TUI SHOU, or " pushing hands ", is one of the steps of the learning of Yi Quan. You develop with it the sense of the touch and you learn how to control the axis of your opponent while protecting yours. You are exerted thus with always placing the center of gravity at the position, which is conditioned by the displacement. It is what is called in coded language " to control the notion of the full and of the vacuum ". Tui Shou is practised from 8/9 years old, at the beginning under a ludic aspect, and you can involve yourself until a very ripe age. It helps the young children, who usually only seek to strike with the hands or the feet, to feel the whole of their body. As there is no violent contact nor repeated fall, the child grows in harmony and his physical integrity remains total.

The techniques of Tui Shou are done by the contact of the front armlevers. You can push, draw or reverse somebody with the hands, the front armlevers, the shoulder or the entire body.


The training for combat is composed of three distances : the long distance, if the partners employ the hands and the feet, dodgings, the parades, blockings and the techniques of displacement ; the middle distance, where you involve yourself with the use of the head, the shoulders, the elbows, the knees ; finally the short distance or body to body, with grabbing, locks, strangleholds, projections and Tui Shou (pushing hands). Tui Shou is so significant that a systematized rooting is devoted to it.

In the practice of Yi Quan, the postures of rooting and the slowness of the starting movements learn to better know yourself. The practice of Tui Shou makes it possible to know the adversary without revealing yourself to him. The sensory field of the practitioner, and in particular the touch, widens. The used force is similar to that of a spring which compresses or extends in all the directions. These directions are : to push ahead, draw behind, go up, go down, in opening, closing, as well as the spiral directions of the forces.

During exercises of Tui Shou, various combinations of these forces can intervene. These directions of force correspond to the directions of displacement : one advances, one moves back, one goes up, one goes down one leaves towards the line or the left, one remains in the center or one moves in circle. The basic exercises are done by contacting a hand on the spot. Then linear displacement is used.

One passes then to the exercises with two hands, including all the types of force and displacements.

The goal is to push, draw and unbalance the opponent. Movement is used to amplify these techniques. The old ones said that with Tui Shou, one uses the force of a few grams to move several hundred kilos.



The follower of Yi Quan, by the " pushing hands ", controls the axis of his adversary and protects his own center. He is not opposed to the force of the adversary, but, on the contrary, uses it and transforms it. It is then advisable " to listen ", feel and understand the type of force emitted by the adversary. Through the contact and adhesion with part of the body of the partner, you can " read " his force. The touch of the skin stimulates the nervous terminations of the nervous system which conveys information to the brain. This one analyzes the quantity and the trajectories of the force and dictates a suitable reaction.The force used is elastic and flexible, as the silk wire which is rolled up...
It spouts out from the foot and then, while following the principle of the closed articular system, is conveyed through the spinal column until the ends of the body.
The alternation of the rooting and displacement, the ceaseless transformations of the directions of force as well as the use of pretences in order to obtain awaited reactions will produce the anticipated result.

Ilias Calimintzos and Yao Sheng Kwang during a Tui Shou exercise



By making contact, you " adhere " to the movements of the partner without opposing yourself to him.
Then you " stick yourself " on his movements by accompanying them in order not to break the contact. At this time, you must be very vigilant so that the point of contact is not too strong. In this case, the reaction would be slowed down. So on the other hand, the contact is slackened too much, one badly perceives the changes of force of the other. It is what i called to lose the force. What follows is the loss of the contact with the adversary. It is the case the most serious because it is consequently impossible to act while resting on the starting situation which was the body to body.
Another principle consists in " connecting " the techniques as a bamboo which folds under the wind but always returns to its place. Not to connect would be equivalent to lose the contact.
Lastly, you " follow " the movements of the adversary without being opposed to it. If he is hard and stiff, you remains flexible and mobile ; you are then able to guide him. If he moves quickly, you follow in the same way ; if he is slow, you also adapt yourself to slowness.

By training the Tui Shou, you can by simple contact know the strength of the opponent, which you adapt to yours.
Finally, you react by considering the other person not as an opponent but as a part of yourself.