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Rule 1 of Single Push Hands "Stance"

Rules for Single Push Hands:
By Erle Montaigue June 2001

1/. Only ever have the student stand in the absolutely basic position using the big open stance, (Photo No.1) if you discover that they are not getting it at all! 

Often you will need to begin at the very beginning for people who have absolutely no body mechanics at all. However, for the most part, most people are able to begin at the next step, that of the “power stance” or “medium frame” This to me is essential as when you have to teach someone to begin with the big open stances, at some later stage, you must change this to the power stance and it is often difficult to get someone out of the habit of taking the easy way and standing “strong”. So in beginning with the lower stances, we have to teach the student incorrectly in order for them to learn anything at all! However, if you can begin with the “medium frame” stances then you teach correctly from the beginning and the more advanced stuff comes much easier later on.

Photo No. 2 shows the “medium frame” stance or “power stance. Notice that the position of the feet are actually reversed with the rear foot on a N/S line (supposing you are facing the north to begin with and your partner is facing the south), while your front foot is on a N/W line (45 degrees to the rear foot). 
You will find while in this stance that you have much more physical power as well as internal power. This enhances the power of the waist rather having to rely upon the power of your legs in pushing. And it gets you away from thinking that “push hands” actually is to learn about pushing! Push hands is to teach you about self defence and attacking as you do not “push” in a fight! 
It teaches you about the power of the waist and how to use it in attack. The power stance forces you to rely upon this power, centrifugal power.

The full article holding the rest of the “rules” can be found in Issue 45 of combat and healing magazine June 2001.

The reason I “Eli” have taking this first rule from the article to post here, is because over the last year there has been a lot of confusion regarding what stance we should start with in push hands. This is due to a few people wanting to push their own personal views on teaching by claiming it to be “the way Erle taught”, stating that you MUST start your push hands training in a bow stance and that if you skip the bow stance by starting with the power stance, you will miss out on many important principals and never truly understand push hands at all. They have also said that any teacher who has their students skip the bow stance, clearly has no understanding of Taiji or the Erle Montaigue System. All these comments and articles came out just after I released my new videos on push hands, where I teach using the power stance for beginners. All of Erle’s true students know that he did not advocate using the bow stance in push hands, teaching that everyone should start with the power stance. I have been called a detractor of Erle’s work by these people because of the way I teach.
So, I hope that this proof from Erle himself clearly stating how push hands should be taught in the same way as I explain on my videos, will put a stop to these ridiculous claims.

This was written by Erle back in 2001, since then he become even surer that the power stance was the way to go for everyone, finding ways of teaching even the most uncoordinated of students to use the power stance from the start, with the only exception being an elderly person who can hardly stand up.  
As I have always said, this is our way, I am not saying that anyone else is wrong, if you no longer teach for the wtba and have different views than Erle and I on how to teach, that’s fine, it’s your choice as you have gone on your own path, you no longer represent Erle Montaigue.
But to anyone who tries to claim that their own personal views are that of Erle’s, and at the same time stating that I am the one who is not staying true to Erle’s teachings, this I will put straight! As I will not have these people twist my father’s words to suit their own agenda.