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Dr. Tao Ping Siang (alternative spelling) was a senior disciple of the legendary Professor Cheng Man-Ching. Devoted to the study of martial arts, he began with a Shaolin style in his childhood. He went on to study the internal styles of "Water Boxing" (Liu-ho Pa-fa) under Grandmaster Wu Yihui, Hsing I, and Pa Qua Chang. Dr. Tao was a mechanical and aeronautical engineer, served in the air force, and also became a doctor of acupuncture.

Dr. Tao's Push Hands Workshop Videos

A master of Tai Chi push hands demonstrates the principles From: Essential Sports and Fitness Video Channel

This is the largest collection of videos on the web of Dr. Ping-Siang Tao in action, including two of his rare DVDs. Although small and appearing frail, Dr. Tao was renowned for his mastery of push hands and was known as the "Master of the Soft Way". (With a subscription you can view these and all the other videos on this channel.)


Push Hands Workshop Clips

Advanced practitioners try to push the good doctor

Dr. Tao pushes opponent

Dr. Tao's favorite method of teaching push hands was to allow students to try whatever they liked to push him and demonstrate that there was always a soft way out. As these videos show, he delighted in demonstrating that softness can overcome hardness. He was consistent in attributing the amazing ease with which he could defeat larger, stronger, and aggressive opponents, not to magic, but to applying basic principles of physics: momentum, inertia, and leverage.

From: Dr. Ping-Siang Tao (DVD) (00:04:48)

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Push Hands Workshop 1

Protect yourself at all times but don't attack first

Dr. Tao neutralizing a push by Tom Otterness

Dr. Tao explains and shows how "yielding while controlling" is the key to making push hands an effective martial arts training exercise. He emphasizes proper positioning and control of joints, understanding the best defensive locations for avoiding a direct attack, and letting your opponents ambition give you an opening.

From: Dr. Ping-Siang Tao (4 Postures DVD) (00:12:37)

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Push Hands Workshop 2

Yield. Don't let the bird land on your shoulder

Dr. Tao adjusts push hands position of two students

Dr. Tao circulates through his class, correcting students as they push hands. He encourages them to make themselves open and receptive, so that they can practice yielding. He shows how to handle attacks by taking the opponent to one side or the other and by using the basic push hands "postures".

From: Dr. Ping-Siang Tao (4 Postures DVD) (00:09:47)

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Push Hands Workshop 3

Unbalance your opponent without forcing it

Dr. Tao throws push hands opponent to the side

Dr. Tao demonstrates taking the proper shapes to make it easy to yield and protect from unexpected attacks, for example, to your thumb or by an attempted kick. Through sensing an opponent's intentions, he shows that pushing or pulling an opponent off balance can be done gently, with minimal force. He reiterates the importance and difficulty of yielding, which requires giving up the ego and understanding that "peace" is the true objective.

From: Dr. Ping-Siang Tao (4 Postures DVD) (00:09:57)

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Basic Push Hands Lesson

Fundamentals of Tai Chi Chuan push hands

Dr. Tao pushing hands

Dr. Tao reviews 4 basic moves: ward off, rollback, press, and push. He points out the importance of yielding and the power generated by coordinated, whole-body movement. This video was made with Sifu Howard Lee in 1988 at William C. C. Chen's Tai Chi school in New York City.

From: Dr. Ping-Siang Tao (DVD) (00:10:59)

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Public Push Hands Demonstrations

Push Hands from a sitting position and against groups of challengers

Dr. Tao pushing hands while seated

Dr. Tao put on demonstrations with his students that included pushing from a sitting position and pushing against multiple opponents. While this form of showbiz sometimes included some extra pushing distance for dramatic effect, the attacks against him were never planned or rehearsed. (Editor's note: In the many times we pushed, I and the other students always tried hard to trap him, trick him, or shove him, to no avail.)

From: Ping-Siang Tao (DVD) (00:06:47)

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Push Hands Warm Up Exercises

Relaxed exercises in yielding in any direction

Dr. Tao leads class in push hands warm-up exercises

Dr. Tao started his push hands classes with a series of exercises in soft yielding, many of which have direct application to push hands and martial arts. In this video, he shows an example of using one of his dance-like moves to simultaneously neutralize an attack and respond with a strike.

From: Dr. Ping-Siang Tao (4 Postures DVD) (00:07:32)

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Solo Push Hands Drill

The four basic push hands postures

Dr. Tao leads class in solo push hands drill

Dr. Tao leads his students through the solo push hands exercise, which consists of repeating the four basic postures:

1) Roll back, 2) yield the chest, 3) push, and 4) press

From: Dr. Ping-Siang Tao (4 Postures DVD) (00:06:41)

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Yang Short Form

37 movements of Tai Chi Chuan

Dr. Tao doing Yang Short Form

Dr. Tao does the traditional Yang Short Form, as taught by Professor Cheng Man-Ching.

From: Dr. Ping-Siang Tao (DVD) (00:06:48 + 00:06:13)

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Yang Short Form - Clips

37 movements of Tai Chi Chuan

Dr. Tao doing Yang Short form in group

Clips of Dr. Tao doing the Tai Chi form with his workshop students.

From: Dr. Ping-Siang Tao (DVD) (00:01:01)

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Dr. Tao on qi (chi) and the origins of power

Q: If we don't use force to practice the form, where does power come from?

A: We all know that our body weight is created by gravity. When we move any part of our body, we will create what is called momentum and inertia. This is naturally related to what is called potential energy.

Even though most people who practice Taiji Quan think a lot about qi, it is important to understand that "qi" can refer to many things. It can refer to primordial energy, to true energy, to vital energy, the energy of breath, and so on. But there is one kind of qi that we call momentum qi: though it may seem mysterious, it is involved in all our daily activities. ... When we are just beginning to study ... we focus on particulars, like whether our posture is correct. At that stage, we focus on things like breathing qi, or qi in the Dantien. I tried to cultivate qi from meditation and qigong: I didn't understand that those sorts of qi are irrelevant to momentum qi. ...

Q: Could you say something more about momentum qi and where it comes from?

A: Let me tell you a story. In 1950 I started to study with Cheng Man-Ching. Later, I started living in his household, and had more time to study from him. I had many tasks to do, but when I wasn't doing anything else, I would sit and meditate. Once my teacher asked me what I was doing. I said that I was trying to cultivate qi. "What qi" he asked. "The qi I need for Taiji Quan," I answered. At that he just smiled and said, "You haven't even got your postures correct: how can you have any qi?"

I didn't know what he meant, and I spent days trying to come up with an answer. When I really thought about his remark, I realized that there must be some sort of qi that is initiated through movement. Later, I realized that the qi that arises in motion is very similar to what is called momentum in dynamics. I also realized that, linked with momentum, there is also inertia. that means that when you practice Taiji Quan to the point that all sections of your body are threaded together and move as a unit, that all the force threading through the different segments will merge, and become a huge volume of energy. If there are blockages, if the threading together is not complete, and loose, then different parts of your structure will interfere with the transmission of the force, and the force will end up opposing itself. The key is to have no obstructions, no resistances, so that force flows freely; to unify and synchronize all components.

From "Taiji Push Hands - The Secret of Qi in Taiji Quan". By Ping-Siang Tao.

  Dr. Tao with Cheng Man-Ching and wife

Dr. Tao with Cheng Man-Ching & wife

Dr. Tao with Cheng Man-Ching and wife Dr. Tao with Cheng Man-Ching and wife Dr. Tao doing Tai Chi Sword Form

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