Why I like Taiji Push Hands
From a very young age (around 4 years old) I studied Kung Fu. I continued in my experience by studying martial arts at the University, competing, and acting as head of the Wushu association. With familiarity in almost all styles and forms and with actual fighting experience, my favorite is Taiji Push Hands. Why?
The following story was the beginning of my interest in Taiji Push Hands. I was invited by the Sichuan Tai Chi Push Hands Research Association to observe a demonstration I had studied Taiji Push Hands at the university and discounted it as something weak and for older people. I was surprised by the variety of ages of those practicing it at the demonstration. All ages from young to old were represented. I was greatly impressed by one smaller man (approx. 100 lbs.) who was moving and controlling people much larger than himself. I was invited to test my skills and try to push this man. With my size of almost 200 lbs., strength, and martial arts fighting skills, I thought it would be no challenge to defeat him. On the first try, I was surprised to find that I could not move this smaller man. Summoning more strength, I continued to try and push this man who avoided my best efforts like a fish swimming in water. Although I was burning inside, I asked gently if I could try again, but with more power. The man replied that I could try “any way that I liked”. Exerting all my effort, knowledge and strength, I exploded with my energy to try and move the man. While many watched us, with little effort I was thrown back nearly to the ground. Helped to my feet by the crowd, I was amazed by the power of this small man. The man’s power was like the loss of control one has when a knife is at one’s throat. I felt the man catch all my power and throw it back at me nearly knocking me over. The man caught my hand and helped me up. He told me, “that with all my power, I could study Taiji Push Hands and nobody could move me. I then learned that this man was Weng Tao Lin, the son of the High Grand Master Mogen Lin.
Based on this experience, I then used every opportunity to explore and test the power of the Taiji Push Hands. With my position as chairman of the Wushu Association, I used “hands on” experience to test and learn all I could about “Push Hands”. I discovered that this form was an excellent method of training in Tai Chi. Two people push and pull while using listening energy, neutralizing energy, and faijin to control each other’s balance point. No matter what style of Tai Chi you practice, push hands can test whose Kung Fu is better. This gentle method tests each other’s power without danger or fear of hurting another and is good for all ages. Traditionally, this was a protected secret of most schools and only taught to trusted disciples. Even now, real knowledge of this method is limited to less than 5% of practioners. A limited knowledge of push hands is practiced by another 15%. The remaining 80% of Tai Chi practioners have no real knowledge of Taiji Push Hands or its internal power, and only know the form.
After I had tested this style and had these experiences, I became a disciple of Weng Tao Lin’s father, Grand Master Mogen Lin. I spent four years studying with Master Lin and learning the secrets of this technique. It resulted in my winning an international championship. It was through the study of Taiji Push Hands that I received clarity. The complex became simple, big circles became small, and as I relaxed more power was developed. I learned to use listening energy (How much force? What direction), neutralizing power (inside/outside, deflection, balance), and Faijin (relaxation/contraction, internal power) to counteract my opponents. Is similar to the master and student relationship or a chef and a cook. The dish and ingredients may be exactly the same, but the one that uses his heart to prepare the dish and cut and mix the ingredients results in a meal where all the various parts and subtleties can be enjoyed.
Based on what I’ve learned about push hands so far, I will spend the rest of my life studying and teaching. It surprises me everyday. I currently live and teach in Temple City. I am happy teaching my students, practicing everyday, and learning from other Masters. If you are interested, I hope you will stop by and experience Taiji Push Hands for yourself. This is where it began for me. I can be reached at (626) 215-3353.