Apr 17, 2010

Secrets of The Taiji Sword

Different sword traditions have arrived at different designs, names and uses for the sword.  Previously we have seen how various parts of a Western longsword could be used in combat.  In this post, we will have a closer look at the unique and less well known Taiji broadsword.  Unlike normal Chinese broadswords, the Taiji broadsword is sharpened on both sides at the head of the sword.  This makes it a hybrid between the Chinese Jian (double edged sword) and Dao (single edged sword).

The combat function of this extra edge is to allow upward cutting flicks, which can be used against the wrist, fingers, groin or chin.   The other unique components of this sword include the unsharpened root, the S shaped handguard and the ring pommel.  Click here to find out the combat applications of these components.

Related Posts: Bladed Weapons: Swords II

Root of The Sword
The root (English term: ricasso) of the blade is the part nearest the handguard.  In normal swords this part is sharpened but in the Taiji sword as common to other Chinese broadswords, this end of the blade is unsharpened.  It Western sword arts, the unsharpened portion can be used for a two handed grip; in Taiji sword, it is used to attack or defend against the sharp edge of an opponent's sword using a blunt edge, as demonstrated above by Shifu Zhang Yun.

The S-Shaped Hand Guard
The S guard in swords has a number of uses, this picture shows how it can be used to trap a sword.  Here a fine design detail of the sword design reveals its utility - the ball at the head of the guard assists in trapping the sword by providing an obstruction to the pull back of opponent's sword.

Ring Pommel
Even the ring pommel has a distinct utility.  It may be used to extract a sword, or as shown above, it can be used as a lever by the back hand with the leading hand as the fulcrum.  This can be used to move the front of the sword upwards or downwards, or manipulate it in a spiral pattern.

Reference and Photo Credit: Yin Cheng Gong Fa

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