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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 force.




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