Tai Chi Tui Shou (pushing hands) is a training method used to build skills and ability useful in combat, particularly close quarter combat. There are various exercises we practice with a partner in order to condition intelligent responses to actions of an opponent. With regular practice we learn to always use minimum force to neutralise the opponents techniques and to use leverage to counter and off-balance an opponent.
Some exercises develop our footwork and flexibility whilst developing the conditioned responses to the opponents attack.
For tai chi to be practical you have to ‘learn to swim’ by experiencing how and when to apply your pushing hands skills against an uncooperative opponent. Once you have become proficient in the formal exercises you can begin to practice the freestyle exercises, where we try to outsmart and outmanoeuvre our practice partner using the key pushing hands skills. This become like a form of 4D physical chess and is highly enjoyable for most people.