There are eight styles of pushing hands in Five Winds Tai Chi. The simplest style involves one hand and no stepping, and the exercises become progressively more complex, introducing both hands and then various forms of footwork. The final form of pushing hands is free-style where, as the name suggests, there is no fixed form of movement.

Pushing Hands

Pushing hands is a two-person exercise designed to develop sensitivity to a partner's movements. The object is to learn to deal with being pushed without becoming tense or using strength, and to learn to deliver pushes to unbalance your partner, again without using muscular strength. To this end you must become very aware of your own and your partner's centre of gravity and direction of movement, and to cultivate this awareness you must learn to stay relaxed throughout the practise.

The sensitivity developed through pushing hands practice provides the basis for good self-defence applications.