good Push Hands: Spoiler Alert...it's not about pushing

Postby johnwang on Fri May 03, 2019 11:32 am

Appledog wrote:Chi sao isn't push hands ...

When I

- was a beginner, I tried to find the "difference" between MA systems.
- am no longer a beginner, I tried to find the "commonality" between MA systems.

Chi Shou, push hand, grip fight, ... general principles can be applied in all training.
I'm still allergy to "push".
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Re: Good Push Hands: Spoiler Alert...it's not about pushing

Postby Steve James on Fri May 03, 2019 11:54 am

I don't think it's a matter of learning to fight; it's more a question of learning to defend oneself. To that end, one needs a certain degree of health. That is, unless one considers carrying a weapon --which is much more efficient than years of studying any martial art.

When it comes to competition, one needs to do what the competitors do. Fighting means doing what one has to do. So, I agree with John that it's better to use what's useful and not worry about purity. Imo, purity is for museums, and is great for that purpose.
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Re: Good Push Hands: Spoiler Alert...it's not about pushing

Postby johnwang on Fri May 03, 2019 3:25 pm

Steve James wrote:not worry about purity.

Agree! If you still worry about:

- My style doesn't do this.
- This is against my style's principle.
- This is not pure.

You are still too young. When you are interested in kick, punch, lock, throw, and ground game integration, any pure style has little meaning to you. The reason is simple. You task is to make any MA style "not pure".
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Re: Good Push Hands: Spoiler Alert...it's not about pushing

Postby oragami_itto on Fri May 03, 2019 6:52 pm

Not so much "does my style allow this" but more "what is the purpose of this exercise, and does the way it's being practiced serve that purpose".
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Re: Good Push Hands: Spoiler Alert...it's not about pushing

Postby Formosa Neijia on Fri May 03, 2019 8:37 pm

Appledog wrote:You seem to be the type of person who would rather pick up fighting skills per se than explore the purity of an art (especially since in some cases such a thing may prevent you from learning new and interesting things). That can be good. I remember someone here saying their teacher asked them if they wanted to be a teacher or a fighter. because teachers need to know a lot of stuff fighters don't need to learn, and as such teachers are not always the best fighters (neither are the best fighters usually any good at teaching). For me, I prefer understanding what actually is going on under the hood and how it is supposed to work. I've gotten quite far with that. I know what Tai Chi is, how it is supposed to be trained, and the general progression of the art. I don't know much about other arts (like wing chun for example) other than they are different and incompatible with tai chi.


Yes, I have always been primarily about fighting skills or things that can help with that. But taking different arts from different teachers was the only way I could make that process work. By comparing what different people are doing, I gain greater insight into why some things workand some don't. And frankly, this is the way it is in most of Taiwan, as I'm sure you know. the vast overwhelming majority of people here do multiple arts from multiple teachers for that very reason. So no, I don't place any value on purity at all. If Yang style comes from Chen style and Chen came from long fist then doing all of those (as I have) cna give you insights and make you a better teacher.

If you have a source that gives you what you want then that's great.But it doesn't mean that these guys in the clips are wrong.

johnwang wrote:You are still too young. When you are interested in kick, punch, lock, throw, and ground game integration, any pure style has little meaning to you. The reason is simple. You task is to make any MA style "not pure".

Well said.
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Re: Good Push Hands: Spoiler Alert...it's not about pushing

Postby johnwang on Fri May 03, 2019 9:58 pm

Formosa Neijia wrote: And frankly, this is the way it is in most of Taiwan, as I'm sure you know. the vast overwhelming majority of people here do multiple arts from multiple teachers for that very reason. So no, I don't place any value on purity at all. If Yang style comes from Chen style and Chen came from long fist then doing all of those (as I have) cna give you insights and make you a better teacher.

Agree with you 100% there.

99% of the CMA people that I have met in Taiwan, they all have more than one teacher and have trained many different styles.

Most Taiji guy don't want to admit that:

long fist -> Chen Taiji -> Yang taiji
I'm still allergy to "push".
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Re: Good Push Hands: Spoiler Alert...it's not about pushing

Postby Bao on Sat May 04, 2019 12:33 am

By comparing what different people are doing, I gain greater insight into why some things work and some don't.


Best way to understand your own art is to examine it from many different angles and look at it through as many different glasses as possible. IMO.

Most Taiji guy don't want to admit that:

long fist -> Chen Taiji -> Yang taiji


I would not. Most of what is called IMA is found in older Shaolin tradition (not longfist). The development to modern Tai Chi is just no as linear as you make it.
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