This short sword form is a simplified version of the standardized 56-sword–simplified just in being shorter. All the movements in 32-sword are also in 56-sword. Michael Garfalo (Valley Spirit Taijiquan, Green Way Research, Red Bluff, California) offers an illustrated list of movements on his website. He also offers a PDF with drawings, but although this seemed like a great idea, I found it impossible to follow. Learning from video is hard enough! Luckily, I have Long Feng–nothing is better than a good teacher.

Long Feng doing 32 swordExcellent video is available for this one, from  taiji.de website–I don’t see the name of the man who performs– and from Sifu Amin Wu:

32 sword   32sword

Names of movements (with notes to self):

  1. Commencement
  2. 三環套月  Three Rings Around the Moon (twist step, right cross, take sword)
  3. 大魁星  The Big Dipper (aka the major literary star)
  4. 燕子抄水  The Swallow Beats the Water
  5. 边拦扫  Block and Sweep, Right and Left
  6. 夜叉探海 Yecha explores the sea [stand on right leg pointing sword down]
  7. 懷中抱月 Holding the Moon [stand on right leg, holding sword up]
  8. 宿鳥投林 The Birds Returns to the Tree at Dusk [pointing out]
  9. 乌龙摆尾  Black Dragon Swings Tail [turn around and sweep out]
  10. 青龍出水  Green Dragon Emerges from the Water [pull back left]
  11. 風捲荷葉  Wind Rolls the Lotus Leaf [pull back right to left cat]
  12. 夜叉探海 Lion Shakes Its Head [step up to right]
  13. 虎抱頭 Tiger Holds Its Head [fall forward]
  14. 野馬跳澗 The Horse Jumps Over the Stream [finish run with right bow thrust]
  15. 小魁星 The Little Dipper [pull back to right cat]
  16. 海底撈月 Scoop Up the Moon from the Sea Bottom [sweep left to cat, right to bow]
  17. 預備式 Shoot the Flying Geese [chop overhead, pull back to left cat]
  18. 猿献果 White Ape Presents the Fruit [elsewhere the compass]
  19. 迎風撣塵 左 Sweep the Dust into the Wind, L, R, L [swallow beats the water]
  20. 順水推舟 Push Boat With Current [open arms]
  21. 彗星飞行由月亮 Comet Chases the Moon [stab overhead]
  22. 飛馬行空 Pegasus Crosses the Sky[pivot left, chop to right bow]
  23. 挑簾式 Lifting the Curtain [turn left chop to right cat]
  24. 左輪劍 Wheeling Sword to the left [sit to minor literary star]
  25. 右輪劍 Wheeling Sword to the right
  26. 右輪劍 Right Wheeling Chop [to right cat]
  27. 大鵬展翅  Phoenix Spreads Its Wings
  28. 黃蜂入洞 Bee Enters the Cave [slash and shift left, shift right to left cat]
  29. 懷中抱月 Holding the Moon [step to right bow]
  30. 風掃梅花 Wind Blows the Plum Blossoms [turn over the sword and step around]
  31. 指南针 The Compass Points South [left bow, then shift back to take sword]
  32. Conclusion

Chen Saber

This short, flashy form is required for the second degree black sash. It’s performed with a flexible broadsword and lasts only a little more than a minute. A section can be repeated to add length for purposes of competition, where a minimum time of two minutes or more may be required.

Chen SaberVideo resources for this one are scant! On Master Gohring’s YouTube, you can see Mister Hunter and Mister Rodriguez performing at Black Sash Graduation 2010. Very dark! And shot from the back.

Master Blue Siytangco studied with Grand Master Cheng Jincai along with Master Gohring. A few years ago he taught a class in Chen Saber at Master Gohring’s school. Here’s a video–wonderful instruction but doesn’t cover the whole form.

Here’s the list of movements:

  1. Preparing Form
  2. Protect the Heart
  3. Blue Green Dragon Leaps from the Sea
  4. Wind Sweeps the Wilting Flowers
  5. White Clouds Overhead
  6. Black Tiger Searches the Mountain
  7. Su Chin carries the Sword on His Back
  8. Golden Rooster Stands Alone
  9. Turn to Coming Force
  10. Cut the White Snake at the Waist
  11. Three Rings Around the Sun
  12. Part Clouds to See the Sun
  13. Search Grass for Snake
  14. Blue Green Dragon Leaps from the Sea
  15. Wind Sweeps the Wilting Flowers
  16. White Crane Inserts Golden Wing
  17. Nei Zha Searches Sea Bottom
  18. Turn and Chop Left
  19. Turn and Chop Right
  20. White Snake Spits Poison
  21. Embrace the Moon
  22. Close Form

Chinese Names

Few of my Chinese friends speak English. In the year that I’ve been working with them, we’ve managed to learn only a handful of words in each other’s language. Up until recently, I’ve really struggled to hear Chinese–I’ve learned much less than they have–but suddenly, I’ve experienced a very small breakthrough. My brain, for some reason, is beginning to accept a little Chinese.

