Push Hands in Tai Chi

Push Hands in Tai Chi

What is Push Hands?

There are various methods and techniques of push hands.  The main purpose of push hands is as a sensitivity taiji drill whereby two people connect by ‘push’ and by ‘yield’, using their hands.  The exercise is aimed to be done in a harmonious way.

Benefits of Push Hands

Initially one does this drill for developing physical balance and strength. It also improves the subtler internal aspects of co-ordination, timing, sensitivity, reflexes, groundedness and leverage.

As you practice it more, you move onto the other benefits where the exercise leads to internal harmonious synchronization of the energies.  You also learn about the body’s natural instinct to utilize and direct force, and to rather develop the martial arts style of developing the body’s ability to yield to and redirect a force.

Learning about Self and Others

In our tai chi classes in Johannesburg, we practice the forms, and these types of exercises.  When we do a solo tai chi form, our attention is on ourselves physically and internally.  We gain understanding of our internal energy flows, and any tensions too.  We’re asked to confront our thoughts, emotions and any possible internal struggles.

However, when we do a partner exercise with others in the class, like push hands, we can explore our techniques which we learnt in the tai chi form, together with the application of these moves on or with our partners.

We now not only have to deal with our own internal states, but also with external forces and the energies of our partner.  This brings awareness to how we interact with others.  We learn to listen to our partner, focusing on their intention in the direction and strength that they are moving their hands.

Thus we can, in the safe environment of a controlled martial arts class exercise, learn about neutralising forces coming at us, and at the same time, gain a sense of our own power to generate and carry out an action towards another.

Chi & Li

Push hands is also a method of utilizing and strengthening our other senses. One worth mentioning is our sense of Chi.  This can be likened to our vital force, or life energy.  Thus by focusing on this inner strength’s development, on increasing our Chi, we become stronger from the inside out.

The aim is also to be learning to use chi (our inner strength) and not li (our physical strength).

Push hands helps us to develop finer distinctions in sensing our chi and focusing more on our internal strengths, rather than external strengths.



For more about Tai Chi and Martial Arts classes in Johannesburg, contact your Sensei, Leo Low Ming, on 0833780468.

What is Push Hands? There are various methods and techniques of push hands.  The main purpose of push hands is as a sensitivity taiji drill whereby two people connect by ‘push’ and by ‘yield’, using their hands.  The exercise is aimed to be done in a harmonious way. Benefits of Push Hands Initially one does …

Beijing

Beijing

On our field trip to China in April 2018, we spent some time exploring Beijing.

This is a bustling city, with its 30 million residents and many cars and scooters.  A prominent feature was the domino-like apartments that continue for miles across the city.


Another striking aspect was one of the forms of transport – there are bicycles which can be unlocked via an app from your cell phone.  You can then hop on the bike, cycle to your destination, and then park the bicycle on the sidewalk, leaving it there ready for the next traveller. It has a run-flat tyre too!

 

Palaces

Beijing is also known for their palaces.  A stroll around the Forbidden City within

Elderly man in the Forbidden City

Beijing allowed us to notice the people, and to admire the largest collection in the world of preserved ancient wooden structures.  Therefore, it’s a World Heritage Site.

It took 14 years to build, starting in 1406 and its 980 buildings cover 180 acres of land.  The Forbidden City was the home of the emperors, and for almost 500 years it also acted as the central place for ceremonies and politics of the Chinese Government

Summer Palace visitors

We also enjoyed an outing to the nearby Summer Palace, 15 km northwest of Beijing.  It is a World Heritage Site and is one of the best preserved regal gardens in the world.

In 1750 Emperor Qianglong build the Summer Palace, and today it holds over 3000 houses, covering an area of 70 000 square meters.   It has a landscape of hills and a man-made lake, with many beautiful walkways, bridges that arch, corridors innately decorated, and palaces and temples at many turns.

