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US Students Practise 'Pushing Hands'
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A group of US middle school students have practised "pushing hands," a non-competitive exercise of taijiquan between two people, with local students in Foshan, a city in South China's Guangdong Province.


US-based Washington Culture Exchange (WCE) and the Guangdong International Sports Exchange Center jointly organized the event yesterday, which brought 60 middle school students and parents from the US to Foshan to study the martial art.


The US group met with 70 students from the No 2 Middle School of Foshan all well-practised in "pushing hands" at Ancient Nanfeng Kiln, one of the city's well-known tourist attractions.


The local students taught their US guests tuishou, or "pushing hands," and played as their opponents.


"Pushing hands," a part of taijiquan, or shadow boxing, is also known as "adhering hands" or "whirling hands."


The attacker must push over the defender in 20 seconds, but cannot move their feet or touch any part of the defender except for their arms and trunks.


"It is a rhythmical, non-competitive exercise between two people," said Gan Jiakang, the deputy president of Foshan Martial Arts Association.


"It's a brand-new thing to me, totally different from the kung fu that I imagined before," said 15-year-old Matt Lytle from Seattle.


"Playing 'pushing hands' makes me know martial art is an exercise that needs the player to listen to the partner's body movement, learn his or her expression in eyes and internal feelings. Moreover, martial art needs the player to keep balanced, and it's helpful to improve one's health," said Jim Murphy, the director of the WCE. "But martial art meant combat and war to me before."


Murphy said he will continue playing "pushing hands" with his wife when he gets back to the US, and he hopes to visit Foshan again in the future to learn more martial arts.


More than 1,000 students at the No 2 Middle School of Foshan are learning the art of "pushing hands."


(China Daily April 5, 2006)

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