Traditional Yang Style Tai Chi saber belongs to the short weapon in the Yang Style Tradition. It came from Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan empty hand form. The requirements, the method, the style and the characteristics of Yang Style Tai Chi Saber are basically the same as the empty form. Even some of the postures are like the empty hand form. Plus, being equipped with the steel saber, the form is more powerful and with a higher spirit. It has a unique style of its own.
The requirements of practicing are to also follow “The Ten Essentials of Tai Chi Chuan” as a guideline, and the skills of saber. The pace of the movements is faster than the empty hand form. It requires the movements to be standard and accurate. Stress is placed on the coordination of hand form, eye movement, body work, footsteps and skill. The waist is the dominant factor in leading all the movements. The arms follow the body’s turn. The saber follows the arm’s move.
Tai Chi Saber is performed with a special classical poem. The 13 parts of the form are described in the 13 lines of a sonnet. The poem conveys a spirit rather than matching up individual postures. There are many postures named for rare birds, animals, fish, flowers, mountains, water, fairy tales, and legends. With these beautiful names and imagination, the practitioner will enter the realm of self-fulfillment and pleasure. It will be a great benefit for both body and mind.
In the Chinese poem, each line has seven words. These words are brief, but the meaning is very deep. It contains:
1. Yin and Yang Philosophy
2. Principle of Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan
3. Characteristics of Tai Chi Saber
4. Techniques of Tai Chi Saber
Tai Chi Saber techniques include chop, split, cut, intercept, uppercut, downward cut, thrust, winding, blocking, withdrawing, sliding, slicing, and peeling.
In the form one movement has many techniques and it is very difficult to distinguish each one in the movement. Follow the intent of the saber skill, saber technique, and saber movement. Practice the 13 techniques.
by Master Yang Zhen Duo
Translated by Han Hoong Wang