Gilman Studio On-Line Lessons



Tai Chi Partner Cane Form


This Lesson Contains:

The Complete Form – Be Advised. This is a very long lesson, 14 pages, so downloading will take some time. Please be patient.

Here we put it all together. It is quite similar to the first lesson where I show applications, but here I break it down to show how both people move at the same time. Remember, this form is meant to be performed very quickly, with a light step. In still pictures, many of the movements look like we are quite open to attack, but when done fast, these openings disappear. Also, I remind you there is a companion video to illustrate the correct movements. Go the on-line store. The video is only $25 including shipping. How can you refuse that?


1) Standing the correct distance from your partner. It should be just further then the tallest person can reach extending out the cane. A (Michael) faces east. B (Stephanie) faces west. Most of the form remains on this east/west axis, except for a couple of movements near the end.


2) Bow to partner. This acknowledges the fact that you will be working together to achieve a gain in Tai Chi skills.





A – Open the Door

B – Move the Branch Aside

1) A begins to step forward by shifting the weight onto the right foot and rolling up onto the left toe. As A sinks the weight into the foot, sinks into her left foot and rolls up onto her right toe.


2) A steps ahead with the left foot, just touching down the heel. As A steps, B steps back with her right foot, just touching down the toe.

A starts to raise the cane in order to poke BB starts to bring her cane up to protect.





1) A shifts the weight onto the left leg and starts to extend the cane tip towards B’s center. B shifts back onto her right leg and continues to bring her cane up to protect.

2) A is full extended with the left knee just covering the toe. Focus on the center as the target. B is full on her right leg in empty stance. Her cane is up at a 45-degree angle, neutralizing A’s cane to the right. Her left hand supports the cane about mid way up. Focus on neutralizing.





A – Snap the Branch

B – Stop the Branch

1) A starts to step forward by sinking deeper into the left foot and rolling up onto the right toe. A maintains contact with his cane and starts to change the angle so he can protect himself as he steps in.

  B relaxes.


2) A steps in with the right foot, just touching the heel. B steps back with her left foot, just touching down the toe.

As A steps, he starts to swing his cane around in front of his body to gain momentum for the strike to B’s temple. Bdoes a small swing with her cane as she steps to gain momentum for her block.





1) A continues his attack by shifting forward and aiming his tip at B’s temple.

   B is shifting back to get out of the way of the advance by A. Her cane is heading towards A’s cane.


2) A has shifted all the way forward until his knee just cover the toe. The cane is extended but do not let the shoulders get raised.

   B is sitting back into empty stance. Her cane strikes A’s about a third of the way from the tip. Her intention is a block or possibly to break A’s cane.





B – Hit the Snake

A – Whirlwind


1) B shifts to the right foot to free up the left foot for stepping.

A starts to relax.


2) B steps to the left and slightly in with her left foot while sticking with her cane to protect herself.

A starts to shift the weight back onto the left foot.





1) B hits down towards A’s wrist while shifting the weight onto her left foot.

A shifts back onto the left foot, getting his wrist out of range. At the same time he sticks to B’s cane and neutralizes it out to the right slightly.


2) A quickly shifts the weight back onto the right foot and strikes towards B’s temple. Be sure to aim at the temple so B can do her next move correctly.

B brings her cane up to protect the head.





B – Dragon Attacks

A – Ride the Wind


1) B ducks, sinking the weight onto the left foot.


2) B starts her attack to A’s lower leg. Her cane makes a circle on the top of her head.

A starts to shift back onto the left foot to get his right knee out of the way, and follows B’scane with his cane. He could be sticking at this point.





1) B’s attack is complete and has been neutralized and knocked to her left by A’s cane. At this point A is sitting back, while Bis still squatting down on her left leg.


2) B continues her attack by stepping forward with her right leg. She doesn’t add weight yet. Her cane makes another circle around her head to gain momentum for her strike to A’s temple.

When B steps with her right foot, A steps back with his right foot, not yet putting weight on it. His cane is starting to come up for his defense.





1) As B shifts her weight onto her right foot, A shifts his weight back onto his right leg. Bis completing her attack and A is ready for his defense.


