Wudang Tai Chi Videos

Here’s an additional (and excellent!) resource for the combined Wudang (49-step)Tai Chi Sword form: an instructional video in two parts on YouTube, with Li De Yin teaching and his daughter Faye Li Yip demonstrating.

Master Faye Yip demonstrating

Master Faye Yip demonstrating Pu Bu Chuan Jian

The videos are 45-50 minutes long, each covering about half of the form. The second video includes the optional flourishes that can follow #36, gong bu gua pi.

Master Faye Yip Videos

I came across some new (to me) videos of Master Faye Li Yip. Excellent! The first is Tai Chi sword. It’s made up of several clips, the first of which looks like 42-sword, but most of it is Wudang Tai Chi sword. Beautiful!

Master Faye Li Yip

Master Faye Li Yip-Tai Chi sword

The other two are both Fan Form II, both beautiful performances (and great uniforms, especially the pink and black).


Faye2The video on the left was posted on the Deyin Institute Facebook page (like it!) on August 11, 2015 with lyrics to Xi Yang Mei, which turns out to be all about China’s martial arts (“crouching like a bow,
standing like a pine”). Translation by John Fairbairn.

I tend to consider Master Faye’s demonstrations of this form definitive, seeing as her father created the form. A third video of this form, also by Faye Yip, can be found on the page for Fan Form II.

Wudang Tai Chi Sword

I’ve posted on this form more than a dozen times. Pulling it all together now: This is a combined form with elements of both Wudang and Tai Chi sword. That is, it combines postures from the traditional Wudang sword routine with movements in the traditional Yang style Tai Chi sword form.

Master Liang's video is excellent.

Master Liang’s video is excellent.

Three YouTube videos were helpful to me in learning the form:

In addition, Jesse Tsao’s instructional video is invaluable for the excellent demonstration, for learning the names of the movements, getting the details right, and for multiple views of the form both front and back.

Best resource: Master Tsao's video

Best resource: Master Tsao’s video

Here is the List of names in Chinese (both characters and Pinyin). My friend and teacher Long Feng, who introduced me to the form and provided the essential in-person teaching time, uses a recording of some wild, tribal-sounding music that includes the names. I haven’t found this recording anywhere in the Web–don’t even know where to look. But if you can find it, it’s fun to do the form with the names. I like it better than the music in any of the videos I’ve seen.

The 49 steps in Standardized Wudang Sword form, handwritten

The 49 steps in Wudang Tai Chi Sword form, handwritten

I worked my way through Master Tsao’s instructions and posted notes on each of the eight lessons. I don’t know if these notes help anyone but me, but they are here:

Wudang Sword Notes: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8

All posts on this form are tagged Wudang Sword. And finally, below, click to see the traditional Wudang sword form for comparison. Exciting form, that! looks hard.

Ba Duan Jin 2

The third exercise is Separate Heaven and Earth in English, a pretty far cry from the Chinese: tiáo lǐ pí wèi dān jǔ shǒu.  Tiao is harmonize or reconcile; li is put in order; pi is spleen; wei is stomach; dan is single or sole; ju is yet another word for lift or hold up. Hold up one hand to harmonize spleen and stomach, in other words.

In this one, one hand is raised, palm up, and the other extends down, palm-down. Then the upper hand is spirals down and the lower hand spirals up along the centerline of the body. At about stomach level, the hands pass, the rising hand palm-up, lowering hand palm-down as in the video by Faye Yip, at about the four-minute mark.


Exercise four has a charming English name: the Wise Owl Gazes Backwards. The Chinese is wǔ láo qī shāng xiàng hòu qiáo, which when I look up each word comes out to something like “five work seven upwards towards behind look.” Rashka translates as “Look backward to eliminate five fatigues and seven illnesses.”

Sink down with both arms lowered, both hands facing back. Then open the arms to the left rotating the hands and arms all the way outward, so palms face up as shown.



Also turn the head all the way to the side. Notice that Master Yip does not turn at the waist. This is a stretch of the neck. Keep the head upright and suspended. Return to starting position. Repeat on the other side. Do both sides four times, alternating.

Wudang Notes 8

Last section. We ended in ding bu ci jian. As best I can tell, the blade is edgewise–that is, its edge is perpendicular to the ground, so the back of the hand faces to the right.

45. Ding bu bao jian: Hold Sword in T-Stance. Step back to the left, from left ding bu to right ding bu. At the same time, beng jian to the embracing sword position as shown below.


