Sifu Paul Ramos and National Push Hands Champion Daniel Nightingale
Push Hands is an application of Internal Kung Fu that uses the traditional Tai Chi principle of “softness overcoming hardness” to bridge forms and self-defense. We train to deflect or interupt the others’ attack and then to direct that force in such a way as to disrupt his or her's connection to the earth. Once we can destabilize an opponent's center, it becomes simple to add extra energy through our own slight effort and follow through, thereby sending the opponent wherever we wish.
Push Hands demands detached focus, yielding, gentle guiding of the action, "listening" for the opponent's intention, and attacking any weakness in the opponent's structure. This subtle art is excellent for short-range and mid-range defensive and offensive technique and may be used to accelerate the effectiveness of any martial art. The holistic sensitivity learned through Push Hands enables a practitioner to interpret and subtly redirect an opponent’s energy, neutralizing any attacking force.
In our Push Hands Classes we take great care to to teach all the essential skills necessary to develop true skill in Tai Chi physical understanding. While many schools teach Push Hands as the art of pushing, we see it more as the art of learning to manipulate force and the opponents intention without giving up our center or balance. Wu Shen Tao Push Hands training teaches students to sense the angle, amount of force, speed, and commitment of the opponent. If one can receive force while maintaining patience, ones’ internal coordination, and ones’ sensitivity, they then can find and exploit any weakness in the opponent’s structure. Paul Ramos has used this approach to train several dozens of Push Hands Regional and National Champions over the last three decades.
Our Push Hands curriculum starts with root training, stationary movement training, tactile sensitivity training, and the development of listening, following, neutralizing, sticking and returning skills. Once one has laid this foundation, they may then progress to the more advanced skills of filling with qi, misdirecting, becoming the principles, merging with the opponent, and losing the self. These skills can easily be incorporated into any style of martial arts and work equally well with hard or soft style systems.
The techniques appear, at first, to be counter-intuitive, and that is precisely why they work. When suddenly receiving force, our normal fight-or-flight impulses cause us to become tense. Conversely, Push Hands training helps one to relax while in action. We allow the opponent to feel control, right up to the moment we take control away. By the time the opponent notices something has changed, it is already too late to do anything about it. This is an excellent method of developing tactile as well as energetic sensitivity which is rarely seen in most martial arts. It is also an excellent way for newer students to develop martial skill in a manner that is initially less aggressive, more cerebral and more intuitive than other methods.
Training may take place in a group or on a private instructional basis.
Additionally, for more than 25 years, we have joyfully hosted the free Community Open Push Hands Workout. It is open to beginners and anyone of any style or experience level. We simply attempt to share our Push Hands skills and success with whomever has an interest and a relaxed and giving attitude. Please see the Class Schedule for more details!