The Yang Style Tai Chi Sword is one of the short weapons, which belongs to the Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan. It is based on the Yang family bare hand form. Thus, the way of practice, the basic fundamentals, the style, and the characteristics of Tai Chi Sword are basically the same as Tai Chi Chuan. Chuan is a bare hand exercise. Sword is an exercise with a weapon. Although in theory the methods, the requirements, etc. of these tow are the same, the weapon exercise is developed from the basic or bare hand form.
Certainly then it must show unique characteristics in its expression, which is different from the bare hand form.
1. The pace of the sword movements are faster than bare hand movements.
2. A higher degree of nimbleness, calmness, smoothness, gracefulness, and skill is required.
3. The names of each movement of the sword form are special. There are some technical names from Wushu. But most names come from the beautiful movements of rare birds and animals, imagery of outer space, and fairy tales and legends. It is helpful to the learner to think in these terms of images and, furthermore, to vividly express the images in their movements.
4. Since ancient times the sword form has been called a sword-dance. However, performing the sword form is not exactly the same as a sword-dance. It does have the characteristic style of dance. For instance, it has the graceful dance movements and a strong sense of beauty felt in dance. Plus, it blends with the naturally smooth movements, open and extended postures or frames and the skill of Tai Chi Chuan. The form is more beautiful. There is a Chinese saying, “Add flowers to the brocade.” When this occurs the beauty is endless. It enables the learner to enter the realm of self-fulfillment and pleasure benefiting both mind and body.
Learning and Practicing Tai Chi Sword
If you have the basics of Tai Chi Chuan, it will be easier to learn the sword form. But while you practice the sword, your hand is holding a weapon. You should pay attention to the coordination of the weapon and your body movement. Also, you should unify the movements with the spirit and integrate these two into a whole.
Performing and practicing Tai Chi Sword also uses the “Ten Essentials of Tai Chi Chuan” as a standard and combines this with sword techniques. The movements should be precise, accurate and standard. It doesn’t matter whether the movements are between the change of xu and shi-substantial and insubstantial, or the transitions of advance and retreat. They should all be connected; there should be no stopping, no pausing, and no stagnation between the movements.