I’m working my way through the instructional video by Master Jesse Tsao–eight lessons in all for the 49 steps.
I know the form already from working through Master Liang’s demonstration video and from following Long Feng and Mr. Cao on weekends, but there is so much more to learn from Master Tsao! A low-quality video of Jesse Tsao demonstrating the whole form is free on YouTube, however the instructional video, available from his website, Taichihealthways.com, is excellent, detailed, high quality video, and well worth $35.
Lesson 1 covers the first five movements. The following are my notes on this section.
1. Qi shi: When circling the left arm across, the left heel leaves the ground and the right sword fingers cross the chest to protect the ribs. When the right sword fingers point ahead, they should pass by the ear and point at nose level, centered. To draw back the right hand, turn palm-up and pull down and back before releasing the arm to the back. Reach for the sword handle with “tiger mouth” (Hu Kou) again at ear level.
2. Ding bu dian jian: Pictured above. Master Tsao describes the pointing of the sword as a pecking movement, like a bird pecking with its beak. The traditional name for this is Dragonfly Dipping Water.
3. Hui shen dian jian: Pictured above. From ding bu, block up with the sword, leading a clockwise circle with the hilt. Left hand circles low. Then again the movement is a pecking action, while the left hand wards off high. Du li. Look at the point of the sword.
4. Pu bu heng sao: Heng means horizontal; this is a horizontal sweep from a low squat, cutting at ankle height. The traditional name for this move is Swallow Skimming Across the Water.
5. You Zuo ping dai: Carrying the sword level. On the right, Master Tsao thrusts forward palm-up, then slices right palm-down. On left ping dai, he thrusts forward palm down, then turns his sword hand palm up to sweep to the left.