Tai Chi Big Spear

Tai Chi Big Spear is also known as Tai Chi Staff and Tai Chi 13 Spear Set. It is a 10 foot long weapon included in the Tai Chi Chuan system's weapon armory. It is made from a springy wood known as 'white wax wood'. The smaller end of the handle is the size of a diameter of a chicken's egg yolk and the larger end's diameter is the size of a duck egg. This weapon is usually reserved for advanced training because it requires more power and body coordination from the practitioner in order to execute its movements correctly. Therefore, Tai Chi Big Spear is not common and most Tai Chi Chuan practitioners today do not know it.

Tai Chi Big Spear has 13 techniques. These 13 techniques include Four Adhesion Techniques, Four Free Techniques, Four Application Techniques and One Coiling Technique. When one is practicing the big spear, the movements are guided by the same concepts and principles that apply in Tai Chi Chuan. However, because of the spear's weight, it is physically more demanding for the practitioner to correctly demonstrate the concepts and principles. I summarize these physical demands as the "four straights" which should include the head, shoulders, spear and feet. Having the 'head straight' refers to the need to suspend the head from above so the spirit reaches the top of the head to increase awareness. It is also necessary to understand the relationship of Yin and Yang and to be able to mobilize the power so as to project a powerful posture. 'Shoulder straight' refers to the waist acting as an axle in motion. All movements are initiated from the waist. Sink the chest and raise the back, relax the shoulders and sink the elbows so that every movement involves the whole body. 'Spear straight' refers to holding the spear firmly level at the chest so that one is able to thrust the spear quickly forward on target. 'Feet straight' refers to having the power to begin from the feet, go up through the waist, shoulders, hands and into the tip of the spear.

When one is positioning the spear, it is often level to the practitioner's chest. This position makes it easier to thrust at the opponent's heart while also making it difficult for the opponent to block. When one is holding the spear, one should hold it with control, too tight and too loose are both incorrect. The rear hand grasps the larger end of the handle. This is like an anchor, so one should hold it firmly. It is important that the rear hand is at the very end of the handle. If it is not, this will inhibit the rear hand's wrist movements and cancel out any advantage of being a long weapon. The forward hand should grasp the midsection or the last section of the handle. The key to holding the spear with the forward hand is that it should not be too firm so that it can slide back and forth while thrusting. The classics say " The forward hand is like a pipe, the back hand is like a lock." If one is not properly holding the spear, the spear does not thrust quickly enough and the power will not reach the spear tip. Spearing is thrusting. A spear form without any thrusting technique is not a spear form. Although thrusting is a simple thing to do, it is lethal when one executes it quickly with power. It is said that thrust one time by a spear is more lethal than hit ten times by a staff. Therefore, the spear is known as the king of long weapons.

All Chinese martial art styles practice spear thrusting as a solo drill exercise to improve this technique and its destructive ability. It is no different among Tai Chi Chuan practitioners. Because of the spear's weight and size, the Spear thrusting exercise is common among Tai Chi Chuan practitioners as a method to improve one's spear skills as well as to obtain power. It is based on the concept commonly referred to as Fa Jing. A practitioner is ready to engage in this exercise training when one is able to maintain the spear straight away from the body without any problem. During the exercise, when one is thrusting, utilize the whole body so that the power reaches the tip of the spear. The thrust should be in one straight line. This is like shooting an arrow from a bow. Therefore, the forward hand should be stable so it will not miss the target and the back hand should not turn the wrist so that the power is connected and sinks. To prevent any physical injury, one should not thrust too fast in the beginning, rather, one should pay closer attention to the body's coordination and the thrusting motions. Later, one can speed up with experience. If one regularly practices this exercise, one will discharge more power in all strikes, not just when thrusting the spear.

When one is practicing the Tai Chi Big Spear, thrusting forward or backward, the handle should be kept close to the body. This provides a better opportunity for the practitioner to control the spear so that it will not go off to the sides or up and down.

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