A Brief Introduction to Tai Chi Chuan Weapons

By Oscar

After mastering the empty handed solo exercises of Tai Chi, Tai Chi Students are introduced to the saber, sword and spear. Each weapon has its own unique character and quality.

Tai Chi Chuan students are traditionally taught the saber ( dao ), the sword ( jian ), and the spear ( qi ) only after they’ve mastered the empty handed solo exercises, the various phases of push hands and sparring. The weapon must act as an extension of the student’s body. With training and familiarity, the student becomes aware of each weapon’s unique character and particular qualities. Although the major Tai Chi Chuan styles (Yang, Wu, Sun, Hao and Chen) vary in their outward appearance, the fundamental principles are the same in executing empty hand forms or weapons.

The Saber (Dao)
The character of the dao is said to be like a “fierce tiger.” The saber form consists of thirteen techniques and their variations, which include deflecting, blocking, parrying, intercepting, cutting, thrusting and slicing movements. These movements are executed in a smooth, even and flowing manner from beginning to end. The saber forms are usually short and powerful, and help to develop overall body strength.

The Sword (Jian)
The jian is likened to a “swimming dragon,” noble and elusive, flowing and graceful. The jian form includes lifting, obstructing, piercing, striking, pushing and intercepting techniques. The weapon takes full advantage of its double edge for close, long and deceptive movements. When performed correctly, it is graceful and beautiful to watch.

The Spear (Qiang)
The spear is reserved for last in Tai Chi Chuan’s compendium of weapons. It is a long-range weapon and it includes thrusting, parrying, blocking, coiling and striking techniques. Like the other two weapons, it includes two-man set forms.

In Conclusion
It is clear that combat usage for these weapons is no longer applied, but there is a definite advantage to include them in your practice. First, they reinforce and strengthen empty hand technique. Familiarity with traditional weapons helps to clarify and reinforce Tai Chi Chuan principles.

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categoriaTai Chi commentoComments Off dataSeptember 20th, 2011


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