The Defense Technique in Tai Chi Push Hands
January 27, 2011
In a study recently published by the
Journal of Sports Sciences, several researchers from National Cheng Kung
University of Taiwan discussed the defense technique of Tai Chi push hands.
Developed from traditional Chinese martial arts, Tai Chi exercise includes
different forms and interactive Push Hands but biomechanical analyses have
focused on the former only.
To analyze the techniques of Push Hands, an experienced master was asked to
defend pushing by four opponents. Movements were videotaped and digitized using
a motion analysis system. Surface electrodes were used to record the
electromyographic activity of ten muscle groups. Two force plates were used to
measure the ground reaction force on each foot. Inexperienced individuals
performed the same procedure to serve as the control group.
The results indicate that the master adopted a postural adjustment to maintain
balance. A clear shift of body weight from the front to the rear foot and
mediolateral displacement of the centre of gravity was observed. Low
electromyographic activity was observed in the upper body muscle groups, while
high electromyographic activity was observed in the right rectus femoris and
very high activity in the left rectus femoris during the defence. All
inexperienced participants lost their balance in resisting pushing.
It is concluded that the Tai Chi
defensive technique includes a subtle postural adjustment that slightly changes
the pushing force direction, and allows the rear leg to resist the incoming