Lynn Sharp and Donna Lynch Play Push Hands at TCA in Sedona

This will be the last post in this series. Having looked at the subject over the last couple of months, I want to wrap up with a few thoughts for you to consider.

If you are only concerned with self defense or competition, then disregard all this and just learn techniques to accomplish those goals and practice push hands to hone those techniques. Just make sure that your training partner or teacher knows that this is your goal.

However, winning and losing is not the only game that we play in life. There are a lot of other, more infinite games out there. I’d like to suggest that the rest of us reconsider what push hands can be about. Can we use it to enhance our ability to perceive and handle external energy flows?

Have you ever noticed that the way you approach push hands is a lot like the way you approach life?

When energy (physical, emotional, mental, psychic) is coming at you,

do you habitually shy away without actually receiving it?

Do you attempt to control all that comes your way, or to deflect it?

Do you go into your head and try to resolve all mentally before you take action of any sort?

Do you tense up and get stressed out and then try to handle with excessive force? Or excessive figure-figure in your head?

Do you sense how much response is needed and respond calmly?

Is there an optimum flow that you are comfortable with handling? Do you get confused if the flow is greater than your comfort level? Bored if it is less than you like?

Do you feel that you need to conquer others? Do you feel a need to win in any argument or confrontation?

Are you able to recognize who it is you are engaging with? Do you use the same amount of force when dealing with your child or grandmother that you use with your colleagues at work or with your sparring partner in class?

Do you immediately jump into playing the game of others instead of the game you choose?

How about your ability to reach out?

Do you limit your reach when you are uncertain as to what is out there?

Are you able to sense the flows around you?

Has your willingness to reach out grown in the past 10 years or is it diminishing?

Can you direct energy just where you want it to go or are you easily distracted or put into a trance by pretty shiny things around you?

How often are you living in the present rather than in some part of your past story?

I could go on. The point is, have you taken your studies of internal energy and brought them into your daily activities? Have you applied them beyond class time? If there is some part of your life where the energy is stuck, have you looked at it from a ‘small changes’ point of view? (Resistance is not as effective as meeting, adjusting, and reaching coherently)

I suggest that you try this. Push hands with your life. Use push hands practice to strengthen the elements where you are weak – if you can do it in class, you can do it elsewhere.

Recently in class, I’ve been particularly intrigued with the concept of engagement. Part of engaging with a partner is a recognition and agreement as to which game is being played..

This has been bringing me a level of clarity in my life that I am thoroughly enjoying. What is life anyway? It’s not some preplanned existence or mapped out set of activities. It involves constant change and movement. Being alive in every moment, perceiving, interacting, feeling, resonating, loving, learning – what could be better than this?

This article is part 5 of a 5-part series on Push Hands from a female perspective. Read the rest:

Maria’s Thoughts on Women and Push-Hands — Part 1
Maria’s Thoughts on Women and Push-Hands — Part 2
Maria’s Thoughts on Women and Push-Hands — Part 3
Maria’s Thoughts on Women and Push-Hands — Part 4