Push Hands – Maintaining our own center

Principle: Taiji Push Hands is always about my mind, body, structure, angle, space, timing, etc. It is not an emphasis on responding to my opponent. It is always about

… adjusting my structure, to sustain my center. It involves rotating joints, to reorganize my inner body relationships, creating appropriate angles, to occupy the optimal space for my center balance to be sustained, while my opponent’s space and center is taken away.

— Source: Excerpts: Notes from Daqingshan, 2007, May 5 | Internal Arts IA

What I like about the above quote is the notion that Push Hands is about ourselves, maintaining our own center equilibrium.  It’s not about what our opponents are doing, but what we are doing within ourselves to maintain ourselves.

Click through the link above to see more notes from InternalArtsia on his experiences at the Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method Full Time Daqingshan workshop with Master Chen Zhonghua.

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About wujimon

taiji, meditation and health
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7 Responses to Push Hands – Maintaining our own center

  1. PM Brazil says:

    This notion is also in line with Tao Te Ching “mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.”

  2. Hi Wujimon,

    Thank you for your appreciative comment. I certainly agree with your assessment, that the philosophy of the statement is very inspiring—encouraging taiji practice as pursuit for self development.

    At the same time, having been there taking the notes, I feel very fortunate to have had the abundant opportunities to experience the effectiveness of the principles, as Chen Zhonghua was demonstrating the applied techniques on us every day. Now, as recently as today, as I noted on Internalartsia in this post:

    Chen Zhonghua Video Illuminates May 5 Notes from Daqingshan

    “Practical Method” has posted a youtube which directly elaborates on many of the principles just mentioned in the May 5 Notes from Daqingshan (Youtube – Chen Zhonghua – How to Keep the Center).

    Thanks again,
    Internalartsia

  3. Stephen says:

    It is about responding to the opponent. If you don’t then you can’t adjust your own structure etc without either resisting or breaking off.

    You follow the opponent to know him and then make changes, the higher the level the less time you need to follow for.

    Taiji is built on adhere, stick, connect and follow.

    What was it Sun Tzu said? he he who knows himself (what you’re talking about) AND who knows others(responding to an opponent): 100 battles, 100 victories.

  4. wujimon says:

    @PM Brazil: Great quote from the Tao 😉

    @Stephen: You’re right regarding response, however to me the subtlety I was trying to point out is about perspective. Instead of focusing on our opponent, why not just focus on ourselves and adjust accordingly to any incoming changes. I think we’re saying the same thing, just slight different in semantics and perspective/relativity. In other words, keep the thought of: “I don’t care what you [opponent] are doing, I am focusing on what I am doing”. Like I said, I believe are differences can mostly be attributed to semantics. Thanks for the comment

  5. PM Brazil says:

    @Stephen: I would agree with Wujimon. I think that Lao Tzu and Sun Tzu would both agree that you have to know yourself and the opponent. The difference is that Sun Tzu emphasizes the mastery of others while Lao Tzu emphasizes the mastery of oneself. It is a difference in philosophy. Also, depending on the philosophy you choose, you will use a different approach.

  6. Stephen says:

    Hi Wujimon

    I mentioned the other because you mentioned your other 🙂 Its balance. You need to know yourself and know the opponent. Yin / Yang

    You’re right regarding response, however to me the subtlety I was trying to point out is about perspective. Instead of focusing on our opponent, why not just focus on ourselves and adjust accordingly to any incoming changes.

    Instead of focusing on either our opponent or ourselves – we can join with the opponent and become one thing.

  7. wujimon says:

    @Stephen: great point about joining with the other and becoming one thing 😉

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