Practicing calligraphy at the Summer Palace

Tai Chi in Beijing

Beijing has a lot to offer, and like in most cities in China, taiji and qi gong are popular arts, together with badminton, playing music, singing, and various card and board games.  All of these are practiced and played by the locals in the parks of the cities.

A festive mood on the Summer Palace boat

 

 

> Missed any blogs about our China Trip?  Check the list here.

On our field trip to China in April 2018, we spent some time exploring Beijing. This is a bustling city, with its 30 million residents and many cars and scooters.  A prominent feature was the domino-like apartments that continue for miles across the city. Another striking aspect was one of the forms of transport – …

October 2017 Tai Chi Retreat near Johannesburg

October 2017 Tai Chi Retreat near Johannesburg

A time of reflection, of going within, of practicing our art of taiji, of restoring our minds and bodies, a time of laughter and friendship and so much more was had at this Octobers Tai Chi Retreat.

Melody hill welcomed us, and fed us with nourishing and o-so-yummy vegetarian food, and kept us warm around a fire at night.

The setting has become our favourite, as the green grass under the walnut trees is a soothing and invigorating space for tai chi classes.

This year we also had the privilege to learn from the psychologist Dr Ken Jennings. He spoke with us about viewing our life through our own personal lenses. He unpacked four lenses for us that are most helpful in helping us to still see the beauty in our lives, even when we are experiencing pain.

Dr Jennings outlined the four lenses into:

  1. The co-operative lense, which explains how the nature of our relationships act as a mirror to help us.
  2. The expansive lense, which is about how we evolve and grow, so that we keep learning and unlearning as we go.
  3. The perfect life lense, which is about acceptance and points to our attitudes of gratitude and appreciation, and…
  4. The random lense, where life throughs us curveballs and it’s our creative responses and ability to embrace change that helps us.

[Read more about this in Dr Jenning’s article here.]

Having gone deeper into the taiji form known as Chen, which we were currently practicing in class, this retreat yet again took our practice to our individual next level, as well as gave us a break from the daily grind of life.

We all enjoyed our time out at Melody Hill, and look forward to the next Retreat in 2018!

A time of reflection, of going within, of practicing our art of taiji, of restoring our minds and bodies, a time of laughter and friendship and so much more was had at this Octobers Tai Chi Retreat. Melody hill welcomed us, and fed us with nourishing and o-so-yummy vegetarian food, and kept us warm around …

Cape Town Wellness taiji workshop with Sifu Leo

Cape Town Wellness taiji workshop with Sifu Leo

Sifu Leo spent a few days in the mother city, Cape Town, running corporate Wellness workshops, about the many beneficial aspects of tai chi for stress relief, and to bring the concept of flow into work, and teach some self-defense techniques.

 

Here are a few clips sharing some of the points covered:

For more info on workshops for your team building or wellness days, contact your Sifu, Leo Low Ming, on 0833780468.

Sifu Leo spent a few days in the mother city, Cape Town, running corporate Wellness workshops, about the many beneficial aspects of tai chi for stress relief, and to bring the concept of flow into work, and teach some self-defense techniques.   Here are a few clips sharing some of the points covered: For more …

Racewalking and Tai Chi

Racewalking and Tai Chi

“Taiji has enriched my life and improved my resilience immensely. I am grateful to Leo for all the help and guidance he has given me” shares Barbara Nell, a World Champion Racewalker.

Barbara Nell in action

Barbara has been racewalking for over 25 years, and covered a distance of some 50 000 km’s during this time. She trains on both road and track, and has worked with many coaches over the years – each contributing in their way her preparation and technique. This had lead her to achieve world records and to winning championships.

