In a past article we talked about Auxiliary Training in general terms. Over the next few months, we will go over each aspect of this training, and what it is specifically designed to do, as well guidelines as to what to look for when purchasing what you will need in terms of a sword, knife, or whatever else you may need.
We will start with the Taichi Sword. Taichi Sword practice is designed to help you develop sensitivity and is considered a water form. The sword is flexible, so that you can feel the vibration of the tip. This helps you to feel vibration beyond your own hand, which is very important to your Two Person Practice. This also aids in being able to vibrate your energy outward, as it gives you a focus beyond your own hand. Remember as we said in the Auxiliary Training article, this training is not aimed at Martial Arts as much as enhancing your energy practice.
Doing the Sword Two Person practices is a great aid to your regular Two Person practice. It is much harder to maintain steady, even, light contact through your sword while contacting your partner’s, than it is to do this with your partner in your bare hand Two Person practice. Just making contact without the swords bouncing will take many hours of repeated practice before you get it right. There are several different Two Person practices with the sword designed to help you with all of this.
The form itself uses many concepts from your bare hand form, but takes them a step further. The form includes, jumps, spins and turns, so is even more dynamic than the bare hand form. This requires excellent balance and suspension, as well as an internal sense of the direction you are facing. You must do this internally, as you can be practicing anywhere, and if you rely on external "reference points", you will easily become disoriented, in terms of the direction you should be facing.
Lastly, Taichi Sword practice contributes to your work with opposites. If you look at the sword form, it is a very graceful, Yin, water-like form. Your form is Yin on the outside. Inside, you want your energy to be Yang, vibrating outward through the tip of the sword, or the sword hand, depending on the form, or practice. So, you are Yin on the outside and Yang on the inside. Remember the importance of opposites in your practice and you can see why this can aid in your energy development.
Buying a Sword
In buying a sword, flexibility along the whole length of the blade is important. You should be able to feel a good vibration along the whole length of the blade, not just the end. Remember you need this vibration to work on your sensitivity. You need to feel where the tip of the blade is without looking at it. It is becoming increasingly difficult to find good hand made swords that meet this requirement, and if you do, they will be quite expensive. You will probably need to just do the best you can with a factory made one until you are lucky enough to find someone selling a good one.
Make sure that the sword you buy is a Taichi sword, not some other kind, such as a Wushu Sword for example. It should have a wooden handle and a brass pommel. There are a lot of fancy imitation Taichi Swords with leather or vinyl wrapped handles, and hardware made of metals other than brass. Make sure you stay away from these. Balance between the blade and handle is also important, as many factory made swords tend to be very blade-heavy. When in doubt, consult a qualified instructor to help you find a source for your sword and advise you on what to buy.
This should give you an idea what to look for, as well as show the benefits of Taichi Sword practice. As with everything else we have discussed in previous articles, a qualified instructor is important, not only to help you select a good sword for your practice, but to teach you the form properly. If you can get a good sword, and find a good instructor, Taichi Sword is a great addition to your practice, as well as an effective aid to your Taichi growth.