As there is not much information relating to Tai Chi Chuan, due to the fact that it was developed and practiced by mostly Hermit Monks and Priests, exact dates, practices and forms being developed at the time are a bit sketchy. So, in order to keep you, the reader, interested I will move ahead a bit to the next known, and documented, Master that came along.
This would be, Chen Wang Ting. (Estimate: 1597 -1664)
Wang Ting came from the Chen Village of China, which at the time was known for many styles of Martial arts. It is assumed however that Wang Ting was the originator of what is known as the “Modern” style of Tai Chi Chuan. (Kindly note Modern) He is said to have taken the many different styles of Martial Arts and defined them into routines. These routines, or practices, were based on exercise rather than using the Boxing, or Forceful maneuvers of disciplines like Kung-Fu which can harm the physical Chi in the body. In other words, Master Chen sought to take advantage of an opponent’s “force” and turn it into an advantage with which to use against them while not harming one’s inner Chi.
Among his developments is the “Pushing Hands” exercise which is meant to eliminate the physical damage done to a persons Chi when practicing Martial Arts and rather keep the practitioners Chi in a harmonic balance. Although Master Chen used other practices from other martial art forms, here we shall only focus on those devoted solely to Tai Chi Chuan. Beginning with the Push Hands exercise.
Below are the steps used in this exercise. Remember, this is a Two Person exercise and even though one can familiarize themselves with the steps and movements, it is meant to be a “contact” exercise.
Two people face each other at arms distance, both with the same foot forward. The forward hand of each participant is raised to approximately chest height with the palm facing in, and the back of the hand lightly touching the same part of the other participant’s hand. The rear hand (the hand corresponding to the rear foot) is placed gently on the elbow of the other participant’s lead elbow, so that both players are in an equal starting position. Feet should be comfortably placed so that each participant feels balanced and stable from the start.
To initiate the exercise, each participant cooperatively moves his or her arms, waist and legs in a circular pattern for three rotations, after which the significant aspect of the drill begins. After the third rotation, each player attempts to remain in light contact with the other player's arms while at the same time remaining in perfect balance. A loss of balance can be detected by observing the feet of each practitioner. A participant who is pushed/pulled off balance will usually stumble out of his or her stable position and thus need to reset his or her stance to resume the exercise. Participants are permitted to put their hands on the other's body in an attempt to unbalance the opponent, while at the same time following certain rules or guidelines established at the start. Such as no over use of force, no sudden use of force or by not following the exercise as stated above. Remember, this is a “Practice” exercise and not a physical combat.
Below is a diagram of the movements for each practitioner.