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Yang style taiji push-hands

A push-hands push in Montreal

By Martin Payette, xingyiquan instructor

I’m looking forward to all the students upping their push-hands game after the upcoming Yang style Taijiquan seminar at the start of next month (October 1 and 2).

Push hands, or pushing hands or tuishou, has been a cornerstone of our practice at the Montreal Gonfgu Research Center (hereafter, the Center) as well as in the larger North American Tang Shou Tao Association (NATSTA) since the latter was founded. While most people in NATSTA are focused on either xingyiquan or baguazhang, push hands, which is typically associated with taijiquan, is useful for students of all internal martial arts as a way to develop soft skills with a training partner.

Vince Black, the association’s founder, was an adept at the two-person drill. Unfortunately, the skill wasn’t passed down to his students as cleanly as all our xingyi and bagua systems. To be honest, I’m willing to bet that most people found it too difficult to understand and just avoided it. It’s a shame because there is a lot about internal power that we may never understand without the listening and yielding skills inherent to push hands.

Master Liang Dehua (left) and Pnut (right)

That’s why this visit from Pnut, a senior student and disciple of Master Liang Dehua, has us all very excited. Ethan Murchie, our head instructor at the Center, began studying at Taiji Academy, Liang Dehua’s online program, during the pandemic. There were lots of videos of him and his students on YouTube, and the tuishou they were demonstrating looked very impressive. But I was skeptical of any sort of attempt to teach taiji online, and also wary of believing what I saw them do without experiencing it. After starting the online course myself, however, I was genuinely surprised.

Master Liang is a 6th generation inner-door student of Master Chi Qingsheng (the last inner-door student of Grandmaster Gu Lisheng) and the international representative of a unique lineage that incorporates the teachings of Yang Shaohou and Yang Chengfu into a complete system of internal martial arts. He is a young man by some standards of what a taiji master should be, but this might have helped him in understanding how to properly build an online course that bridges tradition and modern realities. His course promises a lot, but does not rush the learning and also acknowledges the impossibility of learning internal power without people to practice with. It is a clean transmission by someone who is both fluent in Chinese and English, and who understands how to explain concepts that are otherwise impossible to translate directly.

Ethan and students at the Center who have been practicing Master Liang’s taiji have had wonderful results in terms of how we approach push hands, and we look forward to sharing this knowledge with the rest of NATSTA.

Pnut is Master Liang’s representative in North America and a skilled practitioner in his own right, as can be seen in the following video. We are hoping that anyone reading this who is interested in push hands, regardless of lineage or experience, is motivated to come to this seminar. Ultimately, we would be thrilled if we could build a community of schools in and around Montreal who enjoy push hands and want to meet up periodically so that we can all benefit and keep the art alive.

Dates and event registration

Traditional Yang Style Taijiquan Workshop with Pnut

Dates: 1-2 October 2022
Schedule: 9-12pm and 2-5pm on both days
Location: Montreal, Quebec. Precise location to be determined.
to register contact: seminaires@montrealgongfu.com


For more information on this unique system, visit:

Gongfu Montréal

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