Double Saber Next Moves

Also: English names for all the moves so far. I using the translations from Master Cai’s instructional video, in which the form differs only very slightly from the one we’re learning. We are up to the move called Three Cutting, which is covered at about the 27-minute mark.

The Wild Goose Spreads its Golden Wings

The Wild Goose Spreading its Golden Wings

I don’t have Chinese names (yet!) because they appear only as images of characters, which of course I can’t copy and paste into a dictionary. But the English names for the moves are as follows:

  • The Sun Facing Broadsword
  • The Whole Flowery Circling Broadswords
  • The Sun Facing Broadsword
  • Broadsword Faces the Sun after Cutting Three Times
  • Advance to Cut Once with the Broadsword
  • Three Cutting

The next few moves are as follows:

  • The Wild Goose Spreading its Golden Wings
  • The Solitary Wild Goose Flying Out of the Flock
  • One Broadsword Facing the Sun
  • Arrange Flowers Left
  • Arrange Flowers Right
  • Two Broadswords Facing the Sun

This, by the way, is the end of Section One.

Three cutting, what I call a flurry, is not repeated; it’s just one three-cutting flurry on the left (with a step forward on the left, toe turned out), then two cuts on the right (stepping right, toes turned out).

Then step and turn left and step right to the position shown at the top of this post. This is the Wild Goose Spreading its Wings. The snap is the Solitary Goose Flying Out of the Flock. Note here that in class we do a vertical snap; Master Cai is doing a horizontal snap, as does Chen Zhenglei.

The Solitary Goose Flies Out from the Flock

The Solitary Goose Flying Out of the Flock

For the next move, Master Cai first draws back the right saber, as shown below. Then he cuts right over the right foot, left with the left foot, and turns around into the Sun-Facing position. He executes a simple turn; in class we are adding a “blade-cleaning” flourish.


Next, right and left Arranging Flowers. These are what we call monkey hops that finish with a lunge, as shown below. I notice that he backs up a couple of steps, right left, after the hop (which, if correct, solves a problem for me, getting into the lunge). The sabers circle overhead and cross in front of the chest before opening to the final position below:

Arrange Flowers Left (end position)

Arrange Flowers Left (end position)

Arrange Flowers Right mirrors what he’s just done, except that you have to lift out of a lunge (whereas the first time we stepped out from Xu Bu). Steps are Right, left, right, left, right.


The demo and explanation for this movement starts at 32:30 in the video. Again, the sabers cross in front of the chest, with the right above the left, before opening to the final position.


More Shuang Dao Video

Master Gohring has recorded walk-through video for the Chen Tai Chi Double Saber up through the flurry that we’ve just reached in class. There are six videos in all, links listed below.


Video 1: Opening move to diagonal open chop

Video 2: Second movement through “blade cleaning”

Video 3: Three times jump to kneeling

Video 4: Return to Sun-Facing Broadsword

Video 5: Crossed Sabers Clashing

Video 6: Flurry to parallel stab and fajin

Also available on YouTube is a video of Michael Guidry performing Chen Double Sabers at graduation (he was graduating to fourth degree black sash):


Finally, here a performance of Double Saber recorded at the Legends of Kung Fu tournament (looks like Houston, 2012); I don’t know the performer (but she’s good!).



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 much the way we do for the single saber: step left, step back with the right and step up to right cat stance. Step back with the right and chop right and left with the sabers to reach this position:


I note that Chen Zhenglei steps up with the left, rather than back with the right; then up with the right to right xubu (which we call cat stance).

The position pictures above is called 朝阳, Cháo Yáng, or 朝阳刀, Cháo Yáng Dāo. Chauyang translates as sun-facing or salute the sun. Chauyang dao can be called Sun-Facing Broadsword, and this position, either on the right or the left, recurs throughout this form. 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 全舞花朝阳刀,  Quán Wǔ Huā Cháo Yáng Dāo: The Whole Flowery Circling Broadswords and the Sun-facing Broadsword (I’m taking the English 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.

When Chen Zhenglei does this “washing the blade” movement, he circles the head a second time with each blade. I notice that he adds this, or doesn’t, randomly from one repetition (of the same move) to the next, so I conclude that it’s optional flower.

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:



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.

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.

Double Broadsword

Below: Chen Xiaowang does Chen Double Saber. The video has some distracting background effects, so I’m not using it as a study aid. It appears to have been shot in Chen Village.


This next one is better, although the performer, Chen Su Yang, FLIES. Very fast moving, and look at the size of the flags. He covers what we’ve done so far in class in 15 seconds. This was shot in Chen Village, too. I see variations in all these examples, just in terms of the number of flourishes, or perhaps the number of steps in the Bagua Walking part.


双刀, Shuāng Dāo, is the Chinese for double saber, and Googling that or even double broadsword gets better results than Googling double saber.


Most interesting to me is the above very long instructional video featuring Master Tzu Tian Cai. Part one of two (I haven’t even looked for part two yet), it is almost an hour long. Most of the lengthy (about 7 minutes) intro is in Chinese, but the video clips (of other Chen forms) are entertaining while you wait for the double dao.

The opening of this form is a little different: He does a sort of Buddha Stamp. But from there, at least as far as we have gotten in class, the movements are the same as ours. The form instruction includes English subtitles, and the detail is wonderful. Click on the picture below!



This video doesn’t get down to actual step-by-step instruction until about the 18-minute mark, so it requires patience. It’s worth it! He breaks down both footwork and blades and gives us the names of the movements, too. We’ve done only three or four so far. I’ll write up study notes on all this and post tomorrow.

Chen Double Saber

In addition to Pao Chui, my class will be learning the Chen tai chi double saber form. It’s fairly short, less than three minutes. Here’s a walk-through by Master Gohring of the opening moves.

Opening moves, double saber

Opening moves, double saber

Here’s a demo by Grand Master Chen Zhenglei. The form we are doing in class is slightly different, since Master Gohring learned it from Grandmaster Cheng Jincai, whose Chen Taiji differs from the prevailing style practiced in China today.


A fourth degree student at our school performed double saber at our last black sash graduation. This video of Mr. Guidry differs slightly from what we learned in class; he has added some flourishes.