Tai Chi Sword

For its gracefulness in motion, Tai Chi Sword is one of the most popular weapons in Tai Chi Chuan System. It follows the same principles and concepts as Tai Chi Chuan's solo form. Although it is similar in many ways, there are obvious differences between Tai Chi Sword and the Tai Chi Chuan's solo form People often describe the sword's technique and characteristics as "Flying phoenix or swimming dragon", "sword and body in one unity", and say that "sword is based on nimbleness and flexibility, not on power."

As Tai Chi Sword shares many common concepts and principles with the Tai Chi Chuan's solo form), it is better for one to engage in this new journey after one has mastered the Tai Chi Chuan's solo form.

To practice the Tai Chi Sword correctly, the first thing a practitioner must be able to do is to have a flexible body and wrist so that the sword and the body will coordinate and move in unity. The second thing is that the intent should direct each movement so that all the movements have varies applications, speed and accuracy. The third thing is to have spirit and natural breathing in each movement. In usage, it also emphasizes the concepts of sticking and adhering, running and following. In summary, in order to practice the Tai Chi Sword correctly, a practitioner must execute all the movements in an even, soft, continuous and smooth manner. All the movements are initiated by the waist, controlled by the wrist, with the upper and lower parts of the body coordinated so that when one part of the body moves, all parts follow. When one part stops, all stop. Therefore, all the movements are very light, speedy, flexible, nimble and stable. People often describe these kinds of motions as like a "swimming dragon and flying phoenix."

The eyes are the window of the soul. Skillful practitioners are able to project the spirit of each movement through their eyes. In other words, it requires the practitioner to have the eyes follow the hands and sword in each movement. Although it often seems that the eyes are looking forward, they are actually following the fingers of the opposite hand holding the sword, the tip of the sword and the sword's hand guard. When the hands, body and sword achieve unity, this beautiful phenomenon is often described as "swimming dragon and flying phoenix" to characterize its gracefulness.

The first steps for a beginner to train in Tai Chi Sword are to be familiar with each movement. Later, one should master each individual movement's application and variation with precision and power.

How to hold the sword correctly is one of the most important criteria in practicing the Tai Chi Sword correctly. Generally, the hand holding the sword should not be too tight. It should be loose, flexible and should hold the sword lightly. The common method to hold the sword is with the thumb, index and middle fingers; the two other fingers only as supporting. Although it is better for a beginner to control the sword by holding it tightly, the experienced practitioner should generally hold the sword with room for flexibility so the wrist can easily rotate and bend. From a practical standpoint, the fingers should not get too close to the sword's hand guard. This is but an invitation to cut your fingers.

The speed in Tai Chi Sword should be a little faster than the Tai Chi Chuan's solo form. As a beginner, it is better to practice the Tai Chi Sword slower than faster. When one practices it slowly, it is easily to understand, control and master each individual technique. All the movements should be connected, continuous, soft and smooth as the ocean waves, infinite. Therefore, when practicing the Tai Chi Sword, a practitioner should demonstrate clearly all 13 techniques such as open, close, burst, split, dot, bind, poke, hold up, coil, lead, slip, intercept and stab.

Article by Master Vincent Chu
Copyright © V. Chu. All rights reserved.