Needle at Sea Bottom

By Sara Olsen
Needle at Sea Bottom is not just the name of a posture in the Yang Form. It is an example of how myth and fact have blended throughout China’s long history to become accepted as history. Accounts of events and figures from the earliest Neolithic years were not recorded in writing until much later. The exploits of great mythical and historical figures preserved for centuries in spoken tales made their way into written records in many different versions. One of the earliest myths, the story of Great Yu concerns events over 4,000 year old. Continue reading

Advertisements

The Sword Form: Flying through Myth and Legend

Each of the Yang Family forms embodies the core principles of Taijiquan, yet each has a different flavor. In practicing the Sword Form, or Taijijian, we are told to show light and flowing movement.
The need for such lightness can be seen in the distinct nature of the names of the postures. Of the 67 named postures, more than 40 of them refer to flying creatures, wind, or sky. While the hand form calls for measured steps and sharp distinctions between empty and full, the Sword Form invites us to fly and flow more with our outward movements. Judging by the names of the sword form postures, we must wield our sword as if following the movements of wasps, swallows, geese, and falling leaves. At other times, we must “Embrace the Moon” or chase it like a shooting star or comet.
In order to enrich our practice, we must engage body, mind and spirit. Giving thought to the images the posture names can help guide our movements in the proper way. Many of the names are easy to understand, but others are not so familiar to those with limited familiarity with Chinese culture. The purpose of this article is to explore some of these images and their possible relevance to our practice. Continue reading