Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Mar 29 2008

3/9-26 Tuishou

At class on the morning of the 9th, Teacher Xu showed me an article he found in a magazine about me. It took me a moment to realize it was one done last year that had only just been published recently. Of course, it included the usual embarrassing photographs.

I was rusty after so long between practices. I practiced with a new guy who kept falling down, making me use less and less effort. I wasn’t pushing him down, however. He just kept losing his balance. I went through some sword form, and then practiced with the UPS guy. It’s hard to push him as he doesn’t seem connected and is able to effectively isolate parts of his body. Pushing with him usually comes down to a simple matter of who has the furthest reach, and it’s a tie as he’s the same height as I am.

The veranda where we practice was permeated that morning by the smell of an ointment one of the older students had bought for aching muscles. Little Qin took a look and sniffed, “You got that on the street? I wouldn’t trust it.”

And that was Saturday. I got another cold, incredibly, and didn’t go to class again until last Wednesday, the 26th. It was just after the election, but nobody was talking politics. I was very tired and out of shape, and I’m afraid I used a little too much force. But not as much as another new guy, whose opponents seemed to be flying this way and that, especially Mr. V, who tends to do that anyway. Teacher Xu told me that the young fellow was actually a competitive pushhands athlete, so his ideas were rather different than ours. He introduced me to him, said, “Why don’t you two have a go?” and left.


I did manage to avoid being tossed around like the others. I had to keep my wits about me, to be sure. I didn’t dare directly attack, but instead relied on pushing him off balance when he was applying force, which he was doing more or less constantly. For the most part it was a tie, but also a contest to see who could lose track of real pushhands the most, and I think we both did a good job in that respect. He tired me out, though, in the end. I’m not sure if either of us learned anything from the experience, but at least I got a good workout out of it.

posted by Poagao at 10:56 pm  


  1. can’t wait to push with ya! Let me know when you’re in NC!

    as for the article, it leaves me to ask a question: “It seems you think awfully alot about how much force you are using… is your teacher(s) all wanting you to push- as it were a real street confrontation?”

    one teacher lets me play hard…and the other is quite formiddable in push hands too- he takes it easy easy easy. slow and steady…yield to even a feather falling gracefully. Years of the later will eventually produce more a more refined skill.

    biomechanically… if you research the idea of what they call a “wedge” or “bridge” you can easily offset someone who is new or has a novice experience level.

    At least that’s my take on it.
    from the CCB

    Comment by Michael Joyce — March 30, 2008 @ 9:25 pm

  2. Our teacher tells us that force is to be avoided, that relying on force won’t teach you anything about tuishou, which I agree with. He’s even against weight-lifting, because it trains you to do exactly the wrong thing.

    It’s just that some of the students, mostly the newer guys, tend to not get it and treat it like a wrestling match.

    I think I understand the wedgie/bridge idea; it’s true that it’s not hard to use on a novice.

    Comment by Poagao — March 30, 2008 @ 11:37 pm

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