Suppleness in pushing hands
By Wu RH, Compiled and Translated by Alex
Most people believe pushing hands to be a difficult skill to learn with a risk for injury while training. This misconception results from erroneous ideas and inappropriate technique.
Suppleness in pushing hands means to stick to the opponent, to listen and follow his movement, to move in a continuous way without using force. Practicing in this manner not only safeguards from injury, but it also stimulates the body’s deeper potential. At a higher level, the skills of neutralization and fajing (discharge) are refined, as the coach draws the opponent’s upper body joints (wrists, elbows, shoulders, back, waist) to disrupt the structure of his lower body joints (hips, knees, ankles). For most people to keep their balance, they will need to rely on the full participation of their brain and nervous system, on the whole range of movement of their muscles, joints and ligaments. It is in this way, to keep the body stable, that the deeper potential is activated.
A coach must be light and agile with his body and hands. He should not clumsily push and pull with hard strength, otherwise he might cause injury or bring about unwanted results. Not being light and agile also preempts the development of the skills of tingjing (hearing the opponent) and dongjing (understanding the opponent). As for his mental attitude, the coach must cultivate the qualities of humbly receding, yielding, and guiding.