CONCERNING THE CENTRE
In the Classics it is said that everything moves from the centre. The centre must stay quiet and subtle and the legs and arms move from it and around it. As we improve the centre becomes fine and stable and we become aligned, balanced and in harmony. If we lose our centre we become scattered and we lose integrity.
When doing sword form or fencing the sword is moved from our centre, and on the sword’s centre. Our centre remains relatively still as our arms and the sword move around it, and the sword’s centre stays relatively still as the blade and the pommel move around it. In other words, our sword’s centre stays mostly in front of our Dan Tien* as we move, rising and lowering and not by swinging our arms to the left and right, willy-nilly.
The Japanese Sword Classics use the idea “The Seat of the Sword” to refer to the Dan Tien as related to swordplay.
“ ‘Seeing with the body and limbs’ means trying not to allow our body and limbs to be disconnected from our opponent’s Seat of the Sword, we see with the mind so that we may see with our eyes, we see with our eyes so that we may make our hands and feet go for our opponent’s Seat of the Sword.”MITSUYOSHI
“Both the positioning of your feet and the carriage of your body should not be disconnected from your Seat of the Sword.”MITSUYOSHI
At the highest level, our blade will be relentlessly seeking the O’s centre. Initially this will be an intention and whether it works or not is relative to the O’s skill. At some point it will hopefully become a natural act, as with magnets seeking poles, or flowers turning towards the Sun.
*The centre is called “Dan Tien” in Chinese, “Hara” in Japanese. The Dan Tien is also an organ named the “Greater Omentum” in western medical terms, it seems not to have any specific role, but it grows larger in some athletes as well as in advanced practitioners of the internal arts such as Yoga, Tai Chi, Bagua, Dervish spinning, etc.
Author and Images: Ken van Sickle
- THE SWORD FINGERS – Tai Chi Sword 32
- Cheng Man Ching Photographs
- THE JOINTS – Tai Chi Sword 31
- THE GRIP – Tai Chi Sword 30
- SWORD MOVEMENT – Tai Chi Sword 29
- ON ALIGNMENT – Tai Chi Sword 28
- CONCERNING THE CENTRE – Tai Chi Sword 27
- EQUATIONS – Tai Chi Sword 26
- HSIN AND CHI – Tai Chi Sword 25
- On studying – NINE QUOTES – Tai Chi Sword 24
- THE SWORD MAIDENS – Tai Chi Sword 23
- THE SWORD AND CALLIGRAPHY – Tai Chi Sword 22
- Returning – MORE THOUGHTS – Tai Chi Sword 21
- Levels of TAI CHI SWORD – Tai Chi Sword 20
- FENCING – Tai Chi Sword 19
- Transcendence – Tai Chi Sword 18
- TURNING TRICKS – Tai Chi Sword 17
- Names of CHENG MAN CH’ING’S TAI CHI SWORD – Tai Chi Sword 16
- FORCE – Tai Chi Sword 15
- DIFFERENCES – Tai Chi Sword 14
- BEGINNERS’ MISTAKES – Tai Chi Sword 13
- MIND SETS – Tai Chi Sword 12
- SENSITIVITY – Tai Chi Sword 11
- HARMONY – Tai Chi Sword 10
- TIME AND HUMOUR – Tai Chi Sword 9
- WHY AND HOW – Tai Chi Sword 8
- SWORD DIMENSIONS – Tai Chi Sword 7
- A ROYALTY OF ARMS – Tai Chi Sword 6
- KENNETH VAN SICKLE – Tai Chi Sword 4
- CHENG MAN CH’ING – Tai Chi Sword 5
- PREFACE – Tai Chi Sword 3
- Introductory Thoughts – Tai Chi Sword 2
- EDITOR’S PREFACE -Tai Chi Sword 1
- Tai Chi Sword by Kenneth van Sickle
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- INVITATIONS – Tai Chi Sword 34We may consider the following errors ‘invitations’ to cut or thrust.
- THE TASSEL – Tai Chi Sword 33Professor Cheng said, “While doing the form the Tassel should always be dancing.”
- THE SWORD FINGERS – Tai Chi Sword 32The Sword Fingers are used as a balance to the sword hand and to round out the posture, as in “Raise Hands”.
- Cheng Man Ching PhotographsKen van Sickle is famous for his swordplay & his photographs of Cheng Man Ching
- THE JOINTS – Tai Chi Sword 31As we do the sword form, and as we fence, we must take care to move the sword as its nature requires.
- THE GRIP – Tai Chi Sword 30We grip the handle the way a baby holds our finger; the fist is firm, but the arm is relaxed.
- SWORD MOVEMENT – Tai Chi Sword 29Tai Chi principles lead us to moving the point by moving our grip / hand in the opposite direction, leaving the centre of the ‘stick’ relatively still like a lever, with little wrist strength required.