Many people do not know that Tai Chi Chuan is a Martial Art.

Many people have also heard that Tai Chi Chuan is a Martial Art and then watch some buffoonery on YouTube where some self proclaimed “Master” get his ass kicked by an actual Martial Artist.  This is simply because the person masquerading as a Master of Tai Chi is just an Idiot and deserved to get his ass handed to him.

May I note, that there has never been a Female Tai Chi Master who has ever gotten her ass kicked, willingly, on YouTube for preaching such stupidity.

If you are going to learn how to fight, you need to put yourself in the position of getting beat up.  After you learn how to get beat up, then you can learn how to do the beating up.  It’s plain and simple.  There are no magic tricks, there is no special force, there is just you and how you choose to train.

In our school we teach Tai Chi Chuan as a Martial Art, this is because my father made his name famous, not because of what he talks about, he made his name respected by how he let his actions speak for himself.  He trained, he fought, he won and people sought him out to teach them.  Did you know that dad didn’t embark to become a Tai Chi Master, people sought out the Tai Chi Master in him?  That’s how Master William CC Chen happened.  His students made him.

Every school has a different approach to how they choose to teach their Martial Art.

We begin with everyone learning the Tai Chi Chuan Short Form.  We do this to approach our learnings from the inside, out.  The form is about feeling, your own timing and coordination.  It’s understanding your mechanism of breath and how internal energy flow is a reflection of the mind and our physical movements.

After the form we allow people to experience Push Hands if they want.

Push Hands I’ve always found to be a unique way of reading people.  They’re a kind of tarot cards.  Whatever a person complains about in Push Hands is usually a reflection of how they see themselves in relation to the world and the way a person chooses to flow with push hands is usually a more interesting reflection of how they look at life.

I’ve seen people become bullies in push hands and I’ve seen people nurture through practicing push hands.  It’s a very interesting balance to study the personality types and the ones who come away sensing aggression and the ones who come away intrigued with the a ability to always be able to find balance.

You always discover either one or the other, when it comes to the kinds of minds.

Push Hands to me was a very important stepping stone into my Full Contact Career.  I never expected to even try Full Contact Fighting, but it was the challenge that I thirsted for and I had become too comfortable with push hands.

Push hands prepared me in so many ways, which made my transition into full contact seamless.  I had been undefeated for about 10 years in Push Hands competition, so my experience was vast and it really prepared me for all things unexpected all of the time.  When you deal with sports that are one on one you really don’t get much more intimate than push hands.   There’s a unique aggressive, non-aggressive thing about push hands that keeps you in-tuned for the expected as much as the unexpected.  Even when I was in-tune with what I felt I knew to expect, I was also keenly aware that the unexpected could pop up and out and sometimes both, at any time.  You work very closely, skin to skin with people and the energy is so raw.  The dynamics between the weight and energy shifts can be as subtle as they are surprising and this always keeps you on your toes for anything.  It’s a funny comfort in enjoying the experience of the unexpected, because of the expected.  It’s a unique art form that is a truth teller, but my favorite place of truth is still the boxing ring.

Here’s the thing with push hands, no matter who thinks they are in control, you are in control.  You meet force with force, force will keep coming back at you.  You help force find a new direction, you find ways to flow.  You wanna get scrappy, then get scrappy.  You wanna just flow, just let it go.  It always takes two and what I find the most intriguing is when you reach that point where you can change the flow, according to how you respond.

When people complain to me about push hands, I find its a kind of mentality, more than it is an actual issue with push hands.

Then again, push hands is a two person exercise, so if you haven’t mastered the abilities of your own energy flow yet, there is no problem telling your partner what you are trying to work on and then working together to find the right established flow.

Push Hands is a universal language about how to communicate.  Communication begins with the person you are working with, but if you see your partner as the person you are working against, the person you have to learn how to communicate with is yourself first.

In life, it’s about how well your energy communicates who you are and in push hands you learn about how to Speak with that Energy and how to also Listen to the Energy Spoken in Energy form.


2 Comments on “Push-Hands and how we approach Tai Chi Chuan as the Martial Art it is at our school, William CC Chen Tai Chi Chuan.

  1. I have found the same to be true in Chi Sao practice from Wing Chun and Hubud Lubud from the Filipino arts. Have been practicing that for many, many years and found it to be a great way to “read” people and myself. At 71 years of age I still look forward to learning push hands. Living in the boonies of Pennsylvania I may have to wait until the next lifetime 😰
    I appreciate reading all your posts and thank you for sharing your knowledge and experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Martial Arts all share the same message, they are just different kinds of languages. Thank you for your feedback and kind words. You still have plenty of time to learn Push Hands!!!


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