I can only mention the Yang style as taught by Yang Jwing Ming, which is the older, Yang Ban Hou sword form. The sequence is in 54 movements, virtually identical in terms of the names and their order to the Yang Cheng Fu sword form as I have seen it practised by Yang Zhenduo and Yang Jun on a video of them that I own, but the actual expression of the movements shows some differences - but the fundamental principles are doubtless the same. I have also studied some Chen style Taiji sword, and also Western fencing when I was a boy. I would say the guiding principles are fundamentally the same as in the barehand form - co-ordination of upper, middle and lower body with the waist as the central axis. Also there is Yin and Yang in terms of defensive postures followed by counterattacks. The breathing is the same - basically, yin=inhale, yang=exhale. Again, as in the barehand form, the circulation of Chi is guided by the mental imageing of the martial application behind each movement. The main difference, though, is obviously the presence of the sword and the idea is that the practice of the sword form will assist in extending the Chi into the blade. The 'secret sword fingers' can be used to strike the opponent in vital areas but otherwise are held like that to concentrate the chi away from the free hand and into the sword hand and further into the blade itself. They are also used for blocking. Some of the sword form movements are for defence against longer weapons such as spears, halberd etc, and not solely just against other swords. In general terms, the sword form is excellent for refining co-ordination and balance and is thus a very useful supplement to the barehand form in that sense as well as being a training in the use of the sword. Mobility of the wrist is much more of a feature in the sword form than the barehand form - and actually more so even than in Western fencing in my view, where the blade is very much thinner and stylised and control of the blade tends to be achieved by pressure between the thumb and forefinger more than wrist action. There are more stances in the sword form, such as crossed legs stance, the four-six stance which is similar to the 'en garde' position in Western fencing, and false stance, as well as bow stance, but in bow stance the front foot tends to be angled more inwards than in the barehand form - a feature too, of lunges in Western fencing. Although the sword form is quite a lot shorter than the long barehand form, on the other hand, there are far fewer repetitions which makes the sequence harder to memorise and personally I find it more tiring physically even though it's shorter. I was definitely assisted in my learning of the sword form by my prior experience in fencing. Without that, I think I would have found the applications harder to understand and visualise. I haven't seen it often suggested that it can be a good idea to enrol in a fencing class at the same time as learning Tai Chi sword, but I think it would be an excellent idea as fencing involves sparring almost straightaway which helps to give a clearer understanding of Tai Chi sword practice and the feel of how a sword is used against a real opponent; at least, that's my experience anyway. Kind regards, Simon.
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Steveg219:
Can someone please introduce me to principles that are employed in Yang style straight sword (jian) form practise? I am eager to learn how it is approached and what are the guiding pricniples behind the practise.
Thanks in advance for sharing your understanding and experience!</B></font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>