FRONT ATTACKS AND DEFENCE OF
TAIJIQUAN PUSHING HANDS
Editorial Note: This is originally meant to be a private webpage for students of Shaolin Wahnam Institute. Nevertheless, as there is not much information on Pushing Hands and Striking Hands although they are crucial aspects of Taijiquan, some explanation is given so that other Taijiquan practitioners may also benefit.
After you have acquired some skills in sensing your opponents, flowing energy, following your opponent and leading him -- but not before -- you may proceed to the next stage, which is learning the techniques and practising the skills in single attacks from the front, and the defence against these attacks.
The important point is not merely knowing how to perform the techniques (this can be learnt in 5 minutes), but being able to apply the technique skilfully (this requires a bare minimum of three weeks' training).
Applying the techniques skilfully means you are able to do the following reasonably well.
- Moving in or away at the right time when attacking or defending.
- Closing your opponent before attacking -- make sure he has no chance to strike you.
- Positioning for a good push -- remember you push from your back leg, not from your shoulders.
- Maintaining good form and balance, especially at the completion of your intended movement.
The pictures below show the front attack sequence.
Javier and Ricarrdo are at their "ready position" with the "peng' technique.
Sensing an opportunity and following Ricarrdo's retreating movement, Javier moves his back leg forward and places it just behind his front leg, simultaneously closing Ricarrdo's both hands. This "closing" is very important, otherwise Ricarrdo would strike Javier.
Continuing smoothly from the previous position (which is a transitional position), Javier moves his front leg forward and pushes Ricarrdo away. The picture shows what would happen if Ricarrdo fails to respond correctly. Remember the push starts from the back foot and ends at the palms -- not the reverse, which is a common mistake made by many students.
The picture above shows Ricarrdo's defence move. Sensing Javier forward movement with his back leg, Ricarrdo moves his front leg backward and places it just in front of his back leg. Ricarrdo must move just at the right time, not before Javier's movement, and not too late .
As Javier pushes forward, Ricarrdo moves his back leg backward. Again Ricarrdo must move at the right time, just when he feels Javier's push -- not too early and not too late. Make sure that the spacing is correct, and especially at the completion of the sequence the form is perfect. It needs time to develop the skill of getting into right timing, right spacing and right form spontaneously.
The pictures are arranged in a sequence to show the front attack mode and its defence.
Only when you can perform the front attack mode skilfully (not merely knowing the technique), should you proceed to the left and right attack modes. These are explained in subsequent webpages.
- Flow with the opponent, not against him.
- Lead the opponent by following.
- Sense your opponents with your arms, not with your eyes.
- Exploit an opportunity if your opponent offers it. (But beware of tricks. This will be dealt with later.)
- Create an opportunity if aren't any.
- Always ensure you are safe when you attack. Let the opportunity pass if you are unsure.
- The onus at this stage is correct timing, correct spacing and correct form.
Taijiquan Pushing Hands
Series 1 -- Basic Techniques and Skills
Series 2 -- Front Attacks and Defence
Series 3 -- Right Side Attacks
Series 4 -- Left and Back Attacks
Series 5 -- Continuous Attacks
Series 6 -- Confusing Attacks
Series 7 -- Instantaneous Counters
Series 8 -- Tactic of Interception
Taijiquan Striking Hands
Series 1 -- Basic Striking Attacks and Defence
Series 2 -- Seeking Advantages in Striking Attacks
Series 3 -- Basic Kicking Attacks and Defence
Series 4 -- Seeking Advantages with Kicking Attacks
Series 5 -- Felling Attacks and Defence
Series 6 -- Reversing Falls
Series 7 -- Gripping Techniques
Series 8 -- Counters against Gripping Attacks