Join Hands Operation with Active Steps

Huo Pu T'ui Shou

Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan

Taken from the book "Tai Chi Chuan - It's Effects and Practical Applications," edited by H. C. Chao, Page 165, 1981 Unitrade Company Ltd. Available from Tai Chi Magazine.

First, I will expand on some of the details of the exercise, you should read this as necessary. Then, the fundamental moves will be described. This will be covered during the demonstration. Finally, I will describe one of three techniques of changing the lead.


The wardoff starts in front and lower than in the 108. You accept the push with a right press, your palm faces out. The push comes straight at your chest. The hand rotates as it moves toward your chest. The index finger leads the forearm around to the wardoff right. At completion the palm is facing behind and over the right shoulder with the index finger pointing up. The index finger should feel the arc from the press to the wardoff. In close quarters, the index finger arc could pick an opponent's glasses off. After the wardoff, the right hand makes a clockwise spin into the push while maintaining contact. This final motion is a reflection of the final motion of the left hand at the end of Single Whip. The left hand moves to push.


The hand placement makes the push. The hands are at either end of the forearm preventing an attack of elbow or hand. The following narrative describes the ideal states. In practice, you learn in very tiny spirts over a long time. Remember to keep the shoulders loose and the elbows down.

Position the hand over the elbow so that the funny bone is in the center of the palm. Fingers are like tentacles, gently wrapped over the entire elbow, not too tight and always sticky. The hand over the wrist such that the protruding bone on the outside of the wrist is in the center of the palm. The fingers gently are spread wide from thumb to little finger. You need less strength to control the hand, but more sensitivity as the mind leads the hands . . .

Before you push you must float backward and down like in the form.

Join Hands Operation with Active Steps

The following text is a rewrite of Chao's text. It describes the fundamental movements of this exercise.

Two persons, White and Black, stand opposite each other, and each steps forward with the right foot, Black assumes a relaxed stance with the right arm horizontal in front of the body. White pushes Black's forearm with both hands; simultaneously Black takes a right step backward half a step. When Black is pushed, he lowers his body on his legs to neutralize the push backward, Black moves backward half a step with his right foot. When Whites's pushing force is nearly at an end, he steps forward with his left foot and then steps forward with his right foot. After neutralizing White's push with wardoff, White assumes the press posture, Black moves forward half a step with his right foot and pushes White's right forearm with both hands. White rotates his waist and lowers his body on his legs to neutralize the push backward. Both perform press, wardoff and push repeatedly. Keep the moves distinct. Stop when you feel tired or renegade dow.

The sequence of moves forms a vertical figure eight. The White's push goes uphill, Blacks's wardoff is at the top shoulder high, Black's floats back and down in neutralize. This sequence makes half of the figure eight.

What makes this exercise fun is the speed and floating nature of the moves. It is quite unlike anything any other two person exercise except perhaps the 88.

The transition during push, an outside step

In this transition, you are being pushed on your right arm. You are doing a right press with the left fingers at the middle of the forearm. Note that the dow is coming at you floating up to the zenith of a vertical loop that is shoulder high. There you will deflect it with a neutralize back and downward into push. Your right foot steps outside the opponents right foot (to the left) facing forward. This move pulls the opponent's left hand off your right hand. The opponent, sensing that his left side is free, advances lead change step and bring his left arm to the lead up from below at a 45-degree angle. This advance is an attempt to break your rhythm.

Simultaneously, you step back with your right foot, your lead change step. Your step is long and behind the left foot. Your dantian rotates clockwise as the left arm comes up to the lead from below at a 45-degree angle, you retreat from push to a block. This sequence is complementary to the opponent's moves.

Instantaneously, you and your opponent's left arms make contact. Forming an x, left outside forearm to left outside forearm, you withdraw your right hand and allow the left arm to rotate to horizontal. You place the right fingers on the left forearm and do press. The opponent shifts his hands to elbow and wrist for push. Both of you now have left-handed arm and foot placement; both of you are now at the middle of the figure eight with roles reversed. The advance has been neutralized and neither side gains speed, position or timing. You now return the looping exercise in a left handed form, you retreat and the opponent advances.

Last modified: Wednesday, 15 April 1998
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