Yale New Haven T’ai Chi Study Group Push Hands Guidelines
Push hands practice is limited to dues-paying members. Exceptions may be made on an individual basis at the discretion of the teacher with the consent of the study group principals.
People will be authorized to practice in the push hands class after they have been approached by the teacher to begin practice. Alternatively they may request admission to the push hands class. If they request it, and they have studied for an adequate length of time, their form will be observed, corrected, and if it demonstrates correct understanding of "root", "soft", proportion and connectedness, they will be considered ready to begin push hands.
Push hands is not to be taught student-to-student. It will be taught one-on-one with a qualified teacher and practiced as "sawing wood" until the student has shown the mastery needed to begin more difficult practices or an "unfixed" form of push hands. Questions should be directed to a qualified teacher.
Push hands is not a replacement for form class. Push Hands and Solo Form are mutually consistent. Form class and Push Hands reflect on each other. Corrections made in Form class should be applied to Push Hands practice and understanding that grows from Push Hands practice should be applied in form class. Thus, coming to push hands class or practice without attending the preceding form class is poor form and limits the possibility of applying the class content.
Push hands is a training method. It builds awareness and sensitivity. It is a method for growing skills in root, softness, proportion, connectedness and responsiveness. It is not a contest. Contests of strength against strength will not be tolerated. They are antithetical to the principles of T'ai Chi. They damage both the participants and the onlookers. Employing any techniques that involve sudden changes in speed, or are useful only within push hands rules will also be considered infractions as they also can damage both participants and onlooker.
Each person with whom you push hands in our school should be treated with concern for their immediate wellbeing and for their development as a student. Failure to do so will result in a warning. Continued disregard of these guidelines will result in termination of push hands privileges.
It should be understood that push hands is practiced in other t’ai chi schools, both within and outside our lineage. It is strongly suggested that before achieving significant understanding and mastery of the skills of push hands, practice with persons from other schools, even within the lineage, be avoided for reasons of personal safety. This instruction was given by Professor Cheng.
Under no circumstances should a student claim to represent the school or the lineage unless they have received "permission to teach." This is the common practice in many arts.
Push Hands Policy