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Sword Technique

PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 3:40 am
by Lodro
Hi everyone, I've been doing Tai Chi (24 Form) and Chi Kung (various) for about 3 years now but this is the first time with a Tai Chi Sword (learning 32 Form). I'd be interested in getting some pointers about getting the hang of changing the sword from left hand (backwards position) to right hand (forwards position) such as is near the very beginning of the set. I find it particularly hard to keep the sword swinging in a straight line whilst doing this. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 4:10 am
by JerryKarin
Anybody know the 32 form?

PostPosted: Fri Oct 22, 2004 2:30 pm
by gene

I do not know the 32 form, but can tell you that in any form the transfer can be difficult. One suggestion is to practice the transfer repeatedly using just your arms and hands (in other words, don't worry about the leg movements yet) until you develop the necessary feel. Another point to keep in mind is that by focusing on a movement, and worrying about messing it up, you can tense up and make the movement more difficult. The trick is to be intense without being tense. Good luck.



PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2004 4:15 am
by Lodro
Thank you Gene for your comments. Yes, I have started doing just that (practicing the transfer over and over) and already it is helping. I think ones body will often naturally realise and develop it's own way of adapting to a given situation, and then the mind and teacher can keep check just to make sure that no real deviation from the true direction is being developed. In relation to the 32 form, I believe that it evolved from the Yang Style - however it would be great to have some real confirmation on this. As I mentioned earlier I'm new to the sword thing so I have very little knowledge on it's history.

Take Care

PostPosted: Sat Oct 23, 2004 2:58 pm
by Jamie
Hi Lodro,

I do the Traditional Yang Style 55 Sword Form. When I was learning it I found it odd holding a sword while doing Taiji. I think this is the point. With empty hand practice we counter balance to the end of the fingers, with sword we coundter balance to the tip of the sword. Feeling conected to the tip of the sword comes from looking at it while practicing slowly at first until familiar with the movements. Keep practicing this way until you begin to feel where your center is with a sword in your hand in any given posture. Enjoy the new experience and practice often. Just like anything else. have fun.


PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2004 6:38 am
by Marc Heyvaert

I do the 32 form. It is a modern form, but Yang-style, nothing els mixed in.

Having said this there are quite some differences in performance with the videos that I have from Yang Jun doing the Yang Family sword form.

The problem now of changing hands. This is right at the beginning and this beginning is very similar to the Yang Family style. I see a diiference with the 32 though...YZD en YJ keep the blade horizontal while changing hands, then the blade goes to a vertical position , then there is a thrust down. In the 32, the blad is also horizontal, but the with the edges vertical (this will be clear if you watch the clips...).

Changing hands has to be done in a loose, relaxed way. You hav to be able to slide your left index finger (2 fingers if it is Yang-family style) from underneath your right hand, so don't grab the sword to thightly with your right hand as long as your left hand is still there.

I will post the clips later today.


The link is :

[This message has been edited by Marc Heyvaert (edited 10-24-2004).]

PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2004 2:10 am
by Lodro
Thank you Jamie and Marc for your very useful comments. As a newcomer to Tai chi Sword I am absolutely loving working with the sword.

My previous experience with a sword is with Iaido (Japanese sword drawing technique). There was much 2 handed work and a lot of one handed work but never changing from one hand to the other. The principle of feeling connected to the tip of the sword was drilled in and seems also to allude to Jamie's comments.

Marc, you say "You hav to be able to slide your left index finger (2 fingers if it is Yang-family style) from underneath your right hand". I have been sliding my left index aside just before my my right hand takes the sword. I've tried your approach a few times and it seems to work better. Is there a right and wrong way to perform this particular index finger movement such as the difference between what you suggest and the way I have been doing it?

PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2004 6:55 pm
by Marc Heyvaert
Well, about the correct way of getting the index finger(s) out of the way...I wouldn't know for sure. I was taught not to grip the handle to tight. If you look at the clip of Yang Jun that I posted, it is as if he takes the time (when the sword is vertical)to tighten his grip, meaning that before that moment, while passing the sword from left to right, the grip was loose.

It would be interesting to hear the comment from others.


PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2004 11:27 pm
by Kalamondin
When I do this transfer from L to R (traditional Yang style 55), I place my R palm on the handle with a standing palm, tiger's mouth open, with my thumb as close to the hand-guard as possible. Then, during the transfer, the thumb acts as a kind of pivot point. I think I use the outer edge of my R palm to begin pressing down on the handle to tip the sword to vertical. Then there's a natural separation of the hands as the sword makes the curve between horizontal and vertical and the L fingers don't get caught. I also don't close my right hand fully until the L fingers are out of the way.

This is just my understanding of how to do it and I'm barely scraping the surface of exploring the sword form, so maybe it will be useful for you, Lodro, and maybe it won't. I'm not familiar with the 32 form.


PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2004 1:46 am
by Lodro
Thanks, I'm finding all of your advice very useful and trying out different approaches as they're brought up. It appears as though it's a matter of more or less finding ones own approach as long as it doesn't divert from the true meaning of this move.

However having said that, I'm wondering whether or not there might be an actual technique which is designed with ultimate efficiency in mind. I guess what I'm getting at is if you have the original application itself in mind, would there not be a transfer technique which optimizes on the purpose of the attack and therefore would entail a technique which is say quicker or more efficient than another. Or am I perhaps thinking too much...?

Take care

PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2004 5:49 am
by po owdman
Master TT Liang taught a method that almost "punches" the grip out of the left hand. This may be hard to describe.

The base of the R little finger arrives on top of the grip right at the pommel as the base of the R thumb, arrives simultaneously, nearer the guard (obviously) under the grip and under the base of the L index finger. The natural arch that occurs in the distal R palm forms a "roof" that easily accommodates the L index finger which is still pressing the grip, and pointing at the pommel. [Still with me?]

At this point, you could actually remove your left hand, suspending the sword levered in the little finger/thumb contact points with the extended south pointing blade weight providing enough pressure "hold" the sword in place. Then, simply close your R hand into a shaoyin grip.

In form, close into this grip as the left hand smoothly abandons control of the sword. Done sharply, it almost looks like a R hand "punch".

Professor Cheng Man-ching taught an identical exchange but allowed the L hand to follow along with the sword in the subsequent north turn relinquishing control to the R hand during the turn.

If this makes any sense at all, try it very slowly a few times. It should make that exchange a rather pleasant experience.


po owdman

PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2004 7:20 pm
by Marc Heyvaert

Your description makes a lot of sense to me. In fact it is more or less what I do already, but I wasn't aware of the all important part of forming this bridge with little finger and thumb. Thanks for your input. I will continue to train with this technique.


PostPosted: Fri Dec 03, 2004 1:09 am
by Lodro
Thankyou it makes a great deal of sense and gives more of a feeling of ease with the exchange


PostPosted: Mon Dec 06, 2004 4:03 am
by po owdman
You are most welcome. Merely wishing to aid the study if possible.

Not sure that the bridge idea is "all" important. But providing some clearance in this way, for the L index finger, as one acquires gracefulness in making that exchange has proven useful in teaching.

It is heartening though, to see such integrity, care and concern regarding sword technique.