Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

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

Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby johnwang on Thu Jun 13, 2019 11:59 am

oragami_itto wrote:
But according to the story a few posts up, against physically fit strikers his PH was of no use.


He came in second overall in one competition and first in another, I'd hardly say that was "of no use". Somebody beat him, nobody and no style is invincible

Huang did not compete the fist fight. Huang was the Taiji PH champion in that tournament. There were 5 champions in that tournament.

- junior (fist fight),
- senior (fist fight),
- adult (fist fight),
- Taiji (PH),
- SC.

The junior division champion and senior division champion didn't compete the "grand" championship fight. The SC division champion gave up. Only the adult division champion and Taiji division champion fought for "grand" championship.
Last edited by johnwang on Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:10 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby johnwang on Thu Jun 13, 2019 12:13 pm

Steve James wrote:Yep. Not only that, he was beaten by the guy who won the tournament..

Again Huang was only the PH champion. He did not compete the fist fight.

In a fist flying game, if your MA skill depends on arm contact, you will need strategy to establish that arm contact. When you try to make that arm contact but your opponent doesn't give you that chance, you will need special training to develop that skill.

A simple test:

- Your opponent throws 20 punches toward your head.
- If you can establish arm contact (or clinch) within that 20 punches, you win, otherwise you lose.

If you can't make contact, there will be no sticky, follow, yield, ... This is a general issue for Taiji, WC, SC. Judo, Aikido. The issue is how to develop that "contact" skill.
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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby Steve James on Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:03 pm

I didn't know there was a PHs champion. My point was that the guy you posted who fought the tcc guy won the fight. IT's irrelevant that the shuaijiao didn't compete. The winner of the tournament didn't just beat a tcc person. And even if the tcc people competed using push hands, they were still tcc people. It proves nothing about phs. Zhang had to beat more people who didn't do phs. There's nothing wrong with saying that the tcc guy lost. There's only one winner. Everybody else is a loser.
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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby johnwang on Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:21 pm

Steve James wrote:There's nothing wrong with saying that the tcc guy lost. There's only one winner. Everybody else is a loser.

That's not the point. The point is what kind of training can help a Taiji guy to deal with face punch.

- Solo form training?
- PH training?
- X training?

If you can't make contact, there will be no sticky, follow, yield, ... This is the general issue for Taiji, WC, SC. Judo, Aikido. The issue is how to develop that "contact" skill.

In the past many years, I tried to solve this problem (face punch) and came up with rhino, octopus, double spear, and Chinese zombie. For my students, the ability of dealing with flying fist has been improved.
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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby Steve James on Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:01 pm

That's not the point. The point is what kind of training can help a Taiji guy to deal with face punch.

- Solo form training?
- PH training?
- X training?


Defending against a face punch is simple. But, I don't think there's any problem with saying that more than push hands is necessary to compete --specifically against people who do not do push hands. Of course, we're not talking about a phs competition. I've said it before, one trains what is necessary for the competition. That's the "X" I think you're looking for. You wouldn't train shuai jiao for a boxing match.
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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby marvin8 on Thu Jun 13, 2019 4:31 pm

johnwang wrote:
Steve James wrote:There's nothing wrong with saying that the tcc guy lost. There's only one winner. Everybody else is a loser.

That's not the point. The point is what kind of training can help a Taiji guy to deal with face punch. Solo form training/ PH training, X training?

The statement, "X training" better helps "deal with face punch" may be supported by:

• In the 1929 Hangzhou tournament, none of the top 15 finalists were tai chi players (drilled push hands).
• Chen village trains sanda. Tai chi practice is not enough to compete in matches.
• Few if any top ranked combat sports fighters (e.g., MMA, boxing, muay thai, sanda, shuai chiao, judo, wrestling, etc.) practice push hands.

A couple quotes from Zhang Weili who will become the first Chinese fighter to be given a shot at a UFC world title on August 31, 2019 when she walks into the Octagon in Shenzhen:
Zhang Weili wrote:The Chinese are warlike and we have a very good tradition of practicing martial arts. If traditional kung fu can demonstrate this ability on the world's highest stage, it can still win the championship and that's what all Chinese would like to see. That's 1.3 billion Chinese people that want to see this. That would be a big following, and whoever this champion is, is going to be very proud and very fortunate. If I had the chance, I'd take it. The key is the combination. It needs to combine Chinese kung fu with modern fighting. That's what me and my coaching staff [Black Tiger Fight Club of Beijing] have been after. . . .

