When I talk to people who come into the school that are excited about the Push Hands before even knowing what the form is, I kinda giggle inside, because this was how I was when I started training. I never cared much for the form, I just wanted a piece of the action that I cold see, to be action. Interestingly enough, I do feel that some people need to taste Push Hands to actually understand what it is they are doing in the form.
The form is about Internal Energy Flow, or more simply put Feeling… Feeling is a sensitivity thing and it’s not something easily felt or understood on a Tai Chi level because most of us lack sensitivity in general. The lack of sensitivity is usually overshadowed by the oversensitivity triggered from insecurities of one’s self.
Insecurities haunt, blocking energy flow because there is always a front, put up to guard one’s self from themselves and this all goes against what Tai Chi is actually about. Push Hands serves as an incredible way of eventually disarming most people’s insecurities, because the interaction of working with someone, energy to energy, physically helps us forget. Forgetting is sometimes the one thing we need to be able to find ourselves where we are at.
Push Hands, what does it mean to you? What does it look like to you? What is your goal when you do push? And don’t even try to be all Zen about this answer, cause I know most of you reading this now are having “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”, images of yourself as the Tiger and Dragon with bodies flying everywhere.
Push Hands is much less about how many people you throw and everything about how you train yourself for the moments between the “action”. The time where you should be listening, the silence that naturally triggers an amateur to labor through movement when they should be flowing with feeling. Feeling only happens in silence and what happens as result of that silence is always the most accurate Response.
Push Hands is about training Response, that’s all.
It’s extension of the Tai Chi form as a contact exercise is always an interesting insight to yourself. If you listen to your feeling, it’s absolutely incredible how little you think, because this is your “Brain in Action”. The minute you distract the Brain with the Mind, it’s absolutely phenomenal at how you loose your connection to your body and almost immediately, you can’t even sense or feel your opponent anymore.
Your Brain in Action is a Trust you build with yourself. This is Tai Chi, your Brain in Action and it’s not just about how you do the form. Tai Chi is about lifestyle flow. Lifestyle flow is essentially about how you flow through the feelings you feel in your life. The minute the Mind gets involved there is surely some kind of mess, birthed from the overly consuming practice of overthinking. I am a genius level over thinker who needs to get back into my Tai Chi Practice to shut my Mind up, so that my brain and the brain of my nearest and dearest friends can recover. Overthinking is so stupid, but it’s side effect of society today. The good news is, anything we have been programmed for can be reprogrammed back to what our actual nature is.
The next time you get onto the practice floor, if you’re thinking about the other person, you’re already starting wrong. This is also why we start every single class with the form, when I lead I normally like to run through it twice from the top and finish off with it too. The form, is about you, listening to you… Push Hands, is about you, listening to you… Life, is about you listening to you. Catch my drift here?
There is absolutely nothing you can do about another person’s actions, your life is all about your Response, to the Actions of Others.
Don’t waste your time anticipating, just listen and flow.