Its a learning that is not limited to push hands only.
The study of push hands using the Push Hands Game platform provides also for systematic study of the use of techniques by understanding various factors that are commonly studied in martial arts such as positioning, timing, speed, responses, strategy, alignment, power, etc.
Thus, in learning push hands using Push Hands Game method students also learn how to use the techniques by studying themselves and their training partner in the role of a resisting opponent. How much resistance that the training partner should put in depends on the objective of the training at that moment.
The 13- Movement Form that I detailed in TaijiKinesis Vol 2 has many areas of study that is not obvious to an observer. Using the method of Push Hands Game we study how the thirteen movements can be used widely and in the process also refine our understanding and practice of the form.
For example I have written about Piercing Leg principle before. Its a useful method for attacking your training partner’s balance. You can use it as part of a strike or as an aid to doing a throw. In Push Hands Game we pay attention to it so that we understand its practice in the form better.
If both training partners are comfortable with each other after a period of training they can actually flow from technique to technique and in the process study how the techniques from the entire form can be used. Its a cooperative method to learn about overcoming resistance. Its unlike a 2-men form where the sequence of movements are dictated.
In Push Hands Game how the outcome is depends. We can work on a narrow area of focus or explore a wider canvas. There are no winners or losers. Its about learning. What you walk away with depends on your willingness to learn. Sometimes I get students who are obsessed with not losing but still lose. They keep trying not to lose but can’t change the outcome because they are trying to hard. I have to tell them to relax, to let go and then when they do it they realize that they can win by not caring about losing.
Students who are afraid to lose tend to have chaotic responses that open up their guard to attacks. When they stick to the game plan they have a more systematic and logical manner of responding that minimizes their exposure hence upping their winning probability. This is why having a game plan is important.