Some methods from, hi pat on horse, part wild horse mane, and step back press elbow can be seen among others:
In the Taijiquan territory of today, the popular use for the term tuishou usually refers to a kind of wrestling/grappling that focuses on throwing and is used in competitions in mainland China. WHile that IS legitimately a type of what is known as tuishou, it is but one type.
The video above shows a patterned practice that some call Da Lv (big drag or as the Yang taiji folks coined it ‘rollback’) and in the Chen method I learned was called Da Lunr which means essentially ‘do the wheel’. This type of patterned practice is some of the very old method probably put into place by Chen Wangting himself.
These patterned practices were, I believe the dominant type of practice before the modern competition concerns became prevalent after the opening of China in the 1980’s. These days in many popular circles, these patterned tuishou excercises are not given the respect they are due as valuable training tools due to the fact that they are not applicable to the largest exposition venues for the art: competition.
Since Taijiquan IS a martial art, it must be able to deal with the realities of violence, which in reality neither start nor stop with grappling on its own. So, Taijiquan must have a system to deal with striking for example and these patterned tuishou exercises are where some number of those methods are to be found.
In the video above we go through some patterned practice and show some applications that can be made FROM the flow of the circles, but the circles themselves are not just circles, but sequences of push/pull, ebb/flow of changing physical powers. They are really about physics, angles, trajectories of force, and leverage. Some schools also call the above exercise “Peng Lv Ji An” because they see it as expressing specifically those energies.
By training deeply the methods in this circular drill, one can begin to develop skill with these energies individually, and eventually seamlessly joined within this circle, which becomes a power in itself that can be transplanted onto san shou and san da intercept, redirect and strike methods. We don’t show much of that above, just a few joint lock and entry methods leading to the tangental variations that I never fail to trail off into.
So, one who wants to learn the roots of the gongfu has to ask, what is tuishou really for? These beautifully thought out patterns are NOT just for looks or a performance of philosophical “wenming” gongfu. The time and intelligence that went into creating them certainly had a purpose beyond the weaker cousin to rough and tumble wrestling.
The depth of what these types of tuishou really teach (it is not simply ‘sensitivity’ or ‘peng’, I am talking about practical technical methods) cannot easily be written in a few paragraphs, but it warrants thought. For the curious there is a very rich source of information right in these patterns.