By Jeff Patterson 5/21/2009
In China the sword is highly respected and is considered the “king of the short weapons”. The Jian (tai chi sword) is a narrow-bladed, double-edged sword that requires the highest of skill and spirit for one to effectively use it. In addition to it’s martial use, the tai chi sword has also been known to be used in dance performances, as well as carried by scholars for its elegance. The tai chi sword will measure at least 28 to 30 inches in length and is 1 ½ to 2 inches wide. The hand guard should point to the tip rather than toward the handle. The handle portion runs approximately 9 inches and the blade is straight when viewed down the edge. The tai chi sword should be balanced 1/3 from the hilt end and the blade should be flexible enough to bend 30 degrees. In ancient times the swords were designed to fit the owner. Today, if you follow these guidelines you can find a suitable tai chi sword (jian) for your practice.
The Tao (also spelled dao, meaning knife or broad sword) is a single edged sword with a curved blade. Some blades will exceed 3 inches in width. The size and shape give the tao an exotic appearance and add to its chopping power.
The art of the Chinese sword (tai chi sword) has been around for over 4000 years. Like any martial art, the study and practice of sword techniques has many spiritual, meditative and health benefits that are associated with the training. Like any physical art, the tai chi sword requires extensive physical training. Training with the Jian gives the practitioner a strong, well-balanced and relaxed composure. The tai chi sword techniques have an extremely practical self-defense value.
They train one’s awareness and reactions, allowing the practitioner to respond appropriately to any situation. Also, when one is well versed with the sword, understanding the angles of attack and appropriate lines of defense, they will be able to adapt their skills to any type and line of attack. The skills learned from tai chi sword will help one better understand other weapons and enhance their understanding of empty hand defense as well. Through this practice the most important aspect of the tai chi sword art is the moral values that must be learned in order to excel. Understanding, humility, patience and perseverance must be ingrained in the practitioner. This will strengthen his or her spiritual confidence and make their life more harmonious.
The tai chi sword training is a great way to mix up your practice and help keep you motivated in your training. It is fun, challenging and gives the practitioner a sense of awareness that is hard to find in the empty hand forms. With the warm up exercises, form training and pushing hand drills you can add a spice to your training. As well as building strength, balance, relaxation and increasing your martial art skills.