View Full Version : The hands do nothing

09-02-2004, 11:50 AM
This is something Cheng man-ching is reported to have said and I'm wondering what the forum's opions are on this matter and how we feel it relates specifically to chi and meridians or to structure and posture.

Can anyone raise and turn the hands using only gravity and intent?

I love this art.

09-02-2004, 02:35 PM
An impossibility but I am sure there are those who possess this talent, albeit implausible. Let me learn something today!

Intent is just that.

09-02-2004, 11:49 PM
I think Prof Chen used a metaphor. It is well-known in all martial arts that rooting plays a significant role. I had hours of rooting exercises with the Grandmaster where i had to shift weight prior to turning or performing any hand/upper body actions. Everything is directed from the foot and commanded by the waist

Look at your own form, e.g. "parting wild horses manes". You step, shift and than turn and open arms and deliver force

09-02-2004, 11:56 PM
Every movement is carried out udriven by your mind with a strong intent. If you have a strong intention to move your hands than you will create more strength. Moving with the mind is one thing, the next level will be infusing your mind into your limbs when you strike. The latter is hard and I still struggle with it. This is a difficult topic Josh which must be handled in an article and my time is limited

Have you done any push hands with a good teacher?

09-03-2004, 03:41 AM
When pushing hands imagine you have no hands. EVerything comes from the waist/mind. RElax, breathe and think of pushing. Otherwise you will act from the point of contact(hands) and use native force

09-03-2004, 06:53 AM
I do not posess any skill.

I have played push hands with Wolfe L, and members of his class in NYC but that was several years ago. Since then, I have been working on relaxation, and finding the connection between the root and the finger tips.

The concept of moving the hands without moving the hands is possible. If you watch any video of cheng man-ching, you can see he is not sending signals to the muscles in his hands, arms, shoulders, feet, knees, hips.

He is using the connection of his sinews realized through sung across the structure of his body to affect the movement of his extremities. In his case, I'd go so far as to say he is only moving his mind at the tan tien. The rest is left up to dao. He follows the rules.

One tai chi classic says:

"It is like the weight attached to the beam of a balance scale.
Give free play to the opponent's force no matter how heavy or light,
you will know how heavy or light it is after weighing it.
To push or pull requires only four ounces,
one thousand pounds can also be balanced.
If you ask what the principle is, the answer is the function of the lever."

One side is heavy, the other is light. Heavy swings with gravity and includes one leg and the opposite arm. They balance each other. The gravity affects the stretchiness of the tendons and flesh and provides the mind@tantien with the weight at the end of the beam. The heavy pulls the spine straight through the weighted leg into the ground. The light arm takes aim.

Holding a posture like this while separating substantial (light) from insubstantial (heavy) is not the secret. The secret is revealed when you allow that which was insubstantial to change to substantial. This occurs through the weight shift. One side suddenly appears, the other dissapears.

As weight shifts, it is like a massive pendulum. The weight of the pendulum is greater than that of the body because we can increase the downward force by lightly gathering our sinews (reeling silk). But it only fully works if all parts follow the principle. The leg (completely relaxed save the reeling which is yang within yin) swings down from the hip led by the waist, and the arm swings from the shoulder led by the waist. Their combined downward energy compresses the spine which roots us to the ground with more than just 9.8m/s * body mass. When you suddenly stop reeling (just let go), you release the compression through the opposite hand which was given plenty of time to lightly touch a vital point. The power is delivered as quickly as you can sigh. There is no escape.

The classics say "there is no part that does not gain power". There is no need to move the hands. The hands do nothing. Allow dao to exact your intent.

I have mentioned nothing of chi, because I do not understand chi. I dont know what it is. I have only theories. What are yours?

09-03-2004, 07:13 AM

Personal experience
Foot positioning and waist movements are key for me along with body inclination to generate any 'force'. Push hands, in itself canot do that. My level of skill is low as it is already.

The mind intent sounds good, has merit IF one goes through the full gamut of training. As I am not privy to waht may be 'secret' (easily fooled) I try to break apart things myself and practice with those who share the same goals. The closest I cna come to mechanics is rooted with chanssujin concepts, and most of the training effect is mechanical, meaning certain drills are done over time and they become automatic through reflex conditioning and 'periodization'.

If you apply qi'na, you MUST use hands. I know of no one who can apply qi'na without using their hands but that is still secondary or terciary if body positioning and angle are off.

If I pretend to isolate body mechanics using INTENT, nothing wil happen and I am using literal meaning here. Tie hands, someone attacks , use intent to respond and gues what happens. I am on the ground.
My understanding of INTENT is that one already has the mechanical process (training/drills/many repetitions/etc so INTENT is part of process. Without that previous training, INTENT is meaningless (at least for me) based on my rational (in)coherent view.

OBSERVATION: it says push/pull requires 4 ozs. Not so. It happens only when one knows what is happenning so one may take advantage of 'giving way' (pretending to do so) for a greater good!

If I am incorrect here, will someone correct my view if they have an opposite experience so we can share equally!

09-03-2004, 07:34 AM
If you tie one end of a rope to a rock, and the other end to someone's wrist, it actually takes much less than 4 oz to drop the rock off a cliff. The 4oz is the force YOU expend.

The force of the push/pull comes from the earth. If you are exerting any more than 4oz you are forsaking the principle and working too hard for your money. Its supposed to be easy right?

I doubt that the old dudes would have said "4oz" as a metaphor. Their aim was to teach not to confuse. We confuse ourselves by disbelieving. Relax relax relax!

Hopefully I will not practice for 30 years and sigh with regret :)

09-03-2004, 11:19 AM
I like to deal with improbabilities. If you know what you are doing and you believe you can do it, then you can! One of my videos is called Stand Still and be Fit. I haven't tried it, but I'm told it realy does work!