On the weekend of 13th – 14th of february we had the pleasure to have our sifu over for a seminar focussing entirely on the practical orthodox applications of the sword.
Our sword form go by the name Qian Kun Jian 太極乾坤劍 – Heaven and Earth Sword. While the sword is a subtle weapon, the form is very dynamic and contains alot of jumps and more demanding features. Heaven and earth is also considered Yin and Yang and in one way the form expresses these features well as there are alot of contrasts – high – deep, contracted – expanded, slow – fast. It is by far the most interesting sword form in Tai Chi Chuan i have ever encountered, although i might be a bit biased…
As in the other weapons and the unarmed part we have 8 different forces/qualities in sword practice. In our style they are:
1. Kan – to chop
2. Liao – to stir, divert and slash in a continous movement
3. Mo – to stroke/rub, subtle circular diversion
4. Ci – stab/pierce
5. Chou – to draw forth, diverting upwards with a wipping action
6. Ti – to lift, upward diversion
7. Heng – to sweep across, horizontal diversion often followed by a thrust
8. Dao – to invert, sword pointed down
These 8 is of course linked together and in all movements there are elements of many of them simultaneously, but it is a functional methodology clearly defining what we do. As we becom more familiar with the weapon the more subtle are the changes here.
The form consists of 91 techniques which naturally have a practical application. Sometimes the form contains series of techniques that match counters and attacks from other weapons in one flow. Except sword against sword we often train sword against spear as it is obvious some of the techniques are made to deal with a long weapon.
At this seminar the object was to go through the whole form and really pin down the orthodox applications as this is the blueprint of the style. Mission was accomplished.
Out from these orthodox techniques comes a plethoria of variations, but if you dont know the base, it will be difficult to be spontaneous – which of course is the goal and requires sparring and drill training. It is also important to understand that thjis is the way to keep valuable information and knowledge within the style. Things need to be clearly defined. Once you know them, you can take it futher. If changing the order of things here we are creating ” a bastard lovechild” of Tai Chi Chuan as my teacher once expressed it. And it is like that. True to form does not mean untrue to practicality. Quite the opposite.
This means we have alot of work to do, and ther is no time to waste.
What will you practice today?