For the month of November 2012 the Alberta Sport and Recreation Association for the Blind held its first Tai Chi Chuan course. We held the course at a quintessentially Edmonton location, The Edmonton Public Library Downtown Branch, a very dynamic and diverse institution. This course made use of an innovative approach where we integrated the practice of both the form and push-hands into every class. Typically, push-hands training does not begin until one has finished the first stage of learning the form, and often push-hands is neglected entirely. This course however, sought to re-establish the connection between these two components of Tai Chi, thus enabling the participants to train the fuller breadth of Tai Chi benefits.
Push-hands develops “adherence” skills, a solid balance, responsiveness, waist rotation, as well as a better intellectual understanding of Tai Chi. Taking a look at just one of these, adherence, the ability to stick to another person’s movement with agility and awareness, is exclusive to push-hands. No aspect of form training contains this idea due to the fact that one requires a partner to train this skill. ASRAB will be continuing to promote this integrated approach to Tai Chi with further classes and promotions to be held in January.