Everybody knows they’re building a Performance Institute in Shanghai. So, I think that international fighters and fighters from China can learn a lot when they get there from kung-fu and other traditional Chinese martial arts. We have a lot of martial art combat principles that would help them a lot.


johnwang wrote:In a fist flying game, if your MA skill depends on arm contact, you will need strategy to establish that arm contact. When you try to make that arm contact but your opponent doesn't give you that chance, you will need special training to develop that skill.

A simple test:

- Your opponent throws 20 punches toward your head.
- If you can establish arm contact (or clinch) within that 20 punches, you win, otherwise you lose.

"If your MA skill depends on arm contact," one may be lured into a punch to the face:

Image

Image

Image
Last edited by marvin8 on Thu Jun 13, 2019 10:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby Trick on Thu Jun 13, 2019 9:53 pm

Steve James wrote:
The “other guy” did TJQ but not PH, therefore he was not lacking in PH ??


Phs is NOT a martial art. It's like saying there was a contest between someone who does Xingyi and someone who skips rope or hits the speed bag instead of saying a boxer.

In general, people who do phs also do tcc. Usually, they do it first. That is not an argument against phs, either.

Met a teacher who only taught PH, On his business card it said Military Arts....He was not really skilled, i found out.
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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby Steve James on Fri Jun 14, 2019 7:34 am

I know several people who specialize in phs and phs tournaments. Some rarely do form or anything else. There's nothing wrong with that. All of them learned the form and could practice it if they chose. None (that I know) only learned phs.

Anyway, the OP thread question is "what is push hands good for?" Imo, it is exceptionally good for learning how to apply the different maneuvers (jins/postures/techniques/etc) in the form. I.e., it's not that any technique "only" works against tcc; it's that every technique (using the practice of phs) can be practiced with someone doing a technique from the form. Or, let's say that every technique in the tcc long form contains an appropriate response that can be turned into a phs routine. The "san shou" form is an example of that idea, even though it's choreographed. Likewise, any movement from that form can be used against another martial art --such as sanda.

It was mentioned earlier that it's rare to see anyone go past the phs training. That's probably true, but not really the issue. The question is the utility of phs, and imo it is good as preparation and development. There doesn't need to be a big debate about how good it is for fighting.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKUdRy1Kj5k
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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby Trick on Sat Jun 15, 2019 1:22 am

Trick wrote:
Steve James wrote:
The “other guy” did TJQ but not PH, therefore he was not lacking in PH ??


Phs is NOT a martial art. It's like saying there was a contest between someone who does Xingyi and someone who skips rope or hits the speed bag instead of saying a boxer.

In general, people who do phs also do tcc. Usually, they do it first. That is not an argument against phs, either.

Met a teacher who only taught PH, On his business card it said Military Arts....He was not really skilled, i found out.

That teacher said when I asked for form practice that Taiji forms was for nothing, PH is the real Taiji practice as an martial art. I who basically for a long time had just practiced form found nothing special about him when I pushed with him.

Actually I find more value skipping the PH and just do the form(correct) and then free play. The Taiji “grasp birds tail” PH seem to easily become a trap, and is almost an sleeping pill for me.
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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby Bao on Sat Jun 15, 2019 2:45 am

[quote=“Trick”]That teacher said when I asked for form practice that Taiji forms was for nothing, PH is the real Taiji practice as an martial art. I who basically for a long time had just practiced form found nothing special about him when I pushed with him.

