Tuesday, January 16, 2007

New Year, New Training

So, out of the blue I'm back training Tai Chi Sword. Perhaps some people made New Year's resolutions somewhere because I got this sudden call from a guy I gave my card to saying he wanted to train swords. I say okay, I'm up for it, and he says "this weekend?" What the hey, I think and let the usual suspects know.

We pulled it together and got together Sunday. Turns out the new guy knows the whole sword form and he showed it to us. It's a little different than the one we've been learning, and we discussed some of the issues we've been ruminating on as a group: use of the scabbard, applications that arise from each stance, etc.

In the end I proposed that we use the form as described by Chen Weiming in "Taiji Sword and Other Writings," translated by Barbara Davis as our base and funnel all our research into fleshing out the form as described. As legend has it, Chen Weiming learned sword from Yang Chengfu, one of the core practitioners of Yang Style Taiji. Apparently, Yang Chengfu didn't teach much about the sword. It's unspecified whether he didn't like to teach it or if he didn't really know that much about it, but the result was that Chen Weiming went out on his own and learned sword applications from a Wudang sword master. This suggests there may have been a break in the Yang Style lineage where some or much of a generation did not receive full instruction on the sword. This might explain why so many sources conflict with each-other on the exact moves and have little to no instruction on the application. I wonder what 2007 will bring us as we study?