White Crane

Bai He Liang Chi – White Crane Spreads Wings

I found a great website run by the Lau Sui Taijiquan school in the UK. Not only do they list the Chinese names for movements of many forms–they even provide audio to help with pronunciation! For example: movements of 42-form. Fantastic!

Many of these movements are familiar from other forms. I’m working on the following list right now:

  • Grasp the bird’s tail: Lan Que [cheh] Wei
  • Single whip: Dan Bian [bi-en]
  • Lift hands: Ti Shou
  • White crane spreads wings: Bai He Liang Chi
  • Brush knee push: Luo Xi [lo shee] Ao Bu
  • Step forward, deflect downward etc: Jin Bu Ban Lan Chui [chway]
  • Fist under elbow: Zhou [jo] Di Chui*
  • Part the wild horse’s mane: Ye [yay] Ma Fen [fun] Zong [tzong]

*Different for some reason from what I’ve learned in school.

42 Form

Also called the combined form and the competition form, 42 was created in 1989 by Grand Master Li De Yin. It incorporates elements of all four styles of Tai Chi: Yang, Chen, Sun and Wu. Wikipedia offers this interesting discussion by Dr. Paul Lam.

video of 42 form

I’ve been using an excellent video demonstration by Miss Ng Ah Mui.

For comparison, here’s an excellent performance by Gao Jiamin on YouTube.

Here’s a list of the 42 movements in English and Chinese, derived from Lau Sui and a list that Long Feng gave me.

The form takes 6-7 minutes. The movements are:

  1. Preparing Form – Qishi
  2. Right Grasp the Bird’s Tail [Wu style] – You Lan Que Wei
  3. Single Whip – Zuo Dan Bian
  4. Lift Hands – Ti Shou
  5. White Crane Spreads Wings – Bai He Liang Chi
  6. Brush Knee Push – Luo Xi Ao Bu [right and left]
  7. Fist Across the Body – Pie Shen Chui
  8. Roll Back and Press – Lu Ji Shi
  9. Step Forward, Block, Parry, Punch – Jin Bu Ban Lan Chui
  10. Withdraw and Push [Sun Style] – Ru Feng Si Bi
  11. Open and Close Hands – Kai He Shou
  12. Single Whip [Wu style] – You Dan Bian
  13. Fist Under Elbow [Sun style] – Zhou Di Chui
  14. Turn to Push Palm [Sun style] – Zhuan Shen Tui Zhang
  15. Fair Lady Works the Shuttle [Wu? style] – Yu Nu Chuan Shuo
  16. Right and Left Heel Kick – You/Zuo Deng Jiao
  17. Hidden Hand Punch [Chen style] – Yan Shou Gong Chui
  18. Part the Wild Horse’s Mane [Chen style] – Ye Ma Fen Zong
  19. Cloud Hands – Yun Shou
  20. Hit the Tiger on One Leg [Wu style] – Du Li Da Hu
  21. Right Snap Kick – You Fen Jiao
  22. Box the Tiger’s Ears – Shuang Feng Quan Er
  23. Left Snap Kick – Zuo Fen Jiao
  24. Turn Body Slap Foot – Zhuan Shen Pai Jiao
  25. Step Up and Punch Down – Jin Bu Zai Chui
  26. Slant Flying [Wu style] – Xie Fei Shi
  27. Snake Creeps Down – Dan Bian Xia Shi
  28. Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg- Jin Ji Du Li
  29. Step Back Piercing Palm – Tui Bu Chuan Zhang
  30. Press Palm in Empty Stance – Xu Bu Ya Zhang
  31. Lift Palm on One Leg – Du Li Tuo Zhang
  32. Strike With Shoulder – Ma Bu Kao
  33. Turn Body Big Pullback – Zhuan Shen Da Lu
  34. Grab to Punch – Xie Bu Qin Da
  35. Squat to Palms Through – Chuan Zhang Xia Shi
  36. Step Up Seven Stars – Shang Bu Qi Xing
  37. Step Back to Ride the Tiger [Wu style] – Tui Bu Kua Hu
  38. Turn and Sweep the Lotus – Zhuan Shen Bai Lian
  39. Bend Bow Shoot Tiger – Wan Gong She Hu
  40. Left Grasp the Bird’s Tail – Zuo Lan Que Wei
  41. Cross Hands – Shi Zi Shou
  42. Close Form – Shou Shi

The form is predominantly Yang style; I’ve indicated where the other styles occur (as best I know).

A New Tai Chi Notebook

I’m considering testing for my second degree black sash this year — if not this year, next year — and my trusty Tai Chi Notebook on Pommelhouse is hard-coded. So I’m moving it to WordPress and updating everything.

For the second degree black sash, I’ll need to know the Chen 38 and its applications, Ba Fa, Chen sword, and Chen saber. I’ll also have to pass the first degree test again, which shouldn’t be a problem; I’ve stayed with it.

I study at Master Gohring’s Black Sash Academy, and that’s where I’ll be testing, but I also practice with a group of Chinese friends in my neighborhood. The Tai Chi they do is quite different, and although it keeps me spread somewhat thin to study with them, too, I love working with them.

I feel the need for a hardcopy notebook, so I’ll be adding printable versions of some of the material on this site.