Yes, EVERYONE says do not pull! :D
If we refer to the "underwater stroke" then this has two parts: "pull" and "push". Though we might call the "pull" the "catch", whatever we call it it is there, real, and very important to get the hang of. So pulling vs not pulling was not what led me to post this thread, rather it was what to do when old advice isn't working for you.
Different swimmers adopt very different techniques to getting this "catch/pull" part of the stroke working. The one you use, even with no force and on dry land, makes my shoulder hurt! I can see how it would work but it's just not for me. Different strokes for different folks as they say, and different ways of feeling and imagining them too.
In my overenthusiasm for my own "insights", I tried to help a Russian swimmer in the pool yesterday. His entry was so across his body that there was a big splash, like he was applyiong the brakes. It seemed clear (to me!) that he would go far faster if he corrected his entry path. I realised later that this odd entry was central to his technique, leading quickly to a feel for the water, a strong early catch and rotation, and a brisk turnover. For him it worked well, producing a pretty effortless CSS of some sub 2:00/100m and with little bananaing.
I doubt my Russian "student" will become an olympian but then nor will I!
A psychological disorder is: "Any personal construction which is used repeatedly in spite of consistent invalidation."
~ George Kelly
"The water is your friend.....you don't have to fight with water, just share the same spirit as the water, and it will help you move."
~ Aleksandr Popov