One time in a Tai Chi Pushing Hands lesson with Master Liang, I wasn’t exactly getting the essence of what he was trying to show me.
Having endured a bit of frustration with my lack of grasping his point, Master Liang groaned, shook his head, and walked back to sit in his chair. He looked at me with obvious pity in his eyes and said,
“I am going to tell you a big secret that I have never told anyone before. I learned it from my teacher, Taoist Master Yang, in Taiwan. He told me, ‘When being pushed, act as though you are pulling the opponent in to you; when pushing an opponent, act as if you are being pulled in.’ This really changed how I viewed Pushing Hands and with practice really increased my skill. So, I hope you understood this because then I will no longer have to be embarrassed about your abilities.”
Master Liang’s advice really made a huge difference in my Pushing Hands skills, or as I prefer to call it, “Sensing Hands.” Clearly this principle was meant to rid the body of resistance and to give more control to your actions. Meaning, there is a huge difference between trying to resist an opponent’s push and actually trying to draw him inward. Of course, within this response, you still maintain the idea of no separation, but it’s like being a magnet. Likewise, to act as if the opponent is pulling you in when you are Pushing makes it easier to relax your hands and makes it quite easy to feel you are taking away the opponent’s central equilibrium. Again, you feel as though a magnet were pulling you into him.
I hope the reader understands this wonderful secret Master Liang shared with me, it really can change how you perform Pushing Hands.
© 2019 by Stuart Alve Olson