Double Saber – first moves

I’m looking at the Pennsylvania Chen Taiji ( video of the Shuang Dao form. A second or so is missing from the very start. We begin with the two broadswords in two hands (unlike Chen Zhenglei, who starts with both in the left).

The opening is very much like that for the single saber: step left, step back with the right and step up to right cat stance to take the (right) saber in the right hand. Step back with the right and chop right and left with the sabers to reach this position:


This position is called Sun-Facing Broadsword, and it recurs throughout this form, right and left. Strike this position sitting on the right leg, and you are prepared to cut with the right; Strike it on the left leg and you are prepared to cut with the left.

Next is: The Whole Flowery Circling Broadswords and the Sun-facing Broadsword (I’m taking the names from the Master Cai video). I would have called this three moves, as follows.

(1.) Feet: From the position above, step left, step around right, step across in front with the left, and step out diagonally with the right. Blades: Slash right, left, circle left overhead (now your arms are closed, sabers crossed left on top), and open the sabers. You’re here:


(2.) Withdraw to a left Sun-Facing Broadsword, like this:


(3.) Feet: Right, step around left, step back right and draw back into (right) Sun-Facing Broadsword. Blades: Slash left, then right, lift the left (leading with back of blade), then return to right Sun-Facing Broadsword.

That last flourish, where the left dao flashes up and then returns to the hidden position, is an added touch of flower; it does not occur in either of these videos I’m using. Master Gohring calls it “cleaning the blade,” but the blades do not actually touch. You could add this flourish nearly anywhere that Sun-Facing Broadsword occurs.

Next is Broadsword Faces the Sun After Cutting Three Times. One move is repeated three times, then followed by another move to reach Sun-Facing Broadsword, as follows.

Feet for cutting three times: Step left, then right, turning the right foot in, and step across behind with the left. In class, we call this “jump to kneeling” and give it a little leap. Blades: Slash right so both arms are crossed (right on top) and open out. Master Cai says the left blade blocks up, the right down. Finishing position is like this:


Above, that’s Master Cai (Master Cai Instructional Video); Chen Su Yang is moving so fast I can’t even grab this position in slow motion! Master Cai gives the other side, too (this is a great video!)–click on the image below for a better look:


Then swivel to the left, step right, step across behind with the left to repeat. And repeat again, for a total of three cutting turns. Swivel–or as Master Cai says, make the feet rub the ground! It looks like he’s pivoting on the left toe and right heel.


Master Cai does not jump on these turns; he glides through them. But he does jump into the Sun-Facing Broadsword. Swivel the last time, then jump around with the right and step back with the left. The blade slashes right, so the arms are closed as they would be for a fourth round of cutting, but instead of opening up, the right saber circles the head to finish here:



Seriously, it is well worth wading 25 minutes into this video. So slow and clearly broken down! One more small discrepancy in technique: we do not touch sabers in this sequence; Master Cai does. The sabers clang against each other, crossed, as they open for the xie bu sit.

Next comes Advance to Cut Once with the Broadsword. From left Sun-Facing Broadsword, step right, pivoting to the right on the right heel, step around with the left, pivot the right on the heel again, and step up and over with the left to left-front-crossing sit:


On this one, the blade slashes left, then right (while the left circles over the head). The right circles overhead and the two blades cross in front at the same time as left foot crosses over. In the ending position above the two swords are not vertical but oblique.


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