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Wellness Tai Chi

Gateway to Internal Treasures™

Tai chi Push Hands Training - by E.K Yeap


The service of joints in Push Hands. Importance of looseness and flexibility in the Wrists, Elbows and shoulders.

Your body consists of bones, muscles and connective tissues.

Because of the function of your joints that's how your body can move.

If joints are stiff you are stiff, and you will move like an old person. Your balance is compromised when your joints are stiff.

Mobility in your joints give you overall flexibility and mobility. It gives you balance as you can do the minute changes to keep balance while moving in the environment.

Together with your brain and nervous system we stay balanced on (only) two feet as bipedal humans.

The internal martial artist trains this mobility and flexibility further for self defence. In Tai chi push hands and in Sticking hands they come in very useful. This dexterity of the joints in the wrists are a special aspect not seen in classical Tai chi styles. It is one of the hallmark of the KWS internal system.

In this article we will spend some time and talk about the flexibility and movement in our hands and arms as they are important in self defence.

The 'tao chit' refers to the area of the wrist, hand, fingers and thumb.

The thumb is used in conjunction with the index finger as a major player.

They move by rotation of the wrist - clockwise and anti clockwise. The deft and subtle movements are not confronting and so do not raise any alarm bells in the unsuspecting opponent.

How do we use such a delicate tools in self defense?

They are used after we have made initial contact with the opponent's arms. And they are used to redirect forces in conjunction with the opponent's centre of gravity. We use tao chit also to split opponent's forces, and set him up for our follow up counter attack. Below we take a closer look at the various major joints.

1. The wrist.

The wrist actions include i) flicking back (with concave wrist), ii) pointing forward (convex) iii) cutting rotation clockwise and counter clockwise. They are used in conjunction with turning of the forearm. The secret is in the circumference, and the significant distance that is moved with a rotation. And because we have moved to the side of the opponent's force.

2. The elbow.

The elbow is used extensively with the shoulder. Together they give us a formidable range of movements in defense - as as we say, defence also means offence as we return the opponent's forces back to (hurt) him.

'Song' in the elbow joint involves simply letting go of tension and letting go of supporting the opponent's on coming force, when we wish to drop it into emptiness.

3. The shoulder.

The shoulder has in fact two movements. The shoulder socket offer us smoothness of a well oiled ball bearing and the scapula gives the whole shoulder further scope of movement and new angles for neutralization. As we have mentioned elsewhere before any movement allows us another degree of freedom.

And using the 'next joint up' principle the opponents cannot control our counter movement because he does not really detect it until it's too late.