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There are five main styles of taiji or families. These are Chen, Yang, Wu, Wu, and Sun. In addition to those styles, several modern competition styles have been created, 42 forms/ 24 forms/ 48 forms/78 forms etc but mainly the 42 forms and the 42 sword forms. These are the most prominent styles, inside those styles themselves there are several subdivisions. There are several smaller styles that were developed outside of these styles as well, but never became as famous. There is no one style that is really better than another, it depends on personal taste, and body type. The theories inside are also slightly different, and some of the developments within the styles represent the generations of research. Martial arts are a science that develops along with those who train it. You can’t keep down the human mind; we discover new things about old ideas every day.

Pushing hand is the first introduction a Taiji practitioner will have to human interaction with the art. It is the foundation for the fighting aspects of the art, but it is more as well. Pushing hands offers a practitioner the opportunity to work with a classmate to test and see ones strengths and weaknesses, it allows one to gauge their own development, and is a handy tool for identifying shortcomings or unseen mistakes in one’s form and postures.

Pushing hands it has developed into a competition of its own. There are yearly competitions around the world now, and many participate, unfortunately some place pushing hands proficiency above actual taiji proficiency, thereby digressing it into a tug of war match testing each other’s strength rather than actually utilizing true taiji fundamentals. The problem there is that lower level practitioners have made an advancing tool the focus of their practice, thereby impeding their own advancement. It is key when practicing pushing hands that you are not competing with your partner, (unless you are actually taking part in a competition of course)
pushing hands is a tool for one to self analyzes and help a partner do the same.