Actually I find more value skipping the PH and just do the form(correct) and then free play. The Taiji “grasp birds tail” PH seem to easily become a trap, and is almost an sleeping pill for me.[/quote]

Personally I find little use for PH drills after they have been understood. Free PH practice is much more important and should be started early. But then also immediately start to learn how to incorporate and use all of the important Tai Chi principles. Form practice is to learn about yourself. Free PH is to learn about yourself, how you act and react, when someone tries to disrupt and make it hard for you to maintain yourself.
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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby wayne hansen on Sat Jun 15, 2019 11:30 am

When you find freestyle pushing within the set exercises you find a treasure
Don't sell the set exercises short
The problem is most people don't do them correctly and just go along with their partner
GST is the prime example of this
When the hand comes over the top and pulls press to the side it is an error
It should be the bottom hand that pours press into emptiness
But how many do this
Saying that I agree freestyle should be there very early
However it must be right freestyle not bull at a gate mindless butting
Don't put power into the form let it naturally arise from the form
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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby marvin8 on Sat Jun 15, 2019 1:54 pm

hawkins cheung
Published on Sep 23, 2015

This is the application of the form in push hands and close quarter as opposed to distance fighting:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YVvTvdYc1f8

Daniel Fresno
Published on Feb 21, 2014

Tim Cartmell (with bermudas) practicing tui shou mobile:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uj3ZDwR9MLc

Excerpts from "XINGYI, BAGUA, TAIJI: TIM CARTMELL:"

Tim Cartmell wrote:What’s your take on Taijiquan?

Taijiquan techniques are primarily based on throwing and locking. Look at where the art comes from. You virtually only grapple and rarely strike when you’re on a battlefield in armour and you lose your weapon. You’re not going to kick and punch an opponent wearing body armour, you’re going to grab his weapon arm and wrap it up and try to wrestle him to the ground and then access your own weapon or stomp him in the face until he’s dead.

In battlefield fighting, you don’t do a lot of punching and kicking, you do a lot of grappling. Wrestling is the foundation of all martial arts. It’s the same in ancient European martial arts. You learn to wrestle first, because close quarters combat is the foundation of battlefield combat, armed or unarmed. . . .

The second place where you see mostly grappling is in street fights: initial punches are thrown, no-one gets knocked out, so you start grappling. Taijiquan as martial art is based on grappling. Push hands is a type of wrestling drill. Their emphasis was to strike and do some damage and then throw the opponent down. What the style lacks, as with the rest of the traditional Chinese arts is the finish if the fight goes to the ground. If you throw an opponent down you still have to close the deal, unless you knock him out with the throw which is not likely.

Taijiquan certainly isn’t too deadly for the ring. If you do free push hands (including throws and takedowns) on a padded surface, as long as the practitioners know how to break fall correctly you can practice all day long. There’s not one technique in Taijiquan which will kill you. If you watch a push hands competition, they’re throwing each other as hard as they can, sometimes off a Lei Tai platform. How many of them die? With correct practice and the development of realistic skills, Taijiquan is a completely relevant wrestling style for inclusion in combat sports competition.

On the other hand, traditional Chinese styles like Taijiquan are not complete enough on their own to compete in MMA. There’s no ground fighting. Yes there are strikes in Taiji, but if you compare the striking techniques with boxing techniques for example, Taijiquan’s striking techniques will most often be found lacking.

Take a Chen Style practitioner who’s really good at stand up grappling. If you teach him how to box and a little Brazilian Jiu Jitsu , why couldn’t they go in the ring? They could use their Taiji throws. What we called freestyle push hands when I trained in Taiwan and China, we call stand up wrestling in the US. If you’re good at it, you’d be very good at self defence as long as you learn to defend against striking attacks.

Many Chen style guys still spar. Not only soft push hands, they really throw each other practising against full resistance. They have real skills at what they do. Just like Shuai Jiao practitioners. Taiji was invented for stand up fighting. If you said, let’s wrestle, they’d say ‘Sure, why not?’ But if you said to them, let’s do MMA, their correct response should be ‘I’m not prepared for MMA, I don’t know how to box, I don’t know how to ground fight’. It wasn’t created for an MMA ring. It’s the same with boxing: boxers can’t win MMA. It’s not invalidating Taijiquan as a style, it’s just not complete. They need to cross train, as do the practitioners of all other styles.
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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby Steve James on Sat Jun 15, 2019 2:41 pm

Hmm, I agree with the conclusion, but I disagree with the premises. One could say that "all" cmas were created for the battlefield, and so they weren't strike oriented. I say that because I've not heard any evidence that the Chens, for ex., wore armor or were in the military. It's not like xingyi which could be linked to a general. Even so, would xingyi be considered a grappling art?

