To start, I want to thank all of the ladies who posted replies to my question on Facebook and who sent me emails on the topic.
You have my gratitude and love for clarifying the big picture on this topic. Here is the original question:
Ladies, I want to know why many women have little or no interest in learning push hands. Wanted to write a blog post on this subject and thought it would be great to get some input from you, who know what it is. – I am considering re framing what push hands is all about to encourage more female participation. So tell me, what makes you or women you know shy away from push hands? What do they think the exercise is trying to teach? Why do they think it’s not for them?
So it seems to break down into about three main areas.
First, enculturalization, by which I mean the indoctrination by our culture on how women are “supposed” to be. This also includes the male/female myths, stereotypes, traditional and evolving roles, tensions, fears, and so forth.
Second, learning issues. Bad experiences in training, a lack of clarity as to what skills one is trying to acquire by practicing push hands, confusion about how to actually train, classes that are more competition than study. There is no one way to learn push hands, each teacher has their own spin and idea of gradient study or just throwing someone into the mix and seeing if they will sink or swim.
Third, fear. Fear of intimacy, fear of failure, fear of injury, fear of getting outside of your comfort zone. Fear of your own power. Fear of incoming energy. Fear of losing face. You wonder, can it all be real fear? It seems to be self-imposed limitation in some cases, an emotional reaction to past events in others. Where is all this coming from? Why would one not want to learn to get past their fears? What else is possible?
Obviously there is too much here to tackle all at once. So please bear with me. but I’m going to do this bit by bit as a series. Your comments and input are welcome at any time. Let’s explore this together, and feel free to join the discussion on Facebook.
This article is part 1 of a 5-part series on Push Hands from a female perspective. Read the rest: