Tai Chi or Tai Chi Chuan is originally a martial art with great focus on defense. To fully master the movements or forms you will need to train for a long time with attention and effort. Practicing Tai Chi will provide health benefits and increase Qi or life force. Basically, taji is a concept for the flow of yin and yang. This polarity is dynamic and this can be found in most exercises.
Tai Chi is known worldwide and modern styles are often based on one of the five traditional schools: Yang, Wu, Chen, Hu and Sun.
Using a sword is often an essential part of tai chi training. Traditional Chinese weapons were the Dao (saber) and Jian (straight sword) and practice with the Jian is most developed in Tai-Chi. This sword has therefore come to be called a Tai Chi sword over time. In China the Jian is also called the gentleman of all weapons. These swords are also called Taijijian, because the original name of Tai Chi is actually Taijiquan.
The Tai Chi sword is a relatively narrow straight sword with a cut on both sides. In practiced hands, this is a dangerous sword. But in Chinese culture, the jian is also appropriate as a way to break the veils of illusion, ego and attachment and is associated with spiritual refinement.
Below is a tai chi sword suitable for training.
Buying a tai chi sword
It is also clear that the sword as a conventional weapon is no longer used in modern times. But the sword retains its place deep within the psyche. The primary purpose for wielding the weapon during conflicts has disappeared in developed countries. But nonetheless, the sword can be used as a tool for personal development.
Thus, the Tai Chi sword is seen as a weapon for reaching higher levels both physically and mentally. Often, one begins with bare hand work and after the basic structures are formed, continues with the study of weapon training.
Dealing with the sword in Tai-Chi has the effect of giving you more sword skills and thus requires more subtle management ability from your body and mind. All of this provides the practitioner with opportunities to expand Qi. The difference in my opinion between a Tai Chi sword and Jian is that a Tai Chi sword is often lighter in weight. A Jian is often with a solid blade and suitable for functional use. That is, full-tang battle-ready and sharp so also suitable for chopping and cutting exercises.
Despite the preference for the straight sword in Tai Chi, the use of the Dao or saber is also well known in China itself. In Chinese martial arts, the use of the Dao precedes the Jian or Tai Chi sword. Technically, the movements with a saber are often simpler and thus a good stepping stone to the more complex skills of a straight sword. A saber like the Dao is often less forgiving and very merciless and has less visual appeal.
As is clear, the use of the straight sword is more than some movements, for correct use a study is necessary to properly learn the use and behavior of the sword.
A quality Tai Chi sword must meet a number of requirements so that you can perform the form exercises safely and correctly. The steel must have had the proper heat treatment so that the sword is well balanced in terms of stiffness and flexibility.
Authentic straight swords in China were forged and folded with the sanmei construction. This made for sharp yet flexible blades and good balance. You can read more about this in my article Jian (Chinese straight sword) and Dao (broadsword). Therein I cite that in my opinion Chinese swords still receive too little attention and honor.
For performing Tai Chi forms such a construction is not necessary because it will not be used functionally (here I mean chopping and cutting exercises). So to still practice with an authentic sword in terms of feel and touch, you can make the choice to buy a Tai Chi sword from forged high carbon steel.
These often have a correct weight and balance. Because every body is different, it is important to choose a sword that fits your body well in terms of length. A teacher can always give the best advice on this. In our shop you can buy two kinds of tai chi swords, the standard Tai Chi sword which is sober and meets all requirements. And there is also a Tai Chi sword developed by martial arts master Sifu Adam Hsu with a more refined finish. Of course both Tai Chi swords are available in different lengths.
Below a battle ready sharp Jian with sanmei construction from Huanuo which is suitable for functional use.
For those who have become more interested in Jians for functional use, there are also several possibilities. You can look at all Chinese Swords for that.