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I assume a right stance. I relax, keep one point and have my partner grab each of my wrists and push, easily at first then with steadily increasing force. As I absorb the push I let the energy flow thru me into the ground via my rear foot. When I have balanced his force with my absorption I bring my rear foot forward until I am in natural stance with both feet parallel. Moving from my center, I slide one foot forward and extend Ki into my partner moving him backward. I do the same with the other foot as I begin to walk my partner across the mat.
I can vary this exercise and use two partners, one to each wrist, grabbing with two hands and practice as outlined above.
When performing this exercise the choice of metaphor is strictly up to the participants. The imagery isn't the issue, it is finding and enhancing correct feeling that enables me to channel and redirect the force that is being applied by my partner.