What is the Tai Chi Sabre Set?

The Tai Chi Sabre set is a set of movements performed with a Sabre in the hand.  The Sabre set is one of the weapon sets that has a form that is different from the Tai Chi set.  The Sabre set is one of the shortest forms in duration.  Many of the moves emphasize turning; with the weight of the Sabre assisting the turns.  Practicing with the Sabre works on the body’s physiology by stretching the spine and opening the chest.

Do I need to know the Tai Chi set?

The Introduction to Sabre Workshop is the starting point to learn the Tai Chi Sabre set.  It is highly recommended that one complete the Introduction to Tai Chi course prior to starting to learn the Sabre set.  The Tai Chi set is an excellent way to open and strengthen the body so that the you get the most out of the Sabre workshop.  The best way to become aware of upcoming Tai Chi courses is to subscribe to the London Branch newsletter – The Plum Blossom News.

Learning the Sabre Set

Currently, the Tai Chi Sabre set is taught in a workshop format.  The workshops typically occur over a weekend and are held in different parts of the country.  There is usually a participation fee for members to attend the workshop.  After you have learned the Sabre set, you are encouraged to practice with others in the branch who know the set.  Open practice sessions are offered at no extra cost for people to practice the arts from Mr. Moy’s tradition.  You may also find time to practice before, after or during breaks in classes and special events.

Getting More Information

The best source of information about Tai Chi Sabre is your instructor.  If they don’t have an answer they will know whom to ask.  This website has some additional resources that can provide some background information.  General information can be found in the About section.  We have collected answers to commonly asked questions under the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) section.  If you have a specific question, please contact us using any of the channels on the Contact page.

Additional information on the Tai Chi forms is available on the National Website.

Background

The Tai Chi Sabre / Tai Ji Dao (太极刀) is a category of single-edge Chinese swords / knife / Dao (刀) primarily used for slashing and chopping.  The Chinese Sabre is often called a broadsword in English translations, as some varieties have wide blades.  In China, the dao is known as one of the four major weapons, along with the gun (staff), qiang (spear), and the jian (sword), and referred to as the “General of All Weapons”.  The Sabre we train with is rigid with a dull edge either made of metal or wood.

Our Tai Chi Sabre form is said to have a strong Pa Qua (bagua) influence.  Even though it’s the shortest of the forms Master Moy taught, it has perhaps the greatest variety of interpretations as the physical skills and level of health of the students he most focused on were so varied.

Generally, in the set, the combination of the extra weight of the Sabre and the form of the movements permit the student to shorten the radius of turning around the spine; thereby, increasing the internal movement.

While some of the modifications of the form were specific to students with health challenges ranging from arthritis to high blood pressure, the standard form provides an intense practice to improve the comparable movements in the student’s bare hand form.