Some of her impressive achievements include:

  • the first woman in Africa to walk a 20km in under 1:50
  • held the All Africa record for the 20km women’s walk
  • has won SA Senior Track and Field Championships 4 times
  • won the SA Road Walk senior Championships 5 times
  • attended 11 World Masters Athletics Championships
  • has been the World Champion in her age group 14 times
  • won 4 silver and 3 bronze medals from these competitions
  • competed in team events and won WMAC gold medals, silver and a bronze Medal
  • in 2000 set the W45-49 5000m racewalk World Record with a time of 24:14
  • set 4 SA Senior records, and 18 SA Masters records
  • won her age group races at the South African Masters National Championships 33 times
  • won SA Masters Provincial Championships 47 times.

As part of her development in strengthening and maintaining her muscles needed for racewalking, Barbara supplements her training with tai chi and works with a biokineticist.

“In 2009, I was injured and my Physiotherapist recommended taiji to help me build strength and improve my balance in order to avoid further injury. I have worked with Leo since that time.

Firstly, it has been great to do taiji as a complete contrast to my other training which is time or distance based. The sense of being in the present while doing the movement with no immediate objective in sight is very fulfilling. Doing Taiji has definitely enhanced my muscle strength and improved my balance which has been advantageous to my race walking.

Secondly, there is so much wisdom in this ancient practice as the entire body is worked and strengthened by the many graceful movements during a morning’s session.

She is also very much aware of her mindset, and finds that learning from her failures, not letting her walking define her, and having fun while training and competing, are also key parts of her success.

Recently she attended the World Masters Athletic Championships in Perth in October and November 2016. This event included more than 4000 competitors from some 80 countries between the ages of 35 to 97 competing in 31 events.

Barbara, on the podium after the 10km with the Australian Barb Bryant 2nd and the British Walker Cath Duhig 3rd.

Barbara participated in the Race walks in the 5000m track event, the 10km road walk and the 20km road walk in the Women 60-64 age group, where she won the 5000m and 10km walks and got the silver medal in the 20km.

Together with Lucia Willemse (W60-64) and Elsa Meyer (W70-74), they made up the South African team and they won the silver medal in the team event for the 10km (W 60-64) and the gold medal in the 20km (W60-64).

We agree with Barbara that “walking is a healthy lifestyle activity and one of the best forms of exercise” as she shared in the November/December edition of the SA Racewalking Newsletter. She further imparted that she “feels that individual endurance sport is a great teacher. She has learnt many life lessons from walking and competing. ‘In the end you are racing against yourself and trying to be the best that you can be. The most important thing for me is that it must be fun. I walk because I love it.’ ”

We commend Barbara on her achievements, and her multi-disciplinary approach to her training. May the grace and wisdom from the practice of taiji continue to give her the inner and physical strength to persist in being the inspiration she is to us, and to so many others.

 

To find out how tai chi can help you excel in your chosen sport, contact your Sifu, Leo Low Ming, on 0833780468.

“Taiji has enriched my life and improved my resilience immensely. I am grateful to Leo for all the help and guidance he has given me” shares Barbara Nell, a World Champion Racewalker. Barbara has been racewalking for over 25 years, and covered a distance of some 50 000 km’s during this time. She trains on …

How tai chi helps overcome stress and trauma

How tai chi helps overcome stress and trauma

One of tai chi’s benefits is helping us overcome stress and traumatic ordeals. It is a movement practice that can allow us to feel centered and calm.

Benefits of Group Tai Chi

Tai chi can be done with a group or individually and is often taught in groups with others. The group energy helps us to compose ourselves. Practicing taiji with others brings a unity and togetherness which is experienced both individually and as a collective.

Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, New York Times bestselling author of The Body Keeps the Score, specialises in recovery from trauma through understanding the neuroscience of traumatic stress.

Dr van der Kolk on StressHis research has demonstrated how effective mind-body treatment approaches are. He specifically mentions the benefits from modalities including neurofeedback, meditation, yoga, mindfulness, and sensory integration methods such as dance and movement. Tai Chi is easily added to this list.

In a video (to be found here) Dr van der Kolk talks about how throwing a ball with a child can help develop the skill of adjusting to the rhythms of another, and the ability of attuning into the other person.

