The Definition of Winning

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How do we define success in pushing hands? Do we win when we simply pushed our opponents off their balance? Or do we have to push our opponents off their balance in order to win?

In my youth, I pushed hands to win, and I felt like a winner when I pushed my opponents off their balance. A few years passed quickly before a realization fell upon me. The term “pushing hands” is a misnomer, as pushing hands is not just about pushing your opponents away. It is also about absorbing, diverting and re-channeling their attacks.

More importantly, it is about our balance, both physical and mental.

If I were to focus on pushing all the time, I risked losing my mental balance.

Since then, I made a decision to re-define my success in pushing hands as being able to apply the Taiji principles during the session with my opponents. At times I would just focus on one particular aspect, say for example diverting the opponent’s attacks. If I were to be thrown off balance by my opponent during that session, it would only serve to remind me that I have much to learn. As with all education, we tend to retain better when we learnt from our mistakes.

I find myself enjoying my pushing hands sessions more from then on.

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