As with any martial arts, training includes both forms and sparring. Forms are for solo practice, while sparring requires contact with a partner. Push Hands is therefore the sparring component of Tai Chi. It involves 2 persons in constant contact with each other, each person moving to unbalance the other person. Strikes and joint locks are not allowed, thus making it a fairly safe training method compared to other forms of sparring.
Pushing hands help to develop not only the body’s physical fitness, but also the mind and tactile nerve, as learners are trained to constantly respond to their opponent’s changing movements.
Push hands training complements your forms training, it helps to identify the areas of your training that may be lacking. So when you practice the forms, you can focus on these areas to improve.
The prerequisite is to have taken the Basics training course first. You can then start push hands training concurrently with forms training.
(To learn more, read the blog – Tai Chi Push Hands.)