Shifu Victor Chao enjoys teaching and practicing push hands, but the methods that he teaches are unlike those taught in most Tai Chi Chuan classes. The training is monotonous, uncomfortable and almost Spartan. However for persistent students there is a big payoff, after a couple years peng jin can be developed into peng duan jing. Peng duan jing, or short shaking power, is the advanced martial technique taught by Shifu Chao. Development of this technique requires a lot of work and normal peng jin is sufficient for many students training goals, however everyone gets some push hands experience in Victor’s classes.
The Obstacle is the Path
Shifu Chao believes that many of the old texts about push hands technique have been mistranslated and misunderstood. For instance many people who practice push hands believe that they should avoid the opponents force, not meeting it head on and always trying to redirect it. This is one of the misunderstandings of the tai chi saying that 4 ounces deflects 1,000 pounds. Chao Shifu teaches that dodging around like is incorrect because sooner or later a skillful opponent is going to catch you. Also when you move around like this you are following a cycle that a skillful opponent will quickly figure out. Instead he teaches a principal that he calls catching, where you “catch” the incoming force directly while slowly letting it coil down to the ground like loading a spring. Although you are required to applying a lot of force it is not coming from the larger muscles and shoulders, but instead from the smaller muscles, tendons and correct alignment and the ground.