Putting the Magic into Push Hands


Jay Van Schelt, master trainer
Many people have heard of this special skill known by tai chi masters called "Pushing Hands." This is the mysterious power to get an opponent off balance with only a light touch. The tai chi classics say of push hands that the weight of a fly is enough to set the body in motion. What exactly does that mean?

Putting the Magic into Push Hands
by Jay Van Schelt, master trainer

Jay and Kam demonstrate push handsMany people have heard of this special skill known by tai chi masters called “Pushing Hands.” This is the mysterious power to get an opponent off balance with only a light touch. Or maybe it is the ability to throw your opponent far across the room with the same light touch. The tai chi classics say of push hands that the weight of a fly is enough to set the body in motion. What exactly does that mean?

From my experience over the last 20 years or so, there is no real magic to push hands. These skills must be learned and honed over time. They have a direct relationship to the forms we all know and practice everyday. So there is really only one magic to push hands: practice.

But what should you practice? The answer to that question lies in the process of discovery and awareness that is the essence of push hands. To discover, simply be aware of incoming force, and then using both your body and awareness: