TURNING TRICKS – Tai Chi Sword 17


Most of the techniques that we use in Tai Chi can be seen as ‘tricks’ that function in circular patterns, as most of our ‘returns’ are circular in nature. For example if the O pushes our left shoulder, we keep our centre still, let our left shoulder go in the direction of the push as our right shoulder (along with our arm) moves in the opposite direction, pushing the O in the direction of his initial push. From above this would resemble the Yin/Yang symbol.


In fencing if the O pushes our blade in a circle we take that energy, continuing the O’s circle, adding a little speed and spiral toward the target – the O’s limb or body.

There are several ways of perfecting this principle:

  1. Practise the core exercises.
  2. Do the form with a specific technique or principle in mind.
  3. Ask those who can do it, to do it, so you can feel it.
  4. Practise it on beginners.

It is difficult to practise specific moves with someone on your own level since you both know what you are trying to do and the desire to cooperate often interferes with spontaneity.

Author and Images: Ken van Sickle

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Tai Chi Sword Videos with Cheng Man Ching