Originally published in 2007
We are masters of tools and in return, tools also control us. Through years of teaching in North America, I came to the conclusion that weapons and device training must be started at the begining, not at the end.
Traditionally, students should learn the foundation, bare-hand forms, push hands and then weapon forms to enhance their strength. My experience is that students become much more coordinated when they get a chance to work with something in their hands.
This is an example of how tools can help us in our training. When a person is tied up at the elbow with rubber cord, push hands becomes much easier in terms of following taiji rules. Try to push with your arms tied up like in the video below and find out for yourself how it works.