Back in the day, I remember hearing a story of how a westerner competed in the Chen Village push hands tournament and WON THE WHOLE THING! At first, I did not believe this until I actually saw VHS footage of the whole tournament! Recently, this footage has been posted on youtube and you can access it via the following:
I remember I did this type of training with one of my teachers back in the day. While it looks like it’s just a lot of brute force and pushing, there’s actually quite a bit of sensitivity training, strategy and conditioning involved. I remember reading somewhere about the goal of taiji is to allow for us to have a calm mind and react accordingly in the face of danger and other stressors.