Yi Jian Mei

One Plum Blossom is the title of a song for which a lovely and unique sword form has been choreographed. I have seen it before, a couple of years ago, but that was before studying Yang sword. Sword is an acquired taste. Here’s a video:

plum

So this is a surprise new project–I had planned to learn 56-sword next. Long Feng does this so beautifully it makes me weepy. Another woman, new to our group, knows it also. How can I pass up the opportunity to learn it? It is longish–more than 3 minutes.

Here’s another video of the same form, Yi Jian Mei Tai Chi Sword. The performer is 80! So no excuses.

plum80

Using that first video, vocals start at :15. Opening form: she circles both arms clockwise (from the performer’s perspective) and finishes with the left arm extended, right arm raised and left knee lifted.

plum-qishi

She pulses once on the beat, then extends the right arm higher and points the left toe to touch the ground. Then she circles the right arm counterclockwise, stepping left, right and extending the left to the side. Eyes follow the right hand.

plum-qishi2

Lift into this position, which reminds me of Wu-style kua hu as shown below. Then unwind, stepping left, to point ahead as you would doing three rings around the moon. That’s the first 30 seconds.

plum-qishi3

She will not take the sword for another 15 seconds or so. From the pointing position, follow through and circle the right arm up and back, while stepping up to point the right toe. Lift the right knee, point both arms left and look left:

plum-qishi4b

What comes next is complicated–a 7-count Bagua walking with the sword spun overhead. Unwind to the right (she does a little pulsing move to start) and take seven steps R-L-R-L-R-L-R in a circle, turning out to the left on step 6, the back to the right on step 7 so the right foot faces front. Sink and step back with the left to reach the position shown below. This move lasts 5 seconds, from :35 to :40 in the video.

plum-qishi4.The sword circles all the way around overhead, from a back-carrying position to a front carrying position. The right arm is just following the body in front, then circles down and overhead at the end. Just watch the video (slow motion: use the gear symbol to select .25 speed).

She stands up in the right leg, swinging both arms in a clockwise (to her) circle, steps back with the left and then the right, dips, and swings both the right arm and the right leg across the front of her body as shown below. Finally! She takes the sword.

plum-qishi4c

She then steps right and left and pivots on her toes. While turning she slashes down in back, high in front and around behind her. She steps back with the left and stabs overhead like this:

plum-qishi5

That’s 53 seconds. What an opening. I’ll try to learn it before next week.

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