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Push Hands: Handbook for Non-competitive Tai Chi Practice with a Partner Paperback – International Edition, April 1, 2001
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This book amounts to a detailed private lesson in Tai Chi (with a non-competitive partner) by one of the most well-known experts on Tai Chi, Herman Kauz, author of "Tai Chi Handbook." Practicing Tai Chi with a partner amounts to a physical manifestation of a cooperative approach to living, a tangible way of experiencing balance and cooperative interaction. Unlike some of the more competitive martial arts like karate and judo, which can be actually stressful to some, Tai Chi with a partner, "push hands," is almost meditative and requires careful attention to one's own and to a partner's strength, weakness, position, balance--and even to a certain extent, state of mind--to help rather than overcome or beat one another. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Kauz is a real teacher, open, generous and undogmatic. -- Robert W. Smith, co-author of Asia Fighting News
Kauz is an established authority. -- Journal of Asian Martial Arts
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To those unfamiliar with Push Hands it is a non-competitive Tai Chi practice with a partner. Both meditative and athletic, it is a method of expressing oneself with a partner in a non-judgmental yet effective manner. It teaches one to be in accord with the stresses of everyday life and the Taoist philosophy of "letting go" which encourages the release of the blockages that prevent us from gaining a keen understanding of our true nature and how we respond to other people.
During Push Hands practice the designated attacker tries to push his or her partner off balance using a minimum of force and without moving their feet. The defender tries to avoid the push by redirecting the opponent's force, also without moving his or her feet. If done correctly neither side will be able to take advantage of the other and a true partnership is realized.
Those of us who are involved in working with others, in a decision-making role or in everyday situations, will find Push Hands a profound way of dealing with these confrontations. After some time in practice, we will notice options and ideas that we would not have thought of or entertained before we began the exercise.
Anyone who has taken a course in the Martial Arts may find Push Hands the ideal alternative to the hard and stressful aspects of competition. To the Tai Chi practitioner, Push Hands represents the transition of the solo form into a partner exercise with profound repercussions.
Master Herman Kauz's book is an expression of this ideal to anyone who is open enough to read it thoroughly.
Unfortunately, up to now he has not been allowed to receive it. I believe the reason given is that it was offensive/defensive material.
Tai Chi exercies are beneficial for the neuorological pathways, and also beneficial for the body's internal organs. The daily practice is very good for the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of the practitioner. Push Hands is helpful with partner work-outs.
Being a student of Herman's is quite an experience. His knowledge and expertise is extensive, as is his patience. Push hands does not involve pushing, but more of an attempt to discover the balance of your partner, while at the same time hiding yours from them. In essence, it teaches you about yourself and about others. It requires you to live in the moment, and not think about attaining goals per se. It will increase your awareness, and teach you the true principals of Tai Chi.
If you are serious about learning the real Tai Chi, then push hands will help you a great deal. But be patient.