One of the techniques I practice each day is the ‘push.’
And there is a difference between a push and a shove when it comes to Tai Chi.
In the Tai Chi Chuan Treatise by Chang San Feng there is a line ‘…. if there is a front there is a back’ (‘When attacking or defending on one side, you must be aware of the other side’).
Here’s my interpretation of this in regards to a push.
When you are pushing an opponent forward be aware of the reverse direction.
Try this concept on a punching bag.
Hold your arms out in front of you, elbows bent and push the bag and see what happens.
If upon contact the bag swings away from you then you are shoving and not pushing because you have not paid attention to ‘the other side’ i.e. the reverse direction.
Now try it again by focusing on the reverse direction while you are pushing forward.
If the bag hardly moves then you are correctly pushing and not just shoving.
It took me many attempts to get to a basic skill level.
It’s not easy, have a go and let me know what happens.
Footnote: Quote from Dr Yang Jwing-Ming Advanced Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan Vol. 1