The First Pushing Hands Victory

Sifu Alan Hubbard
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In the summer of 1978, Grandmaster Doc-Fai Wong was taking his senior-advanced instructor’s tai chi lesson in Hong Kong with his teacher, Great-Grandmaster Hu Yuen Chou. On one Saturday afternoon at the Dung Wah Hospital, Chinese herbal clinic of the Sheung Wan district in Hong Kong, the clinic was closed in the afternoon after lunchtime. Grandmaster’s teacher was having his class for the co-workers. One visitor Mr. Yam was there, but Grandmaster Wong didn’t know who he was. After the introduction from his teacher Dr. Hu Yuen Chou, resident of the clinic, Grandmaster Wong learned that Mr. Yam was a student of his teacher’s Wudong sword’s classmate. Mr. Yam studied Wudang sword from Lee Ying Ngong. Master Lee Ying Ngong immigrated to Venezuela; therefore Mr. Yam had no more teachers to work with him.

Mr. Yam had over 25 years of kung fu and Tai Chi training. He practiced Wu style of tai chi and was an expert in pushing hands. In the past, the students of Dr. Hu called him “Pushing Hand King”. He had been observing Grandmaster Wong and his teacher practicing pushing hands for over an hour. He respected Grandmaster’s teacher as an expert in Wudang sword, but he didn’t know his teacher Dr. Hu was also a tai chi master and expert in pushing hand. He wanted to try Grandmaster Wong’s teacher out. Dr. Hu faced Grandmaster and asked, “Doc-Fai, you have been practicing pushing hands training from me for one year already, I would like to see what level are you up too, how about a match with Mr. Yam?” Doc-Fai Wong eagerly said “sure!” Mr. Yam was in middle aged, and Grandmaster was almost 30. Yam was taller and weighed more than Grandmaster Wong and had more years of training in pushing hands. As matter of fact, he was a “pushing hand king”. Grandmaster felt that he had nothing to lose in pushing with him but he might gain some valuable experience with him. Therefore he was happy to workout with him. Grandmaster Wong’s only partners that he could practice on were his students in America. Of course his American students were also tall and big and Grandmaster practiced his teacher’s instruction for a year already with his students. At that point none of Grandmaster Wong’s students had ever beaten him!

After a couple of minutes of warming up using the double pushing hands pattern with him, Yam was trying to push Grandmaster Wong over, he tried for more than couple of minutes and still couldn’t get him off balance. Grandmaster was not thinking of pushing him at all. After all, he had a title called “pushing hand king”. Grandmaster didn’t want to embarrass him. Dr. Hu said, “Doc-Fai, your rooting is very good, how about you try to get brother Yam off balance?” All of a sudden Grandmaster became excited; he just got permission from his teacher to push this guy over. Grandmaster began to do some offensive moves. Mr. Yam was getting rougher; all the students and co-workers of Grandmaster’s teacher were cheering for Doc-Fai Wong. “Get him. Push him over!” “Don’t be nice to him”. Grandmaster Wong quickly realized that it was okay for him to push the “pushing hand king” over without getting in trouble from his teacher. Grandmaster Wong finally felt Mr. Yam in a moment that Yam was trying too hard to push him over and Yam’s arms were stiff. Using Tai Chi principles Grandmaster Wong neutralized Yam’s force by getting his arms pressed downward slightly and continued forward to push him up and then straight out. Immediately Yam flew back more than three meters and fell to the floor. All of Grandmaster Wong’s classmates and his teacher’s co-workers were applauding for Him. Mr. Yam stood up and shook hands and said to him, “very good pushing, your internal jing is well developed; nice young man, I am getting old now.”

Doc-Fai Wong’s teacher Great-Grandmaster Hu Yuen Chou spoke to all the students and said,” you guys have to practice harder like your Dai Si-Hing Doc-Fai. I didn’t waste my time to teach him.” All the students applauded for him again with excitement.


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