Whilst the main focus of tai chi chuan training is centred around solo practice of hand and weapon forms working with a partner can dramatically increase your understanding of the art.
Partner work can vary considerably and, in most tai chi classes, students often begin with gentle sensitivity exercises where they are gradually inroduced to the concept of being in physical contact with a partner. From here they can progress to tui shou (push hands), san shou (sparring work) and Da Lui (a partner routine which trains the essential elements of tai chi).
Partner work helps to train sensitivity, awareness, rooting, structure and stances among many other aspects. The principles of empty hand training can also be extended to weapon work.
Author: Ronnie Robinson
Images: Ronnie Robinson