Friday, July 21, 2006

Wudang Tai Chi Sword

I've been taking Wudang Tai Chi Sword class for a few months, and it's been an exhilirating experience. Among all the traditional martial arts weapons, straight sword has always been my personal favorite. It's one of the most graceful yet deadly weapons. If you've seen "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" or other Kung Fu movies, you'd know what I'm talking about. The combination of beauty and strength intrigues me, not to mention my childhood fantasy of being a beautiful princess/sword-master. You can imagine how excited I was when I heard of this Tai Chi Sword class right in my town (Denville, New Jersey).

Wudang Tai Chi Sword turned out to be very different from the Shiaolin style or what you usually see in Kung Fu movies. Just like Tai Chi Quan, it's an internal art that requires patience, quieting your mind, balance, and proper breathing (Qing), among other things. This sword form is flowing & graceful, and so much longer & complex than the Tae Kwon Do forms I'm accustomed to. There are 6 sections in this form, and each section has so many moves & transitions. Luckily, I've got a great Master Gary Carbone. He was trained under Master Chen Junhao (1937-2001) of Shanxi Province, China. His lineage of BaFanShou/Xingyi Quan, beginning with Master Wang Xinwu, is listed on the Eagle Claw Kung Fu Society site.

This video shows the Wudang Tai Chi Sword form that I'm learning, performed by Master Jesse Tsao. There are some differences in details, but Gary said it's commonplace that every master might perform the same move with a different style. The video doesn't show the complete form, but it'd give you some idea about the form.