20- The moves are completed. B is all the way forward and A is all the way back. B is fully extended without leaning forward or allowing her shoulder to extend. A is turned slightly to the left in order to stop the attack on the left side of his body. Notice the angle of the crossed canes.





A – Looking for the Snake

B – Ride the Tiger


1) – A starts his attack by shifting his weight onto the right foot. B starts to shift her weight back onto her left foot.


2) – A starts to step in with is left foot while creating a roof with his cane to protect. Bcontinues to shift back and relax.





1) – A steps in with his left foot and a bit to the left to gain the proper distance for his strike to B’s knee. His cane still protects but has disengaged. B is sitting all her weight on her left leg. Her cane is relaxed but upright.


2) A finishes his attack to her knee. He is fully extended on the left leg. The cane is aimed at the knee.

B is blocking with her cane on the right side of her body and she is getting her right leg up and out of the way.





1) – B’s Ride the Tiger is complete. Her body is turned a bit to the left and her right leg is up and to the left. Her cane is extended in her block. Notice her left arm is extended backward to balance the movement.


B – Eagle Spreads its Wings

A – Rising Stick


2) – Having blocked A’s attack, B steps down with her right foot toward the front and prepares to counterattack.

A lifts up his right foot in preparation for retreating to the rear, as he is fairly well exposed at this moment. His cane starts to come up for protection.





1) – B shifts her weight onto the right foot and her cane starts to flick up towards A’stemple.

A is sitting back and bringing up his cane to block. His cane is on the inside of B’s cane as he looks towards her.


2) – The movements are finished. B is fully extended with her focus on A’s temple. A is sitting back into empty step. He has brought the cane up to block and has his left palm against the middle of the cane to support the block. Be careful not to wrap the fingers around the cane or your fingers will be exposed to attack. Notice that the canes are crossed at this point.





A – Piercing Stick

B – Move the Branch Aside


1) A shifts the weight back onto the left foot and pokes towards B’s center.

B sits back, sticking and leading A’s cane to her right.


A – Snap the Low Branch

B – Tornado Raises Dust


2) – A starts to step ahead with his right foot by sinking deeper into the left foot and rolling up onto the right toe. The cane changes angle and sticks to protect as he steps in.

B stays relaxed and waits to see what is going to happen.





1) – A starts the attack as he is now a bit inside B’s defense. He steps ahead and a bit to the right with his right foot. The cane starts to snap down towards B’s knee.

remains relaxed and aware.


2) A finishes his attack and is fully extended with his focus on the knee.

B gets her right knee out of the way by lifting the leg and pulling the lower leg back to the rear. At the same time she knocks A’scane to her right with a downward snap with her cane.





1) – B, having knocked A’s cane to her right, sees an opening behind him.


2) – B now starts to spin in and behind A to attack the back of his knee. Following her sharp knock to A’s cane, she puts her right foot down in front of and slightly to the left. Her torso starts to turn to her right for the spin.

A, seeing he is in trouble, shifts the weight onto the left foot to free up the right leg in order to be able to move it out of the way.





1) – B is in the middle of her spin. She shifts all the weight onto the left foot and continues to turn her torso to her right. The cane is down by her side, relaxed.

A, seeing B spinning around, decides to get out of the way and attack her. He steps with his left foot to the left and relaxes his grip on the cane so he can whip it down when he gets into the correct position. He is moving to his left to get behind B.


2) – B completes her attack by striking down and to the rear on her right side, where Awas. Her body now faces perpendicular to the starting direction.

A shifts the weight onto the left foot and starts to strike down to the back of B’s leg.





1) – A’s and B’s attempts are canceled out by ending up with canes crossed. A is in left foot bow stance, while B has most of her weight on the right foot. They are now in a north/south alignment.


B – Snap the Branch

A – Break the Branch and Raise Dust


2) – B now is going to spin around in the opposite direction. She sinks her weight well into her right foot and starts to turn her torso to her left. She starts to bring her cane up to guard her back by swinging it around her head. The cane tip stays down.

relaxes and starts to shift the weight back onto the right foot.





1) – B lifts up her left foot and replaces it as far around to her left as she can. The cane is swinging up and around.

