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TUI SHOU (Pushing Hands)

Pushing Hands has long been
regarded by Tai Chi practitioners
and exponents as a test of skill
and ability. The purpose of pushing
hands is to train our listening
ability, sensitivity, reaction speed
and in methods of applying
techniques to disrupt our opponent's
balance. Pushing hands is invaluable
in learning self defence techniques.

Many will be familiar with certain
pushing hands drills such as Four
Directions (fixed step) and Seven
Stars (moving step) for example

but perhaps less familiar with Pushing Hands as a contest.

There are both national and international competitions of Tai Chi which
incorporate contests of both Fixed and Moving Step Pushing Hands as well
as events for Hand and Weapon Form. The Rules below are those currently
used for the British Open Tai Chi Championships held annually in April.

The photographs are from Rencontres Jasnières, an annual Pushing Hands
event in the Loire Valley in France. 

All competitors should wear suitable sports clothing. No potentially
dangerous objects may be worn or carried. Competitors should be clean,
with their nails clipped and long hair tied back.

The minimum age limit is sixteen years, and
written permission is required for those under
eighteen years. The organiser will determine
weight divisions, and a weigh-in will be
conducted on the day of the competition.


On the referee's instruction, competitiors will
come into a front stance facing one another
with the same front foot on the centre line.
The refereee will bring their arms into contact
and they will begin as soon as the referee
releases his hand. Duration will be two minutes.
When the timekeeper signals half time, the
contestants will stop and change feet before
restarting as above.

The referee will stop the contest when one or both contestants loses balance,
or at his discretion. He will then restart the contest. When the timekeeper
signals full-time, the referee will separate the contestants and await the
scorer's announcement. The referee will raise the hand of the winner, and the
contestants will then leave the area. 

One point will be awarded if a contestant raises his foot from the floor or
steps off balance in any direction or raises any part of the rear foot from
the floor. The sole of the front foot may be raised, provided that the heel
is still in contact with the floor. Two points will be awarded for a half-fall,
i.e. where a contestant touches the floor with one knee or hand.

Four points will be awarded for a full fall, i.e. where both knees / hands
/ buttocks touch the floor. If both contestants lose their balance in the same
exchange, no points will be awarded. Where a contestant is losing balance
and grabs the opponent's clothing, two points will be awarded to his opponent.
The scorer will award points as directed by the referee. If the scores are tied,
the first to score will be the winner.

If a foul is committed, the referee
may at his discretion warn the
culprit and award two points to his
opponent, or, if the foul is serious,
he may disqualify the offender.
Fouls include attacks to the groin,
legs, head or neck; punches or kicks,
spear hands, throws, sweeps, locks
and trips, biting, spitting and
scratching, pulling hair or clothing,
putting an arm or arms around the
opponent's back; disobeying the
referee, and dissent and foul

Contestants may use pang, tsai, on, tsoi, li, lit, tsou, kou.

The rules shall be the same as those given above, with certain
additions. The contestants will be permitted to move within a given
area, e.g. 4 x 4 metres. The contestants will approach one another
from opposite ends of the contest area and make hand/arm contact.
The contest will begin on the referee's command.

One point will be awarded where a contestant steps outside the area.
Two points will be awarded for a half fall; four points for a full fall, and
eight points where a contestant is sent flying out of the area.

Contestants may move freely within the contest
area using pang, tsai, on, tsoi, li, lit, tsou, kou.
Sweeps, throws and locks are permitted. No
finger or headlocks.

The different categories will be decided by the
organiser. Competitors must wear suitable sports
clothing; they may wear sports shoes or be
barefooted. A panel of three judges will award
points up to a maximum of ten in respect of each
of the following criteria:


1. Correct posture
2. Correct stance
3. Distinguishing Yin and Yang
4. Intent and focus
5. Co-ordination
6. Smooth transition from one technique to another
7. Balanced turning and stepping
8. Relaxation and softness
9. Aesthetic appearance
10. Martial spirit

1. Correct posture
2. Correct stance
3. Distinguishing Yin and Yang
4. Intent and focus
5. Harmony of body and weapon
6. Correct use of jin
7. Balance and agility
8. Control of weapon
9. Aesthetic appearance
10. Martial spirit

Each judge will deduct five points from a competitor's total in respect of
each instance of waving a jian (straight sword) directly overhead, performing
cartwheels, splits or somersaults. Similarly five points will be deducted for
each completed ten second period by which the competitor's form exceeds the
time allowed. This will be four minutes.

The judges will disqualify any competitor whose form shown is not a
recognisable Tai Chi form. After all the contestants in a category have
been assessed, the three highest scorers may be asked to perform
again to decide the final placings.

The judges will disqualify competitors who perform an inappropriate form
and will deduct points in accordance with the degree to which a form contains
inapprropriate moves. 

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