Tai Chi Chuan Swords

Students of taiji quan, traditionally t’ai chi ch’uan, usually study with three weapons, the tao, or dao, meaning knife or broadsword; the chien, or jien, meaning straight sword; and the chang, a spear or sometimes the staff. As in other Chinese martial arts, these weapons are categorized according to range. The staff and spear are long-range weapons best suited for the battlefield, while the broadsword and straight sword are short-range weapons designed for personal combat.

Most consider the sword the ruling class of short-range weapons. They are relatively small and lightweight, but in trained hands, deadly. A sword fight requires a level of violence and a mental state not many civilized people would want to have, but in modern times people learn how to use the straight sword or broadsword for reasons unrelated to combat. It is used for exercise, mind-body development, practice of the traditional art or competition. T’ai chi ch’uan serves as a perfect medium through which one can learn to use the sword.

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