We spend a lot of time practicing these touch sensitivity drills. It is time very well spent. They greatly improve reactions, teach a great deal about sensing balance, allow us to get used to physical contact without creating a great risk of injury, and train us to sense where an opponent’s strength is and then work around it following a path of least resistance.

We usually practise three different drills, although there are many more variations:

Fixed step pushing hands: Feet are kept firmly rooted to the floor; each partner tries to upset their opponent’s balance so as to dislodge their feet from the floor (uproot them); no striking is employed, only pushing, pulling, levering etc. Touch contact is maintained throughout.

Moving step pushing hands: Each partner is free to move about the area but must maintain touch contact with their opponent. The objective is to throw the partner off balance, drop them to the floor or send them out of the area. No striking.

Sticky hands: Keeping touch contact, each partner tries to strike, unbalance, throw, lock and restrain their opponent. Strikes are controlled so as not to cause injury. Upper body techniques are mainly used ( i.e. hand, forearm, elbow, shoulder, head etc.), but sweeping with the legs is permitted.

These drills are fun but incredibly useful. Come to the Nam Yang Mountain Retreat and give them a try.

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