Gilman Studio On-Line Lessons



Yang Style Saber Application Form

Tai Chi Chuan


This Lesson Contains:

Chop To The Neck

This is a very strong chopping down motion. The saber is swung around the body to gain momentum before it chops down toward the neck. This chop could be used to cut through the leather armor worn by the soldiers of the earlier times. This movement is also fun to practice with a large lunge like step. It should be strong and fast. Also notice how the left hand balances the power of the right.


Start by turning the torso to the right and letting the right hand drop straight down the right side of the body. The left arm moves right with the torso.

This could be a block of a poke to the center using the side of the saber blade.







Change saber hand.

The torso has turned until the center faces the right knee. The right hand drops down until it is by the right hip. The left hand brings the saber over and gives it to the right hand. Keep energy in the right Kua.

Focus on changing the saber hand.






Hide the saber behind the body.

Let the right hand drop down until the saber is relaxed and hanging point down slightly behind the body in relation to the opponent. This makes it hard for the opponent to see the saber.

The left hand is also hanging down, but in front of the crotch. There has been no change in the foot position.

Glance toward the opponent.





Start of the swinging motion.

The saber is going to come across the front of the body with the point facing down. The torso is doing this movement by starting to turn to the left. The whole arm is rising and is fairly straight. Keep the blade vertical as it circles the body. The left hand starts to come up to the center of the upper body.

This could easily be used to deflect a poke to the upper body.





The swing around the body continues.

Lift up the left foot and replace it at a 45-degree angle to the forward direction (half way between north and west). Don’t shift the weight yet.

The right arm continues to move across the body, slightly overhead, until it is on the left side of the shoulder. Keep the point down.

The left hand is now in a guarding position in the front of the upper body.

You can see now how this could easily neutralize an incoming poke. If you have a partner, practice this part of the movement by itself. Have the partner poke you towards the upper body, and starting with the saber hanging down by the right side, see if you can neutralize it with this swinging movement. Try not to knock the partner’s saber away with too much impact, or you’ll lose control. Use the side of the blade for this exercise.





Getting ready to chop down.

Shift the weight onto the left foot and roll up onto the right toe.

The right arm has finished bringing the saber across the body and around the back. The saber is hanging down the back. Keep the saber loosely held, mostly by a ring made with the thumb and index finger. As much as possible, keep the right shoulder down.

The left hand starts to open to the left. This could be a grab of the opponent’s saber hand if doing the neutralizing movement just described. In any case it is moving left to provide a counterbalance to the chopping forward and down of the saber.

Notice the hiding of the saber. It is hard for the opponent to see the saber at this point.





Stepping in for the chop.

Step straight forward (north) with the right foot and just touch down the heel. Don’t add weight yet. Be careful not to step into a narrow stance.

The right hand starts to bring the saber forward and down. It is almost like you are throwing the pummel (end of the saber handle) forward. The hand is still held loosely.

The left hand is still moving around and back at shoulder level.

Focus on the target – the partner neck.

Note: When playing with this movement, try to jump forward and cut. Or just make a large lunge step. The distance for the step is determined by how far away the opponent is.





The chop is complete.

Shift the weight onto the right foot until the knee just covers the toe.

The saber blade has chopped down to end with the cutting edge (the last third of the underside of the blade) at neck level. Notice the slight angle inward of the blade. The right arm is straight. The left hand is behind the body with the palm facing outward to balance.

Focus on the cutting edge.

Note: This whole movement is done with the waist. The torso first turns left to bring the saber up, then right to sweep the back, and left again to chop down. It is like doing the twist. Once you get the hang of this, it is very strong, yet easy, because of the torso twist. Keep the saber relaxed and not held tightly until the very end of the chop down.





<<Back to index