The push test is a very practical way of testing the quality of one’s solo training for internal power. As explained in Weakest Direction Theory is BS, the body, when properly trained, acts as an omni-directional structure. This allows the practitioner of internal power to neutralize any incoming force by diffusing it throughout the structure rather than having to surrender to it or resist against it. Either you can do it or you can’t. There’s no way to fake it.
The push test is a test of the quality of relaxation and symmetry practiced in solo standing practice. Initially it’s a static test for neutral balance; no force expression. It’s a small portion of the final goal of internal power training, which is to be able to move freely in a dynamic symmetrical balance while expressing force in three dimensions.
The process is simple. The person being tested maintains a relaxed body, fueled by intent, open in 6 directions (up/down, left/right, front/back). The pusher applies force in multiple directions from multiple angles to make sure the pushee is able to express neutral balance in all directions. The pushes start soft then gradually build in strength depending upon the ability of the person being pushed. As they say in the kata descriptions within the Bujinkan densho, There is a Kuden.
The following 2 videos are compilations of various push tests from the past couple training sessions demonstrated by my training partner, Jaime Morrell and myself. These are meant to give you a glimpse into one aspect of how we train. They are certainly not the entirety of the practice, but a foundational part of it. If there is interest, we intend to create more videos expanding and explaining how we train and why we do what we do.
I would encourage you to share your own training drills and practices with us in the comments section below.