It's true that there's a lot of standup grappling incorporated into the form. I'm not sure it's there because of the constrictions of armor. First of all, people will fight armored and unarmored opponents, and they'll have weapons when they do. When they lose those weapons, they'll certainly have to go hand to hand. But, I think they'll have prepared for that by carrying as many weapons as practical, and appropriating weapons from the dead. Nobody's thinking about grappling unless it's a last ditch thing.

I agree that someone who is good at phs --of whatever type-- will be able to utilize some of the skills gained if competing in mma. However, that is what mma is by definition. People "mix" martial arts. Where I disagree is that I know lots of people who practice push hands as a primarily striking/kicking art who could easily cross train for mma as easily as anyone else. (Big Country did choy lay fut, for ex.). This is all based on the false premise that it is necessary for someone to compete in the first place. There are "civil" reasons for learning a martial art.
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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby Bao on Sat Jun 15, 2019 3:06 pm

Not a great fan of narrow Tai Chi generalisations in general. Would be better to state "my Tai chi" primarily focus on grappling/wrestling. And I didn't learn anything useful for killing. And I never learned effective punching methods. Just because you ('general you") didn't learn Tai Chi as a complete system doesn't mean others didn't... :P
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Re: Push Hands Hohrr!! What Is It Good For?

Postby Appledog on Sat Jun 15, 2019 7:57 pm

Giles wrote:...one has to write an essay, plus fotonotes and caveats, each time one posts anything. (Which can still be misunderstood, and will usually bore people anyway).

That said, please enlighten as to where (in this thread) you think everyone is 'throwing out the taiji parts'. And indeed why no-one has any idea about what the goal is and/or why everyone is refusing to follow a more traditional approach? :)


You're in the right to call me out in this way, but I still don't feel like writing an essay on the subject yet. I am however writing a book. Don't know when it will be done. The price will be indexed to the price of a first year calculus textbook -- say, spivak. So between $100 and $400. Now that isn't to say that I feel like holding things back online, just what it seems to take to motivate me. Plus I find writing therapeutic.

Anyways there is a goal in push hands, that is to practice the four main energies of peng, lu, ji, an, more or less -- I believe I have posted the Yang Jun video, the Ma Hong video, and a number of others including one by a member of the Wu family, which all seem to discuss the exact same basic fundamentals and mode of practice. My point is that when you step too far out of that sphere, such as the oft repeated sentiments that someone does not like to push in push hands, or they dont like to follow the opponent, or they think push hands is meaningless, or that it doesn't work, or that you 'need more' somehow, or whatever the antisentiment is of the day, then you are not trudging along and making steady progress. And if you are not trudging along and making steady progress then you are not trudging along and making steady progress.

So whose fault is it. I remember a blog post of mine called diary of a failure where I analyzed some now defunct websites of people who no longer come around these parts anymore. One of them said they felt deflated after losing a match of push hands against someone who was bigger and stronger and, frustrated that they could not make it work, gave up and ended up (in the long run) in other martial arts. Well there are a number of problems with the story but the main one is that after all the success they had, they gave up instead of sitting and thinking about it for a while.

Sometimes the problem is you just didn't do your homework, and blaming others is just a way to make you psychologically able to accept your failure and move on. So few times people are unable to blame themselves and do what it takes to succeed. Sometimes that kind of path can be painful but face it. Your mom isn't always going to be alive. Sometimes you just have to deal with it and move on. Sometimes there is never a point.

I kinda just think it's not suited to everyone. Along that line there are two kinds of people you can separate the group into, those who do push hands properly and those who don't, and the secondary characteristic you see emerging in these two groups is that the kind who do it properly tend to do a lot of soul searching and are maybe more humble at accepting their failures. The other ones are more proud, usually more famous or more well known, more outspoken, and tend to do other martial arts to supplement their taiji such as judo. This is important to them because they don't like feeling weak like as if they only did tai chi.

Not sure what else we can draw from that kind of situation but this is something I have noticed over the years. Two different personality types. You can change from one to the other, if you want to, because the martial art you choose helps shape your personality, as well as providing a fit for your extant personality type.
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