According to a recent interview with Senior Beijing Wrestling and Sanda Team coaches, pushing hands is a modern sport and creation. It has minimal to do with the yin and yang theory in a historical sense. In the late 1970s, confrontational push hand sports were developed, and by 1980s- standardized. Pushing is the most popular technique in the modern Chen sport. Using one or both hands to push the other side out of the venue. In regards to factual Chen Taijiquan training in feudal times- this style of push hands is a new concept.
Many modern scholars of Chinese Martial Studies have been puzzled by the feudal origins of Chen Tai Chi Chuan’s- extremely slow style of movement with “sticking and adhering” qualities as world renown. Chen Taijiquan is indeed an ancient system which thrived in the era of knights and shining armor. The modern “slow qigong” Tai Chi training style seems counterintuitive to the essential speed, agility, and power required by the medieval military. The general consensus concludes 1928 Fitness Reform Chen Taiji was inspired by Medieval European Art, depicting “knights fighting Snails in the battlefield”! According to tradition, medieval knights fought snails, symbolically- because snails represented the Lombards, who had become widely despised lenders throughout Europe in the middle ages. [Note: Please do not take this post seriously, and remember… HISTORY IS FUN!]
Ancient Chen Taijiquan Boxing Treatise reveals that an alternate empty-hand boxing system is supplemented with the Lao Jia 74 Chen Village routine (sword and shield form). The Ming Dynasty boxing of Qi Jiguang has evolved a technique very close to that of modern Sanda- even more similar to Bajiquan. The irony is that most of the Tai Chi masters nowadays have never heard of this boxing, and continue to teach Chen Lao Jia Yi Lu as an empty-hand system. The historical misconceptions are considerable in modern kungfu culture.
Many Chen Tai Chi practitioners today have minimal interest and knowledge of factual methods of the original system. The 1928 fitness reform in China shifted the context of Chen Taijiquan considerably, yet failed to make any distinction the modern interpretation is not historical truth. Chen Tai Chi practitioners today who do not appreciate the feudal military context of the art, are still enjoying the empty-hand methods of medieval melee combat, used by Ming-era Chinese Knights- whether or not they realize or accept it.
Taiji Push Hands training has evolved from the ancient military confrontation tactics of the two-handed spear. The offensive and defensive “sticking and adhering” strategy between soldiers in the Ming era, utilized weapons context entirely and often at long range. Chen Taijiquan push hands were never intended purely for unarmed wrestling, close distance- the modern approach requires much additional supplementation for practicality.