Sticky Hands Training, why?

The principles and concept within this type of training and also theories related to these ideas are almost impossible to place into words, words alone cannot accurately convey its meaning, as words cannot replace feeling and touch. As we know touch has its own senses and related feelings, experience gained by stimulus through contact, words can only be used to describe a state of awareness which is far beyond this short article.

Sticky hands another term used is pushing hands training, the correct term is Rou Shou or Tui Shou the art of sensitivity, feeling and the reading of assimilating degrees of forces, energy, to gauge its intensity and direction by monitoring. Direct transmission through contact.  

 According to Google, translation to sense,to feel or experience something without being able to explain exactly how: Although she said nothing, I could sense her anger. He sensed something was about to happen”.  From this type of training, one has the availability and information to be able to read the opponents intention, giving the practitioner current information in real time to respond, to act by receiving the correct information. What is the correct information? the exact intention from the attacker in forces term, it’s the intelligent’s gathered and assimilated before action. All of this is done on first contact and only takes a fraction of a second, to be able to control the opponent you need to do the correct thing at the correct time.  To stick and adhere is to know, to know is to act in accordance to what’s happing.  To develop this understanding takes many hours of sticky hands training with many different partners, drilling the hands whilst remaining in contact throughout, absorb, redirect, neutralise are just a couple of concepts developed. Within the sticky hands training one can create many different drills to study, develop and explore. Exploration of the various drills is the key to understand application from the training experiences governed from the information gleamed from this type of training. The sticky hands training is the information gathering tools and not the striking tools or the manipulation tools used for locking and pinning the opponent.  In “Chi Gert” trainingthe legs are emphasized for the same reason as the sticking hands, and trained in a similar way, applying controlling through the use of the legs, pinning, locking, sweeping and footwork, close range contact resulting from pull and pushing motions. The kicking energy for impact is a different force a power force to injure the opponent whereas sensitivity energy is used for listening and is a much more subtle force.  Responsiveness determines reaction, reaction or resolving what to do at the correct time comes from the decision of the body not the mind. Even though the mind, the intent “Yi “is in itself a power force and is behind every action it’s not for the discussion article and will in future look at this.  

The forces used for impacting, sticking is different to this collecting force from sticky hands and is only a part of the application.  

The sequences are as follows.

The distancing from you and the attacker.

The angle and direction of any movement from the attacker

The degree of force

What are they making use of first, leg, elbow, other, where to stick.

Degree of force, the intensity, the direction and the opponent’s position including their balance, all information gathered is the intelligent’s from first contact and simultaneously producing the correct response.

Degree of force

The magnitude of this force, to be able to ascertain the correct meeting point, the moment two forces come together and use the appropriate level of energy to maximise the chances of controlling this force. Once under control one can ascertain the next response.

The intensity

To be able to assess the threat level and the degree of absorption to use, too much force or stiffness there will be a clash, to little force, the attacker will gain the advantage through loss of your own body structure, positioning and balance. The correct level of your own force enables you to stick and adhere to the incoming force by maintaining correct body posture through correct alignment.  

The direction

Which way to go, the direction of response, shifting to the right or left, back or forward, to deflect this force or neutralize it, this will be in the form of counter balance, counteract, to defuse this force without loss of your own positioning and balance.   To reduce or remove the effect of something unwanted by producing an opposite effect:


According to google, the ability to distribute your weight in a way that lets you stand or move without falling, or recover if you trip.  Good balance requires the coordination of several parts of the body: the central nervous system, inner ear, eyes, muscles, bones, and joints. Problems with any one of these can affect balance.

To uproot or cause the opponents loss of balance, taking the balance of your opponent is to take the source of their power as they are unable to generate body structure to develop power. Loss of balance makes it much more difficult for them to respond to your counter attack. Its imperative that you must keep your balance at all times.  In Rou Shou, Tui Shou balance training is not an impacting force such as a punch or chop, it’s a reading of your own and partnered force whilst developing structured balance. Trained in a linked hands, wrists or arms or any other part of the body, both training partners developing the concept of reading, how to negotiate the opponents moves, without proper balance one cannot comprehend or formulate a response if your structure is compromised in any way.   The structural organization of the body balance is the foundation for any movement, there are only three things in martial arts, movement, manipulation and impact. With structural integrity and alignment nothing is possible.

