View Full Version : Bujinkan and Push Hands

chris friedman
9th January 2003, 03:45
After leaving the Bujinkan about 9 months ago I have began to train in the methods of internal kung fu. Chen style Tai Chi to be exact. This is the original form of Tai Chi. It is very combat orientated with both fast and slow movements. Plenty of chin na similar to jutaijitsu throws and nasty strike as well. Weapons are thought at an advanced stage of ones training. One component of training I find very important is the practice of push hands. Push hand can be done in patterns or in free style. Here I am talking about the free style push hands. There are several different methods of push hands fix step and moving are the most popular. In fixed step you stand facing each other in a forward stance kind of like a cross between jumunji and ichomonji. From here you have to push or pull you opponent out of their stance without moving your feet. This teaches grounding to have a solid stance in order to not be unbalanced or shoved to the floor. Then the moving push hand which can be more aggressive. In moving you try to get him out of bounds or against the wall or toss him to the ground. If you can do any of these things you have got his root and have gained an advantage. Like a knock down in boxing or a submission in grappling. The only gripping aloud in push hands is a one hand wrist grips no grabbing of the clothes like in judo. This forces you to realia on leg power. I have been participating in open push hands groups for the last five months. I have done quite well in the moving and I am getting better at the fixed step. After pushing with someone and having them ask me what I have trained in after I tell them I am new to Tai Chi but have trained in Japanese Jujutsu. It is easer then explaining the Ninjutsu thing. They usually ask some question and are impressed with my skill. The reason I am righting this is to explain how this training has been so valuable to my past Bujinkan training. One time while doing moving push hands I was tossed to the ground. As I was going down towards my face I braced myself for a second with my hands then did a forward roll. I was back on my feet in an instant. This one experience taught me more about ukemi then hundreds of repetition doing kata. Another thing I have been reminded of is the endurance factor. Despite the theory that successful self defense doesn't require fitness I wouldn't want to bet my life on it. Going against a guy 30 pounds heavier than you can take allot out of you. Or someone ten years younger. Point is you need to be fit. Kata alone doesn't push you physically. The amount of effort needed to overcome a tuff opponent in a fight is closer to randori than kata. One more thing that I have been reminded of is not to under estimate someone or be over confident. I think kata can give you a false sense of security that comes from training with a cooperative partner. I wouldn't want to feel what it's like to face a resisting opponent for the first time in a street fight. Sure I can knee a guy in the groin when he has got me against the wall in push hands but he could do the same. I am not talking about using strength but technique under pressure. I am proud of my accomplishments in the Bujinkan and feel like this is an extension of my training. I like pushing myself and facing my fears. Just wanted to share my learning experience.

Dani Koryu
9th January 2003, 16:32
very interesting.

why did you quit the Bujinkan?
only curiosity

happy training

Dani Esteban "koryu"
Bushi Dojo

9th January 2003, 16:59
I would do both if I could.

Jon Gillespie

9th January 2003, 19:25
I very much enjoyed reading your post Chris.
I have also been looking into some Chinese martial arts as well as my Ninpo studies.
In the past I have studied some Hung Gar kung fu and found that that the cross training helped in my stances and my movements. It gave me a different understanding of movement in both offense and defense. And also helped my endurance and balance.
Recently, I have been looking into Wing Chun and its concepts to help in my understanding of centerlines and sensativity (i.e.: sticky hands). I also have future plans to start studying Ba Gua for its circular movement and ideas on energy (and it has some Cool weapons i would like to learn).

In my opinion the chinese martial arts that I am/have studied fit in very well with my Ninjutsu. I have found some similarities but also some very unique things in each art. They can only enhance your training. I hope you continue to study and train with your ninjutsu skills as well as adding your Chen style Tai Chi to your toolbox of martial arts.


Chris Schimdt
9th January 2003, 23:31
I currently study Bau Gua and feel it is a wonderful compliment to my other training in Ninpo and Jujutsu. In some respects it's like seeing the same thing from different perspectives. While it also feels like a compliment to the principles of the others. And it looks so cool haha.

chris friedman
10th January 2003, 00:32
I love the Bujinkan system as a whole. There were two reasons I left. One was the lack of solo training that can be done. I injoy practicing forms and QiGong on my own every day. The other reason is there is just two much talking during training for me in Bujinkan. It is great to have learned all I have in the Bujinkan and fun to apply some of it during push hands.

Rolling Elbow
11th January 2003, 05:43

Don't go the Wing Chun route unless you are prepared to take what you learn from it and apply it to taijutsu. For a while I was heavily into the wing chun influence..while it gave me a great rolling elbow (obviously..), it also made me gravitate closer towards the slap and trap game and just pummeling up the middle. Yes i know for all the wing chun people out there, I am not in tune with what "real" wing chun may be and that's fine, but bottom line, wing chun may affect what you have learned soo far. There is no need for additional external training. If anything, you may bennefit from the internal arts because of there emphasis not only on hand and elbow sensitivity, but whole body push-pull force. Taichi-hsing-bagua would be the ones that lend themselves most useful to taijutsu in my opinion, because they still revolve around complete body mobility and movement rather than quick overwhelming strikes. No matter what the wing chun people will say about heir internal development through sil lum tao, bottom line when looking at the various demos from allot of branches (not all , i have seen some good stuff too), you will see an emphasis on the AMOUNT of times an opponent is hit, not necesarily the strategy behind hitting (hitting to break posture etc..)

That's my two cents.. i still love wing chun though, hell, I built a Mook jong!