By the 20th century, Internal Martial Arts became reimagined by reformers and teachers striving to preserve Chinese culture, or to strengthen the Chinese nation against foreign oppression. The martial arts context of today evolved into a nationalized project that had state backing.
In ancient Chinese sculptures and paintings, most of the Generals were portrayed with a thicker muscular belly- characterized as the waist of a tiger, or ancient military commander’s waist. In modern times, though rare… raw lineages maintain a distinct core muscle control which descends from the Armor dynasties. Under the ancient umbilical is the Dantian, which is regarded as a crucial muscle group for medieval Chinese Knights. A dynamic and thicker waist can provide additional protection of the spine, and auxiliary force to the core muscles. Ancient treatise favors the commander’s waist for generating short-range power and maintaining stability on foot while wearing heavy armor. Armor prevents damage from sabers and polearms, requiring more emphasis on wrestling, balance, and core control for weapons precision. Many conflicts ended with knocking the opponent to the ground and disrupting their Qi with either a blunt weapon (mace), or a short weapon- to penetrate a suit of armor at the seams, or through the visor of the helmet.
Sumo is originally a method originating in China, and the golden age of Chinese sumo wrestling is the Song Dynasty. Song era imperial guards are strong and disciplined soldiers, but they have to undergo a strict selection and training to become a royal sumo wrestler. Descending to the Ming Dynasty (Chen Tai Chi synthesis), Sumo wrestling is listed as the six royalties- an important means of military combat training. “Real” Chen Tai Chi PUSH HANDS without armor, in ancient times- is medieval Chinese Sumo wrestling. The modern “sticking and adhering/ soft” aspects of push hands sport is borrowed from feudal weapons training and philosophical integration.
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.