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Tuishou (Pushing Hands)


Tuishou is a co-operative 2- person tai chi training exercise which teaches the proper use of mind and body to overcome force without using ordinary strength. This requires the tuishou player to have a high degree of sensitivity and rapport with his/her opponent - enabling an awareness first of pressure, then of energy, then of intent, then of motivation. A skilled tai chi tuishou player will seem to be able to read an opponent' s mind, and counter at the moment that the intent to attack is committed, often before the opponent is aware of their own movement.

This seemingly supernatural skill is achieved through calming of the mind, relaxing the body, and aligning the fascia with the dantian (the body's energetic centre - located just below the navel and in front of the spine.)

Tai chi tuishou includes many choreographed drills as well as free-flowing improvisational exercises. At a high level, tai chi tuishou can become quite competitive. There are several types of tai chi tuishou competitions held every year on every continent. But, paradoxically, the spirit of co-operation remains a requirement for high level tai chi skill. The most notable result of these competitions is almost always camaraderie among opponents and the development of new friendships.

The ultimate goal of tai chi tuishou is a state referred to by some as "no enemy" whereupon the master is reaches a such a state of harmony with the world and the opponent that he/she becomes unassailable.

Ian Sinclair and Calvin Keele demonstrate tai chi tuishou in Vancouver in the 1990's


Each tai chi style has a slightly different curriculum for teaching tuishou. Most styles, except for Zhaobao tai chi, have a number of fixed-step and restricted step drills. In general, Chen style tai chi has the most elaborate curriculum. However, there are many variations in each lineage. The curricula of individual tai chi schools may depend a great deal on each teacher's understanding and creativity.

Following is a list of some of the tai chi tuishou curriculum as taught at Cloud Mountain Martial Arts. In addition to the exercises listed here, there are many other exercises to be practised solo or with a partner. Each exercise is modified to suit the skill level of the student. Other tai chi chuan schools may have different tuishou curricula.

I will be adding videos of each exercise, and over time I hope to have most of the curriculum represented here.

  • Stationary Peng, Lu, Ji, An
  • Basic 8
  • Moving Peng, Lu, Ji, An; Da Lu
  • Straight step.
  • Cross step
  • Changes
  • Da Lu
  • Free-style Tai chi Push Hands with random changes.
  • Chen Style Tai chi Push Hands • SINGLE HAND
  • - Push In Horizontal Circle
  • - Push In Vertical Circle
  • - Wrist Spiralling & Rolling Hand Method
  • - Lower Arm Sticking in Vertical Rotation
  • - Upper Arm Sticking in Vertical Rotation
  • - Outer Elbow Pressing & Rolling Hand
  • - Inner Elbow Pressing & Rolling Hand
  • - Grasping, Holding-up, Pulling, Rolling Hand
  • - Shoulders Striking
  • - Back Striking
  • - Chest Striking
  • - Hip Striking
  • - Knee Striking
  • - Four Doors Moving Step Grasping
  • Applications of Tai chi tuishou.
  • Free-style Tai chi Push Hands - Peng Lu Ji An and Dalu with random changes.
  • Chen Style Tai chi Push Hands • TWO HANDS TECHNIQUES
  • - Push In Vertical Circle
  • - Four Basic Hand Method – Peng
  • - Four Basic Hand Method – Lu
  • - Four Basic Hand Method – Ji
  • - Four Basic Hand Method – An
  • - Fixed Step Four Basic Hand Method
  • - Moving Step Four Basic Hand Method
  • Free-style Tai chi Push Hands with applications.
  • Tai chi Free Fighting
  • More...