Since ancient times, Wudang Mountain has always been benchmark for Chinese sword practice. Wudang sword is considered to be one of Wudang internal arts three patrimonies, these being Neidan (inner elixir), Taijiquan (Tai Chi) and Jian (Sword).
Wudang sword has a special similarity with other styles or systems practiced in the mountains, all of them with internal character, which avoid direct confrontations with opponents and basing their strategy in anticipation, speed, attacks in circular movements and opponent's power absorption to avoid force against force confrontation, diverting and redirecting blow before going offense.
Wudang sword management aims to protect essence, nourish energy and calm spirit, puts intention and energy as a priority to develop to its maximum eye movements, hand techniques, stepwork and general body structure. During practice, power comes from Dantian, body energetic center, because body mechanical power is always born from waist. Through waist, force transmission is much greater, while if instead emphasis is placed on strength of arms, never reaching true goal. If energy does not sink with Dantian, muscle excesse strength will wear off energy, fatigue will increase more quickly and balance will become unstable.
In general Wudang sword avoids direct confrontation and circulates around other weapons blows much heavier and stronger. It is wrapped by cuts and lunges in enemies body, instead of seeking opponent's weapons direct blocking. These cuts and lunges end up by forcing oppositor to stop fight due to wounds. In this context it is a weapon much more technical and nobler than saber, which defines most of its attacks in cuts to slice directly to opponents.
As General Li Jinglin, famous Wudang sword master, said in one of his writings: "The key in sword practice is body moving like a dragon swimming, never ending at its end"
In Wudang sword technique, movement originates in feet, transmitted by waist and expressed through wrist, causing at sword point a whip action that penetrates target and instantly rebounds backwards quickly. Body moves like a dragon and sword moves like lightning. Feet movement is agile and body movement is soft and flexible. These characteristics are defined with expressions such as "Taiji in waist and Bagua in feet". Sword work involves extending field of our essence (Jing) beyond our body.
In combat application intention is to follow opponent's strenght flow, borrow their power, remain calm to wait for opponent movement and being last to initiate the attack, but attack before the opponent arrives. At attack time, spirit guides practitioner to draw sword boldly and directly, like an arrow when being fired towards a target. An important point to take into account when starting practice in couples is to know Tuishou principles to get feel, yield, neutralize, lead, link, guide, follow, absorb and deflect opposite sword.
For a correct work in sword handling, in first place, it is necessary to form external requirements: eyes, body, work and step work. Secondly form internal requirements: develop value, power, speed, and calmness. Adapt to each stage of learning, first looking for skill through most extensive and forced movements and then develop technique by debugging finer details.
There is a proverb in Chinese martial arts that says: "To be skilled in saber techniques requires 100 days, to be skilled in spear techniques requires 1000 days, to be skilled in the straight double-edged sword, 10,000 days will not be enough" Good Wudang swordsman certainly illustrates result of practicing more than 100,000 times.
© Alex Mieza ‘Zī Xiǎo’ (资晓)
16th Generation Wudang Sanfeng Pai
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