Doing some form of movement together with others (like working a tai chi form in a group), re-establishes rhythms which are important for treating disruptive behaviours in ourselves, This encourages us as adults to develop a biology that can sync with the biology of others around us. In other words, it helps promote co-operation.

“We get to know ourselves because other people know us. When nobody knows us, we don’t know ourselves” says Dr van der Kolk. Practicing tai chi with others can achieve just that.

The skill of being present in the moment

Dr van der Kolk goes on to explain in his next video (to be found here) about the relation between being present and healing from stress.

The main avenues to learn how to be focused and present in the here and now are practices like yoga and the traditional mind arts, like tai chi. These sequences of movements that are synced with breath work, have a meditative effect on the mind and the body.

In order to learn the tai chi forms, you need to pay attention to each part of your body and the specifics of how your limbs need to be held and moved.
This practice gives one the time to be present within your body, noticing your feelings and what’s going on in your body. This kind of awareness helps those feeling highly stressed become more present and calm.

Classes in Johannesburg to de-stress

De-stressing Tai Chi at Secret SunsetTo learn more about how Mings Martial Arts’ Tai Chi lessons can help you handle stress better, come and try a complimentary first session and speak to Leo, to find out more.

Our Beginners classes are in Parkview on Tuesdays at 18:15, Thursdays at 17:30 and Saturdays at 8:30.

For more info contact your Sifu, Leo Low Ming, on 0833780468.

One of tai chi’s benefits is helping us overcome stress and traumatic ordeals. It is a movement practice that can allow us to feel centered and calm. Benefits of Group Tai Chi Tai chi can be done with a group or individually and is often taught in groups with others. The group energy helps us to …

Learning Tai Chi in water

Learning Tai Chi in water

By Leo Ming

I love water and its intrinsic value to life. I am a ‘fish’.

Many years ago, while I was swimming, I thought I would try some taiji in the pool.

Suddenly it dawned on me that the principles of taiji, through the movement under water, can be transferred and combined into being one with this element.

Weightlessness and Weight

A person would gain valuable insight into weightlessness but at the same time learn about how we need ‘weight’ or “chong” to be able to be grounded. Otherwise without this groundedness, we would fall over in the pool.

It takes a long period of patience and practise to do this correctly.

Letting go

The other aspect I learnt from practicing tai chi in water, is to do with the principle of ‘letting go of’. This principle is easier to grasp when in water as we now have an element that surrounds us , catches us and holds us ‘in position. Letting go or ‘fong song’ is critical in order to progress with tiaji and to gain insight.

Many people who come to taiji do the moves beautifully, yet they still have no concept or idea of how we can ‘fong song’. This practice of non-resistance is in alignment with the tao/dao, which is a part of the understanding of taiji. It is exemplified in this saying–

“When you have movement , everything moves, when you are still everything is still.”

Join me for a class to have an experience of ‘fong song’.

To attend a session in Johannesburg, contact your Sifu, Leo Low Ming, on 0833780468.

By Leo Ming I love water and its intrinsic value to life. I am a ‘fish’. Many years ago, while I was swimming, I thought I would try some taiji in the pool. Suddenly it dawned on me that the principles of taiji, through the movement under water, can be transferred and combined into being …

Leo Low Ming in Greece for training in Taiji

Leo Low Ming in Greece for training in Taiji
In June of 2016 Sifu Leo Low Ming trained under
internationally renowned Grandmaster Jesse Tsao
in Athens, Greece.Leo was fortunate to have private tuition with
Grandmaster for a number of days, where they
focused on the health aspects of chi gong and taiji ,
learning about the postures and related organs.Insight into the yang forms was explained in detail,
as well as some chen and wu styles of tai chi,
including the taiji Bang of sifu Jesse.
Leo in Greece with Grandmaster Jesse Tsao

Grandmaster was trained by the ‘4 treasures’ or Chen masters of the Chen village
(being Chen Xiaowang, Chen Zhenglei, Zhu Tiancai and Wang Xi’an).

