Monday, July 10, 2006

Ci: The Third Deadly Technique

Friday's practice session was very productive. We learned up to "Black Dragon Swings Its Tail." It's funny learning the Yang form because different teachers count and name the moves a little differently, and some of the moves vary as well. It feels a little like linguistic drift, where people who all started at the same place settle abroad and develop new accents. I bet if we were feeling a little more anthropological, we could track changes in the form through comparing students from around the world and cross referencing their "bloodline changes."

"Black Dragon Swings Its Tail" is very cool, as is the move that leads up to it in our form, which is called "Ancient Tree with Twisted Roots." Books I have on the form discuss these moves as special blocks for overhead and leg attacks, but I strongly feel that they are infighting moves. I showed my friend Pete the two moves, and asked what he thought they might be used for, and he instantly said "pommel strike!" Could be the way I did the move, but hopefully it's the common sensibilities of empty hands martial artists...

After you have practiced the Pi and Dian techniques, you might want to move on to Ci. Ci is also called "thrusting." From your ready stance, begin by dropping the point of your sword as if you were going to perform Dian. As you extend, step forward into a bow stance (or a lunge stance if you know fencing). Put your shoulder in behind the arm and sword so all of your weight is in the move. You may also want to turn in with the shoulder and hips to give the attack more power if the situation warrants and it doesn't seem too dangerous to commit so much. Imagine you're putting your sword through a door.

Where Dian might be for striking fingers and ligaments, Ci is for hitting organs. The more organs you remove from your opponent, the less effective they will be against you.

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