Chen Village Broadsword
The image of the broadsword is an angry tiger charging down a mountain. This form is intended to be fierce and vigorous. The form is often executed with long, low stances, which are intended primarily for conditioning. When focusing on the applications the stances should be higher and more nimble.
Clip of Chen Zheng Lei
performing Chen Village Broadsword
Black tiger bounds down the mountain
3 rings protect the sun
Visit the International Chen Style Taijiquan site (Ren Guang-yi) to order a video of the Chen Village broadsword form.
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Nature of Saber: The form is intended to be executed very fast and vigorously. Leaps are used to rapidly close distance or nimbly to evade with your legs. There is a saying The image of the broadsword is an angry tiger charging down a mountain. Tiger is often used to denote a youthful energy of power and speed. A similar youthful brashness is observed in western saber: Foil fencers talk about the technique of fencing; Epée fencers talk about the esoterics of fencing theory; and Saber fencers talk about themselves.
of broadsword practice
Conditioning vs Martial Applications: You can perform moves differently depending on your goals. Here are several considerations:
Fa jing The broadsword can be used as a mass with inertia that you move around or rapidly thrust to gain strength from the resistance and develop fa jing, respective. If that is your goal, you may alter the moves to stress that component of training at the cost of lessening the martial aspect.
Low stances Good for conditioning, but not very mobile. Best to practice over a range of heights to acquire different attributes.
Striking opposite hand A training technique that is excellent for developing a strength and sense of impact while enabling you to control the nature of resistance. In BS work, it is sometimes used in chopping, and striking with the pommel (rhinoceros horn.), where the right hand strikes into the left hand.
Left Hand: There is a saying To know single broadsword follow the left hand. From this saying note that you can more clearly understand the applications by knowing the use of the left hand. Common uses of the left are as follows:
More on Left Hand: In form practice it is said that the left hand should often mimic the spirit of the weapon so that the body is balanced. Specifically, for broadsword the left hand is often held with fingers straight out forming a chopping or slicing palm. Double-edged sword is pointier and straighter and that leads to the two-finger secret sword hand. Despite these common rules, a serious martial form will vary the left hand depending upon the specifics of the applications. It is said that in a serious application form you will understand the application by watching the left hand; and for double-broadsword work, you will understand by watching the footwork.
Three main gripping techniques
Relationship to Spear: Broadsword is often used against spear. In visualizing the applications, they are often clearer when you can imagine a spear. Consider the following:
Chan Tao Dao: Important term to BS practice: chan tao dao - literally reeling about the head, knife The broadsword has one dull edge, which leads to a usage style of reeling the dull edge around the head and body to divert and attack. In chan tao dao to the left, the point is down; the back of blade goes around the left arm and close to the back while remaining vertical. It will then either slice across the front or down the front. The vertical aspect allows for broad protection. The closeness allows for strength and control. The left hand can be grabbing and pulling. In chan tao dao to the right, the sword points down and circles around the back to the right and down the front.
Flicks: Broadsword usage is not as articulate as the light double-edged sword. One articulation that is sometimes used is a flick. One type of flick is used to attack the root of the thumb junction with the wrist. Hitting it disables the thumb and it cannot grip the weapon. Another flick aims at the base of the palm, at the ulna nerve, where any force causes the muscles of the hand to weaken and drop the sword. In double-edge sword usage it often precedes coiling about their sword to flip it away. You need to weaken the grip before you can flip away the weapon. The same technique is used to attack spear or club holders. So this sort of flick is mainly used not so to flip away the enemy sword, but rather attack the wrist, then possibly follow up with a disarm.
Gaze: Gaze on your opponent from his eyes to shoulders, wrist, and hips. Don’t look at your own sword. You should be able to feel your own sword.
Two-person work: We typically think of broadsword practice as solo work on forms or drills. Some recent experience with kendo showed me that for my movements to be spirited, filled with jing, and well aligned I needed two-person training analogous to two-person training needed in empty hand practice. I brought the kendo practice weapon (shinai) into training and teaching broadsword to enable two-person work. It has enriched the practice. For information on local (Rochester) Kendo classes contact Sensei Jose Rivera at Shoshin Martial arts.