THE SWORD MAIDENS – Tai Chi Sword 23

Jian - The Sword - A woman’s weapon?
THE SWORD MAIDENS
THE SWORD MAIDENS – Tai Chi Sword 23

China has had two legendary Sword Maidens, Yue Nu and Gongsun Daniang.

The swordswoman Yue Nu was famous for having vanquished all challengers. She was able to successfully fight several men at the same time and was in charge of training the king’s swordsmen. Yue is quoted as saying: “The swordsman and his shadow should chase each other.”

Jian - The Sword - A woman’s weapon?

My understanding of this is, if your shadow is behind you and you move forward, your shadow is chasing you. If your shadow is in front of you and you move forward, you are chasing it. If it is on your left or right, you and your shadow are chasing something together. So I conclude that for you and your shadow to chase each other, you must circle.*

This is in accord with Cheng Man Ch’ing’s warning “Never back up”, with Tai Chi’s general circular principles, and with my own experience.

The other renowned Sword Maiden was Gongsun Daniang, a renowned teacher adored for the perfection and beauty of her Sword Dance (Form). Zhang Xu, a calligrapher who was noted for his cursive style, said: “After I saw her dance, my calligraphy greatly improved.”

*Western fencing is done on a track, only forward and backward movements are used.

Author and Images: Ken van Sickle

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