Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

May 09 2007

5/9 Tuishou

First to the park again. A couple was playing badminton when I arrived, badly because of the wind. I warmed up with the forms, expecting all the while to be hit with an errant birdie. Slowly the other students began to arrive. The V and the guy who is not from Hong Kong gave each other advice, while the little guy and another student wrestled violently under the protective gaze of the tree-root master.

First up was Mr. Hu, who is often away on business in China. His vulnerabilities seemed easy to find, and pushing with him was relatively easy. Then Mr. You arrived and, instead of warming up, beckoned to me for a bout. He was a man on a mission tonight, in full tree-root mode. No softness to be found, just fully intent on force. It was surprising, because he is not usually like that. Most of our bouts ended in draws, with both of us falling over at the same time.

Yang Qing-feng arrived and started doing jumping forms with his scimitar, a heavy, shiny weapon with his name and the year engraved on the blade. He seems really into it. Teacher Xu showed us a way to twist our opponents in a fashion to make them tense up and offer more vulnerabilities, but I didn’t quite get the hang of it.

I practiced with Mr. Yu, who started out softly and properly, but after a short while he resorted to hard shoving. I found I had to be careful as it seemed to me that he might not hesitate to break something. As I was practicing, I thought to myself, I should push, but then I realized that I can’t just push; I have to wait for an opportunity presents itself. Wait for an empty spot and fill it. This is something that often doesn’t occur to my conscious mind, but rather turns up as a mere feeling or inclination. Perhaps this phenomenon gets clearer with practice; I hope so, but I’d still like to understand it better.

All the yanking back and forth was a strain on my back, but nothing serious. All the more reason to be as soft as possibly. Resistance is futile, indeed. The Borg should be great at tuishou.

posted by Poagao at 11:56 am  


  1. “I should push, but then I realized that I can’t just push; I have to wait for an opportunity presents itself.”

    Just a thought, but the opponent can be lead in ways that create openings. This can make your taiji more active rather than re-active. One of the best ways to do this is by working on a lot more than just push. It sounds like you’re working with a “just push” group. The forms obviously contains more options than this. Are you being taught to use those options in class?

    Just curious.

    Comment by Formosa Neijia — June 18, 2007 @ 8:03 am

  2. Yes, our teacher is all about the interaction, leading and exchange of energies that are also part of the forms. However, many of the students are “just push” people, it seems. Also, I find that by “looking” for opportunities, I tend to, without quite realizing it consciously, create them.

    Comment by Poagao — June 20, 2007 @ 11:58 pm

  3. well, it’s over a year now, but what about Press? Is that part of the “just push” repertoire?

    Comment by neijia — August 4, 2008 @ 11:08 am

  4. I’m not sure what you mean by Press.

    Comment by Poagao — August 4, 2008 @ 11:17 am

  5. Sorry, I mean the usual English translation of the character ji – æ“ – is “press” as opposed to an – 按 – which is translated “press” as well as “push” but in English taiji vocab seems to be called “push” most often.

    I am possibly the real worst person at push hands but I think it’s much easier to do an as crude shoving and harder to do ji as shoving (or easier to do ji more correctly so it’s felt more like a wave). That’s my limited experience in semi-cooperative practice. I wonder what happens with it in your group.

    p.s. I like your comment preview widget!

    Comment by neijia — August 4, 2008 @ 2:15 pm

  6. Oh, I see. Yeah, that certainly sounds like a better starting point. Our teacher actually doesn’t like the word “push”.

    Comment by Poagao — August 4, 2008 @ 7:23 pm

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