It is very common in the arts that employ chi sao/sticky hands and push hands to test the ability of your opponent by doing these techniques. I personally used to love chi sao and was pretty good at it. It is somehow supposed to communicate to you and others their fighting ability. In actuality these are just games that have bear no weight in a real fight. No true fighter is going to let you rest your arms on theirs, not even for a second, nor let you into their personal space without paying a price. There is a greater issue here that my dear friend and boxing aficionado John Clark raises, "how did you earn that position?" In other words when you set up with already hands touching you did nothing to gain that position. In reality you'd have to work hard to achieve that position. Can you imagine stepping into a boxing ring or octagon and doing this? Years ago I gave a demonstration with several other martial artists and many of the taiji chuan teachers. After the demo one of them challenged me in front of the audience to do push hands with him and I declined telling him and the audience that this was a practice I did not do. He claimed that if I did chi sao I should be able to do push hands and chided me to step forward to him. I hesitantly did so and he then placed my arms in the awkward push hands position. Now to be clear he was about 5-6 inches taller than me and 30 lbs heavier. He set my hands up and then pushed at me. I instantly stepped to the side to divert him and he immediately reprimanded me, grandstanding to the audience, that the object was to stay in place. I told him I thought that was nuts because he was bigger than me and could stay out of range. He insisted that in the Taiqi world this is how it goes. We set up again and he lunged again but this time I switched to mantis hands and cut him down. He was greatly displeased at this once again reprimanding me for breaking the rules. At this point I was done with this and I stepped in front of him, out of reach, set my hands and said, "Now do your push hands". He couldn't because we weren't touching . He became angry that I was not abiding by these rules that clearly favored him and he walked away.
What did I learn from this? That any kind of fighting that is limited by its own esoteric rules is not fighting but a game. It might teach you balance and body mechanics but it's not going to teach you how to fight. The one thing that is really lacking here is the stamina it takes to actually engage in a fight. It's completely draining in just a few seconds. The only way to prepare for that is to do heavy stamina training, heavy bag, running , boxing or whatever. No amount of chi sao or push hands will ever prepare you for the endurance of the real thing. I do like some of these practices but it's like Greco Roman wrestling or Sumo to me; it's great in its own arena but not meant to compete universally. For the record I love Sumo and watch the Grand National Championships every year.
Now kid you can't move out of the circle!
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