THE GRIP – Tai Chi Sword 30

PARALLELS - Tai Chi Sword


We grip the handle the way a baby holds our finger; the fist is firm, but the arm is relaxed. The flat of our wrist should align with the flat of the blade, which means that the wrist should not be bent. However, this ‘rule’ is broken in three moves in the form. Another reason for the wrist being rarely bent, especially when fencing, is that the guard goes out of line, and the hand becomes exposed.

The transitions to the three whip-like moves “Swallow Beats Water with Wings”, “Awaiting Fish” and “Tiger Wags Tail” require a bent wrist. The three “Swallow Beats Water with Wings” moves will require a slight grip adjustment. These should be performed by allowing the weight of the sword to move with the force of gravity, and not by a radical release and re-grasping. Remember the cliché: If our grip is too tight we lose flexibility and sensitivity, ‘The bird dies’. If our grip is too loose we forfeit connection and we risk being disarmed, ‘The bird flies’.

THE GRIP - Tai Chi Sword
THE GRIP – Tai Chi Sword

At first some of the moves will prove difficult and may seem stressful on the joints, potentially causing the grip to lose its integrity whilst trying to get the sword to a correct position. In the early stages of practice it is best to try to keep the grip integrity at the expense of the sword position. Later, as the joints begin to loosen, the sword’s position will improve. Just as tension in any joint will produce a line of tension in all joints, relaxing one joint will tend to relax all the joints. As our right wrist, elbow and shoulder improve their range, so too will the legs and the left side of the body in a crossover response.

Author and Images: Ken van Sickle

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