Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Chou: The Fifth Deadly Technique

You may be a little concerned at this point that there haven't been any descriptions of cool slashing cuts like you see in the movies. After all, isn't COOL why most of us picked kung fu over other martial arts? Well, have no fear because there is a horrible and deadly slashing technique in Tai Chi sword: it's called Chou.

Now, don't get too excited. Well, not just yet. While Chou is a cool technique, it is probably not going to be used the way you see in movies when fighters use the Dao, or broadsword. The Dao is a heavy weapon with a curved blade, and that makes it great for slashing because the curve allows you to continue drawing your sword easily across your distressed and soon to be former opponent. When using the Gim, your wrist must make up for the lack of curve in the blade. Get a partner. Promise the partner you are not going to cut them. Using a wooden sword (you promised, remember?) place the middle edge against their arm, a few inches below the shoulder. Now lightly draw the sword across their arm by pulling the handle to the opposite side of their body, like you're wiping gore off the blade. The pulling and dragging action keeps the sharp edge of the blade moving and cutting against your opponent. With a real blade (I told you to practice with a wooden sword, remember?) this would create a deep cut.

Notice that you are not chopping! That's for Pi and Ji! With suppleness and skill, you can use Chou in a number of mid-distance attacks that we'll examine later! When your opponent thinks you've gone in too close and they have the advantage on you in the close-fighting game, show them the error of their strategy with your Chou technique! Okay, now you can get excited. :-)

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