Sword Play

The Chinese word for sword play is 剑法 Jiànfǎ. I’ve seen more than one list of sword fighting techniques; they vary according to style. I just recently found a really interesting video on Wudang Tai Chi sword applications by Master Yuan Xiu Gang.


Master Yuan lists thirteen essential sword fighting techniques: Pi 劈, Ci 刺, Liao 撩, Sao 扫, Tiao 挑, Gua 挂, Dian 点, Hua 划, Jiao 搅, Mo 抹, Jie 截, Beng 崩, and Ti 提. English translations of these terms of art are, respectively, chop, stab,lift, sweep, jump, hang, point, slash, stir, smear, intercept collapse, and lift.

A tutorial on Tai Chi Sword Basics by Master Huaicheng Lu is very helpful. He says there are more than twenty sword fighting techniques, but he covers only twelve. His list includes some of those mentioned above–dian, liao, pi, mo, jie, ci, and sao–plus 拦 lan (block), 斩 zhan (sever, behead), 削 xiao (an upward cut or slash), 云 yun, and 穿 chuan (pierce).


The sword form Master Huaicheng Lu demonstrates is 42-sword, the combination form. The video has an English voiceover.

In Chen Ziqiang’s instructional video for Chen style sword, he lists nine sword fighting techniques: Pi 劈 (chop), Ci 刺 (stab), Liao 撩 (lift), Sao 扫 (sweep), Gua 挂 (hang), Dian 点 (point), Tuo 托 (support), Jia 架 (prop), and Beng 崩 (collapse).

Yet another list (from an earlier post) adds 带 Dai (carry), 抽 Chou (withdraw), 击 Ji (hit), 格 Ge (block–not sure how/if this is different from lan), 洗 Xi  (clear off), and 压 Ya (press). So that’s more than twenty altogether.

1 thought on “Sword Play

  1. Pingback: 42-Sword Names | Tai Chi Notebook

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