46. Xing bu chuan jian: Bagua Walking with Piercing Sword. Turn the sword over, counterclockwise from palm-up to palm-down and block away. At the same time start walking (1) right (2) left (3) right in a circle. Block away with left hand on forearm on (1). Open arms on (2) and (3). On the fourth step (which is on the left) close the arms, stabbing under the left arm, across the ribs–chuan–which is palm-up. On the fifth step, which completes the circle, open the arms, still holding the sword palm-up.

He has just stabbed across his body to the left.

He has just stabbed across his body to the left–chuan jian.

47. Kou jian ping ma: Cover Sword and Spread Flat. Kou is fasten or button, ma is wipe. On the sixth step, turn the left foot in and face front. Step back (7) on the right foot and adjust the left foot to Xu bu. On 7, also make a counterclockwise circle with the wrist to turn the sword over, pulling back and down with both hands (like before the jump, teng kong tiao ci).


48. Bing bu ping ci: feet together level stab. This is a repeat of White Ape Offers Fruit, aka the Compass.


49. Shou Shi: Step left and reach under with the left palm up, thumb to the right. Step right, left hand high, right low. Bring up the left foot, left hand down, right high. Close form.

Wudang Notes 7

The next to last section is only six moves, and begins at the 2:05 mark on the YouTube video (which cuts away from the demo before this section is finished). From the second xie bu, we finished in cha bu, palm-down.


39. Xu bu bao jian: Hold Sword in Empty Stance. Step back to the left and slash left with the sword. He changes from palm-down to palm-up just before the sword passes in front of his face. The movement in front of the face is a lot like the yang shen in an earlier move (yang shen jia jian), except he leans away to the right, as shown above. He finishes as shown below (and as described by the name of the move).


40. Cha bu ping dai: Cross and Carry Sword Flat. He says to diagonally fly, and that’s exactly how this move begins. I also know this from Yang sword as Phoenix Spreads Wings. But that’s just the first part of the movement. Below, he diagonally flies.


Slash back, still palm-up (left crosses chest), then turn palm-down to finish in cha bu with the left leg in back. On that last slash back, lift the hilt and circle counterclockwise to finish as below.


41. Gong bu ping beng: Flick Sword in Bow Stance (these are the English names that Master Tsao gives–his own translation, I think). He scoops into crosshands standing up on the left leg and lifting the right knee. As he uncoils, he bends pretty deep so he’s opening up palm-down. Below, I’ve tried to catch him right before he flicks the sword–still palm-down.


He flicks (beng) to palm-up (gets a pretty good snap!) and finishes in bow stance, as shown below.


42. Ti xi dian jian: Lift Right Knee with Pecking Sword. Turn, as in zhuan shen, and do this:


43. Cha bu fan liao: Back Slash in Cross Stance. Repeat move number 7!


44. Ding bu ci jian: Thrust Sword in T-Stance. Step left right to left ding bu, stabbing forward as shown above. That is Master Liang. Reviewing that video now, I see that the flourish he adds to gong bu gua pi is even more elaborate than the optional version Master Tsao demonstrates. Check it out!

Wudang Notes 6

This section (which starts at about 1:45 on the YouTube video) includes the two xie bu and, between them, three moves that are straight out of 32-sword. This section also includes an optional flourish in the middle of the wheeling movement, gong bu gua pi.


33. Xie bu ya jian: Press Down in Resting Stance. From the Xia Ci, shift left and slice left. The left hand circles in, then around to press down on the sword in xie bu (right foot in front).


34. Xu bu dian jian: The charming traditional name for this move is Heavenly Horse Flies Across Sky. Stand up on the right leg, step left to right xu bu. Just like 32-sword.


35. Du li tuo jia: Lift Curtain on One Leg. Also straight out of 32-sword. Block to the left, circle down in a squat (shown above), turn and stand up on the right leg. In du li shown below, the left hand touches the arm and the sword is parallel to the ground.


36. Gong bu gua pi: Cutting in Bow Stance. The simplest version of this move is to wheel the sword left and step straight into the finishing position shown below.


Optional flourish: Wheel the sword first left (on left foot), then right (on right foot), and leap to the position shown below.


The leap (which is between 1:55 and 2:00 on the video) is from right foot to left foot, and the right crosses behind the left, as shown above. From there, unwind and chop down to the finishing position.

Second xie bu with right foot crossed behind

Second xie bu with right foot crossed behind

37. Xie bu hou jian: Thrust Backward in Resting Stance.Draw the sword back to take this position. For the second xie bu the right foot crosses behind, and instead of pressing down on the sword, stab backward (hou means back) as shown.


38. Cha bu yun zhan: Cut Flat in Cross Stance. Step out to the right, sword following (palm up), then shift back to the left to circle the sword in front of the face (yun), as shown above, and chop to the right (zhan). Finish palm down, in cha bu (right foot crossed behind), left warding off high, sword pointing up (below).