Traditional tai chi players study the concept of softness as taught by Daoist philosophy. Then they practice their tai chi form in a slow relaxed manner. However, many players who continue their studies and learn concepts called "pushing hands" seem to forget softness and become hard. Pushing hands becomes quite competitive and can evolve into a fairly aggressive sport.

Master Wang became a pushing hands champion in Taiwan while still in his twenties. He was disappointed with his achievement as he realized it depended on strength and technique and not on relaxation and softness. He wondered what happened to the concept of four ounces moving a thousand pounds.

After he met Grandmaster Huang of Malaysia, he realized that here was finally someone who possessed soft martial skills. He studied as much as possible with Huang when he visited Taiwan. Later Master Wang was able to discover the secrets of softness and called his new art search center in order to emphasize softness rather than pushing.

Master Wang uses internal chi energy rather than external muscular force to move his partner. He must first be sensitive and feel his partner's center and then absorb any force directed towards him before emitting chi outwards. Hands are primarily antennae to sense another person's energy, not an instrument to push. The energy comes from the ground through Master Wang's center and trunk.

The person whose center is contacted does not feel any pushing or pain upon contact. It feels more like being moved by a wave of wind or water. Also the person's center moves first, not the point of contact.

Search center is a way of developing tai chi skills without fear of being injured. Search center is totally integrated into Master Wang's seven principles of tai chi and therefore search center will improve one's tai chi form and vice versa. Unlike most pushing hands, search center and tai chi form are closely related and dependent on each other to form a complete system of tai chi incorporating softness and internal chi.

Unfortunately search center skills require years of practice with a qualified teacher to learn and appreciate. It is difficult to remain soft especially when one is practicing with players who are hard. But the rewards are worth the effort and sustained practice. Master Wang eventually hopes that pushing hands will be replaced by search center tournaments which will reward players who are able to be soft and yielding and avoid pushing with force.

Master Wang strongly believes in transmission of chi over a distance and calls it no touch.

No touch developed naturally from his progress in search centre. As Master Wang became softer and his energy more focused he became less reliant on physical touch.

Over the past few years he has devoted countless hours of practice and research to this skill. As a result, Master Wang is now able to move his students without any physical contact at all.


Master Wang Demonstrating Search Center with David Chen in 1997

Quicktime movies of Master Wang practicing Search Center with senior students in Comox, BC.
(Click on the Picture to play movie. They might take some time to start.)