There are many other drilling methods used to further develop internal balance concept, using the entire body, including legs as all parts of the body can sense and read.  Rou Shou, Tui Shou training, is the equivalent of pad drills in boxing, in boxing you learn the art of how to flow with a flurry of punches with differing angles and direction.  Boxers use defection to a great degree of skill level, parrying with their forearms and use of body skill training, bobbing and weaving the head to avoid incoming punches, using the body to deflect incoming strikes. The method of avoiding, slipping and countering is exactly the same.

 The Rou Shou, Tui Shou method is to initiate a situation of sticking to the initial attack, to stick, adhere, connect and follow the opponent.  Stick and adhere is done with the arms or any other part of the body, connect and follow is done with the legs and feet to maintain contact with the opponent’s movements. Sticking to the opponent’s one point, attracting and absorbing their force and to amalgamate into your force, thus combining two opposite forces into one. Redirecting the attackers force back to them plus your own force, in effect, doubling the power. At the time the use of Pen Jing is used as it exponentially expands into their space causing this sticking effect, the expansion also takes the attackers balance, this is achieved by taking up all space between you and the attacker, this leaves no vacant area for the attacker to move into. If they cannot move or reposition due to this unbalancing effect, with no available space, the attacker is now in a disadvantages state to continue with the attack, their posture is broken and the structure will collapse. At this point a broken structure cannot produce the require power to press any threat or real harm until he/she can gain control over this situation.

The stick and adhere is done with the hands/arms/other body parts and connect and follow are done with the legs, this following is the change of direction of the attacker and is done with the legs and feet whilst staying in contact.  Stick and adhere is the glue, combative situation is a fast-moving affair with multiple angles and direction, hence why connect and follow is done with the feet and legs. 

This is all achieved in a fraction of a second and is done on first contact, if possible, once control and stick is implemented the strike will surely follow. The strike is explosive and will hit any vacant area of the attacker, any part of your body can be used, the fist, elbow, leg, foot, shoulder, head. In Tai Chi the four primary hands and the four corner hands is its use, coupled with differing energies such as striking, pulling, pushing and joint manipulation to name a few. The four primary hands and the four corner will be subject to another article.


The ability to understand something instinctively without the need for conscious reasoning allowing our intuition to guide us. This intuition is the sum collective arsenal of combative concepts and principles and is cultivated in sticky hands training before any other striking method of joint manipulation is used. This is more than the idea if he does this then my response will be this, this is thinking and any thought process will slow up any countering technique you may use. Thinking is slow, it’s the product of the mind, intuition is instant, thinking is done in the training and is the development of mind and sticky hands. In class training you learn by thinking, use of the mind to train these skills and is developed by collecting information from one’s training partner. The information training in sticky hands is the expertise of assimilating all the necessary tools of engagement with the attacker and is process of refining these skills with your training partner. The goal of sticky hands training is intuition energy cultivation through contact and is used in self-defence situations. There is a distinct difference between training and developing techniques and its actual usage.             


The ability to correctly react with the correct response from touch-based information stimulus rather than thought process alone. Reaction to something hot, cold or sting like sensations result in a fast pulling away motion, you don’t think then pull away, you pull away first then think, ouch that hurt or was unpleasant.  The nervous system has built in receptors to identify anything we come into contact with, a tiny insect crawling across your arm or hand will sometimes be felt before visually identified. Its these levels of sensation we are training, this slightest of touch feeding our response based on these stimuli.

In conclusion, sticky hands training is the ears of the body, it listens, feeding information back directly from touch-based stimulus, these subtle sensations enable direct responsive action relating to what is happening. Its not impacting energy neither manipulation energy, it’s the ability to understand the pressures from first contact. It paths your way for whatever comes next, Tai Chi training is often referred to developing our “sixth sense, this is a combination of refining our five senses to give rise to the sixth.