I’ve been playing around a bit with push/pull with no grips in judo as a crossover from push hands and it seems to help quite a bit. Some taiji folks in push hands look down on gripping as if it’s some crude thing but minus the attitude problem it’s very practical as a means to develop antennae type “sensitivity” in every other part of the body besides the hands. If you can develop a “stickiness” so that, say, your forearm blends and leads your opponent just a little bit, it’s harder for your opponent to detect. This method seems to be helping me in gripfighting because I can try to “enter” in a smoother, more undetected way through a smaller, shorter-period opening. That element of surprise and deception is key. It can also make you seem faster. This requires “tinjin”. If you can do this tinjin, and stickiness, you can try to “follow”, then turn that into “blending” then “leading” (in as real-time and short a period as possible) … then hopefully that turns into kuzushi to get back to the judo terms and the throw. Ideally people would practice push hands or similar drills this way and not just to an off-balance point but after they have practiced fully, they could sometimes just go to the kuzushi/uchikomi point. That seems much more effective. Then it’s clear why one might do a “pattern” like roll back to push. After a while you want to do an almost imperceptible rollback and immediate push so that if a bit of leading (pulling) doesn’t work, immediately shift to pushing. I can see this possibility clearly now and can do it slightly. Just a matter of 10,000 more hours of practice time.
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