Gilman Studio On-Line Lessons



Yang Style Saber Application Form

Tai Chi Chuan


This Lesson Contains:


Greetings and welcome to The Gilman Studio On-Line Yang Style Saber Application Form. This is a simple two-person form that can be practiced as a solo form with good results. As I said, the form is simple and easy to learn, but the information is important in understanding the strength of the Tai Chi Saber.

Historically, the Tai Chi weapons were taught after the solo form was mastered. The solo form works with generating and circulating internal energy. The weapon requires the energy to move outside the body, into an object. It is also important that the student has his awareness under control before he swings a dangerous object around and makes poking and cutting movements to a partner.

The class is divided into five parts. The first is showing all the applications for both sides without trying to teach the form. Next, we will look at A-side solo, then B-side solo, and then put it all together again. Finally, I’ll show the transitions required to make it change from side to side.

There are 8 movements on each side so it should be easy to learn. It would be good if you had a training partner to learn this with, so you can get more of a feeling for spacing, foot movements, timing, and where the energy (awareness) needs to be at all times.

It is important when doing partner forms that the forms are done slowly and steadily, especially at first. There is a tendency to do the first or neutralize portion slowly and then speed up the attack. This makes it difficult for the partner to learn his movement and to become aware of all the possible applications.

This, and all forms, have unlimited application possibilities. This form shows one possibility. After you have gotten to the place where you feel comfortable with this form, look deeper into what other movement applications you could be making in the same form. After practicing with a partner for a long time, you can then move into free style, breaking out of the form and exploring attacks and neutralizes without restrictions. I suggest you use soft objects for this practice. I take a piece of dowel the length of a saber and cover all but a handle width with pipe insulation. This makes a good practice weapon. Always be extremely careful around the head and eyes. Eyes are the most easily damaged part of the body when playing with weapons.

You will notice when studying this form the use of three levels for attacking – high (head and neck), medium (chest and belly), and low (legs).

The usual technique is to fake to one level and attack another. It is similar to hand forms. You need to have the opponent move his guard to some other place.

When showing and studying this form, we will take a movement to its extreme and allow the partner to then do his movement to the extreme. This results in the sabers hitting together. It is fun, especially for young people, to make lots of noise when demonstrating or practicing this form. I have woken up many a sleepy person doing this form at demonstrations. When this form is mastered, there will be no noise, as the sabers move very quickly from one attack to another. I’ll demonstrate this on the reference video that will accompany this course.

You will also notice that most of the attacks are aimed at the wrist and lower leg of the partner. This is because they are the most exposed and usually stick out following an attack. Another thing to notice is how I always make an attempt to move in and past the partner so his saber blade is not a threat. It is always good to be to the side or behind the partner if possible.

One last point. Each side will learn a set of movements. You will then fit them together. What usually happens is that the first person starts his move and the other person then starts his move before the attack is completed. This looks silly and is not good training for reflexes and timing. If my partner is cutting my shoulder, for instance, I must wait until his is committed to the cut and his saber is headed down toward my shoulder before I move. If I move too soon, he will just cut me in movement. It is difficult to change the direction of a saber slash, poke, or cut once it is started.  It is difficult in the beginning to have the patience and confidence that you are not going to be crashed in the head by your partner. That is one of the main reasons why we practice slowly and steadily. No surprises.

I would suggest wooden or light aluminum sabers for a partner form. These can be purchased from many on-line martial arts equipment suppliers.

As always, feel free to contact me with questions, comments, or problems. I look forward to this class and hope you enjoy it. Please check out my other free on-line classes and the study aids at the Gilman Studio On-Line Store.




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