A steps back with the left foot and starts to bring his cane up to attack or block.


2) – B completes her spin by swinging her right foot around and putting it down and to the front of her left foot. She moves into right foot bow stance for her attack to A’shead.

A starts to shift the weight back onto his left foot to get out of the way. The cane is now up and making a small swinging motion to gain momentum for his block/attack.





1) – The moves are almost complete.


2) – The moves are complete. The two players are still on the north/south axis. Notice that A is sitting all the way back on his left foot and the cane is on his left side. Acan be blocking or hoping to break B’s cane with his sharp snapping block.






A – Raise Dust

B – Drop the Stick

Note: The next three pictures are shot from a slightly different angle to show the movement.


1) – This is actually part of A’s previous movement, but we will consider it by itself for the moment.

A drops his cane down a bit and moves it to the outside (his left).


2) – He then gives B’s cane a sharp whack to his right, hoping to knock it out of her hands of break the cane. As he does this, he rolls up the left toe.





1) Since B still holds on to her cane, Adecides to spin in and around to attack the back of B’s leg. He makes a big step forward with his left foot and brings his cane down to his waist.

B relaxes and gets back to her center.


2) A shifts the weight onto the left foot and continues his spin by stepping out to his right with the right foot. The cane is starting to attack B’s lower leg.

B is basically relaxing and following A’s movement, looking for an opening.





1) – A’s attack is complete. He is blocked by dropping her cane to protect her lower leg. She is also stepping ahead with her right foot to get into position to attack A’s upper body which is now open.


B – Snake Attacks the Neck

A – Protect the Head from the Rain


2) – B shifts the weight onto her right foot and rolls up onto her left toe in preparation for stepping ahead with her left foot. She brings up her cane to protect her side and get ready for her attack.

A sees what is happening, so he shifts his weight onto his right foot and rolls up onto the left toe to make stepping possible. He starts to bring up his cane to protect his back.





1) – B steps forward with her left foot to get into position. Her cane is still guarding but also in position to strike down.

A continues to bring up his cane to protect his head.


2) – B finishes her move and the form by striking down towards A’s neck. She is now facing the opposite direction she started from, and is in left foot bow stance.

A has brought the cane up to protect his head and neck. His weight is on the right foot and the left toe is touching.


Note: This is the end of the form. There are two possibilities for practice. You can end the practice, or you can transition and change sides. I’ll show the two possibilities.





End the Form


1) – A steps ahead and to his left foot while protecting his upper body. His intention is to strike down towards B’s hand.


2) – As he strikes down, simply moves her cane over a bit for the block and withdraws her right arm back. Both people are now in left foot bow stance with canes crossed.

To end, shift the weight back onto the right foot and replace the left foot so it is next to the right. Bring the cane back and set the tip on the ground next to the right foot. You will now be back in starting position.

Note: This same sequence is the start of the transition. A (transitioning into B) is Hitting the Snake and, B (transitioning into A) is doing the first part of Whirlwind.





Transition: A to B and B to A


A to B – Hit the Snake

B – Dragon Attacks

B to A – Whirlwind

A – Ride the Wind


1) – Following the above sequence where Asteps in to attack B’s wrist (Hit the Snake), B sits back and neutralizes Michael’s cane to the right.


2) – Stephanie now steps back with her left foot and attacks B’s head. This step back is the only thing different in the form to make the transition work.

B starts to duck and brings up the cane to protect the head.





We are now in the form with B attacking A’s knee ( Dragon Attacks), while Ais sitting back onto her left leg and neutralizing B’s cane to her right (Ride theWind). The rest of the form follows.


This form can go on and on. The pace usually picks up as both people feel more relaxed and confident. Do be careful not to get distracted and lose focus. It only takes a moments loss of focus to get hurt. When practicing with full contact, it is important to have protective gear and to use foam coverings on the cane.


Have fun and practice this as a solo form until you feel you have the sequence down and can move lightly and quickly. You can see this practiced as a partner form on the video available from the on-line store at

Thanks for taking an interest in Tai Chi Chuan. Make sure to see our other classes on line also.





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