What is the Tai Chi Sword Set?

The Tai Chi Sword set is a set of movements performed with a sword in hand.  The sword set is one of the weapon sets.  It is a unique form that was originally developed as a women’s set.  The sword set is used to train the projection of energy out of the body.  The set is also used to train the focus of energy to a single point.  Practicing with the sword works on the physiology by stretching the spine and opening the chest.  Working on this set also helps to improve the alignment of the spine during the sits to follow the vertical nature of the sword.

Do I need to know the Tai Chi set?

The Introduction to Sword Workshop is the starting point to learn the Tai Chi Sword set.  It is highly recommended to have completed the Introduction to Tai Chi course prior to starting to learn the sword 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 sword 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 Sword Set

At this time the Tai Chi Sword 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 Sword 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 Sword is your instructor.  If they don’t have an answer they will know who 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 forms is available on the National Website.

Background
Our tai chi sword form is usually taught to interested students after they achieve some level of proficiency in the bare hand form.  The addition of the weapon facilitates extending the energy and intention out further from the body, accentuates the strengthening of the arms and has been reported to help restore the range of motion in the hands.

The Tai Chi Sword / Taijijian (太極劍) is a straight two-edged sword used in the training of Tai Chi Chuan.  The straight sword, sometimes with a tassel and sometimes not, is used for upper body conditioning and martial arts training in traditional Tai Chi Chuan schools.  We use a dull edge metal or wooden practice sword.  Collapsible swords are also available which are convenient when traveling.

The jian is a double-edged straight sword used over the course of the last 2,500 years in China.  The first Chinese sources that mention the jian date to the 7th century BCE, during the Spring and Autumn Period.  In Chinese folklore, it is known as “The Gentleman of Weapons” and is considered one of the four major weapons, along with the Gun (staff), Qiang (spear), and the Dao (sabre).  There are several Taoist immortals associated with the jian including Lü Dongbin (呂洞賓).  Lu Dongbin carries a demon slaying sword and a fly whisk used for sweeping away ignorance.

Lu Dongbin was known for his reformation of the practice of Taoist alchemy (內丹術 Neidan Shu) to a process of meditative techniques to cultivate the body (internal energy) to promote longevity and health.  He also promoted the integration of both Taoist and Buddhist practices.  He advocated the integration of techniques to nourish the body and cultivate the mind (spirit).  He was the founder of the Eight Immortals Swordplay style (八仙劍法 Baxian Jianfa) which is one of the martial art treasures of Wudang Mountain.

The Tai Chi Sword form can be traced back to the founder of Yang style Tai Chi Chuan, Yang Lu Chan (1799-1872) who lived during the time of the active use of swords and other traditional weapons in self-defense.  He was familiar with sword fencing, swordsmanship, and the practical applications of sword techniques.