During many of the master classes that Leo participated in,this is one clip of Grandmaster
doing a demonstration of the taiji short form, showing great insight into the form:

Sifu Leo in Greece Sifu Leo Low Ming in Athens, Greece

Here is a video clip of Grandmaster Jesse Tsao watching carefully Leo’s taiji
short form chen man ching, and refining the very finer points.

 

CONTACT DETAILS

For more info on tai chi and karate in Johannesburg, contact your
Sifu Leo Low Ming, on 0833780468

Lunchtime in Greece Lunchtime in Greece

In June of 2016 Sifu Leo Low Ming trained under internationally renowned Grandmaster Jesse Tsao in Athens, Greece.Leo was fortunate to have private tuition with Grandmaster for a number of days, where they focused on the health aspects of chi gong and taiji , learning about the postures and related organs.Insight into the yang forms …

40th Martial Arts Training Anniversary

40th Martial Arts Training Anniversary

Taiji Training in America

To celebrate his 40th martial arts training anniversary,
Sifu Leo Low Ming spent a few weeks training in Boston
and Toronto, America, in June and July of 2015.

Boston

In Boston, Leo got to meet and spend days with the
international master Darin Yee 8th degree Uechi Ryu.
Leo had great private discussions and instruction on
various effective techniques with sensei Darin Yee,
who is very well known in the martial arts circles.

Master Darin Yee 7th dan Uechi Ryu, with Sifu Leo in Boston

Here they are in a private class:

Here’s another glimpse into a master class with sensei Darin Yee:

Toronto

This is Sifu Bau Sen Liang in Toronto, who Leo
trained with privately. They did the Wu style
long form 108, and Leo describes it as
an “amazing experience!”

Sifu Leo with Sifu Bau Sen Liang, in Toronto

Here they are in his dojo in Toronto doing a section of the wu style:

 

CONTACT DETAILS

For more info on tai chi and karate in Johannesburg, contact your Sifu Leo Low Ming, on 0833780468

Taiji Training in America To celebrate his 40th martial arts training anniversary, Sifu Leo Low Ming spent a few weeks training in Boston and Toronto, America, in June and July of 2015. Boston In Boston, Leo got to meet and spend days with the international master Darin Yee 8th degree Uechi Ryu. Leo had great …

Tai Chi at Secret Sunday event in Johannesburg

Tai Chi at Secret Sunday event in Johannesburg

taiji in Maboneng JohannesburgSecret Sunrise describes themselves as “a community of inclusion built around an interactive dance movement. It is a fun, energetic, mindful, silent disco celebration.”

As part of this movement, Sifu Leo Low Ming offers tai chi sessions before the dancing sessions.  On Sunday 10th July the secret warehouse venue in Maboneng, Johannesburg, was transformed into a playground for the morning.  Sifu stood on wooden boxes to allow everyone to see, and part of the session was also outside in a courtyard.

Maboneng, Johannesburg Tai Chi SessionThe response was wonderful, with youngsters and adults alike exploring the movements of qigong, taiji and it’s martial arts application, some dressed up as cowboys and some as native Americans, in the theme of Wild West for the dance session.

For more photo’s see Facebook here, and Secret Sunrise’s photo album here.

 

Below is a clip of Leo leading the group from atop the wooden boxes.

Below is the start of the dancing session, with lots of stretching.

 

Contact your Sifu, Leo Low Ming, on 0833780468 for more info on tai chi and karate classes in Johannesburg.

Secret Sunrise describes themselves as “a community of inclusion built around an interactive dance movement. It is a fun, energetic, mindful, silent disco celebration.” As part of this movement, Sifu Leo Low Ming offers tai chi sessions before the dancing sessions.  On Sunday 10th July the secret warehouse venue in Maboneng, Johannesburg, was transformed into a …