Info on Yangshi Taiji Dao

Discussion of Chinese historical swordsmanship from all styles.

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ynze
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Info on Yangshi Taiji Dao

Post by ynze » Fri May 30, 2008 12:49 pm

Hello,

I would like to now more about the Taiji Dao form I am practicing. Apart from a few threads here on the forum, and a small article in our Dutch Taiji Magazine I can't find anything.

Is there really so little info or am I not looking properly. If anybody has anything to share I would be grateful.

Thanx Ynze

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Linda Heenan
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Post by Linda Heenan » Fri May 30, 2008 5:30 pm

Hello, how far have you got so far? I'm interested too and working on it as well. I've read back through your previous threads. From what I can see, you know the form and something of the basic cuts. Is your interest in developing skill in dao swordsmanship? And if so, what have you learnt so far?

ynze
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Post by ynze » Mon Jun 02, 2008 1:51 pm

Hello, how far have you got so far?
Well as I wrote it's hardly anything. I think the author of the article got his info from Mr. Rodell. If you want I can make a summary of the article in english.
I'm interested too and working on it as well. I've read back through your previous threads. From what I can see, you know the form and something of the basic cuts. Is your interest in developing skill in dao swordsmanship? And if so, what have you learnt so far?
Yes I want to learn more and develop some skils in Daofa.
Unfortunately I've just started and there is much I need to learn. For at the same time I'm developing my skills in pushing hands and qigong. But I have stil a long way to go.
At this moment there is a little group in Holland that comes together aprox. once per month to practise what is beeing tauht in the workshops of Mr Rodell.

So all in all (I've followed your threads aswell) I think there is more that I can learn from you, then you from me. But who knows.

kind regards Ynze

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Post by Linda Heenan » Mon Jun 02, 2008 4:25 pm

I truly don't know more than you but we probably know different bits, and others out there will know some as well, so if we all share it, we'll get better.

Yes, please translate that article.

When I find it again, I'm going to post a link to an article about how European style reenacters bring back things from the past.

For a start, let's take a look at the form and isolate high, middle and low guards. If anyone has already done that, please post it, preferably with photos :)

ynze
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Post by ynze » Thu Jun 05, 2008 12:15 pm

Ok I will do my best, but I need a little bit of time since I have some other projects going on. As soon as it is translated I will post it here.

regards Ynze

ynze
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article on dao

Post by ynze » Sun Jun 15, 2008 10:11 am

OK Here it is. Mind you I'm not a linguist.:wink:

This is a translation of an article, written by Epi van der Pol in the Dutch Taiji-Vizier of December 2007.

The Dao form, taught by Scott Rodell in his workshop last November, is up until now the oldest written Dao form on paper dating 1925 or 1926. It is from the Yang family lineage but still an army drill. TT Liang has taught the same form (though slightly different) as shown on the DVD from Paul Gallagher. The set consists of 13 basic cuts performed in alternating directions.

In the past the Dao was mainly used in the army where soldiers would stand side by side in lines facing the enemy. Fancy moves, as in many wushu forms, were deadly for your colleagues beside and behind you. Before you there’s the enemy that must be killed or stopped as simple and efficient as possible.
The Dao was handed out to common foot-soldiers who went through a short training since they were only draughted at the last moment in times of emergency. Only after ranks were broken and the enemy is waving his arms al around you the soldier can freely wield his weapon with big moves etc. That is to say just for a few seconds, because that’s how long he will last in a situation where striking might jam the weapon and missing meant opening up to an attack. No matter how, there was always someone at your back.
Simplicity and strength is what characterizes the Dao. A firm grip and the possibility to support the back of the blade with the other hand while “Hsing-I –ish” stepping in with the rear foot to give extra power to the strike.
Besides cutting, percussion is important to wipe the, mostly harnessed, foe from his feet. Most strokes are done while not stepping in a straight line to the opponent but under a slight angle in order to gain more space to freely wield the Dao and to prevent the enemy to stop the strike in an early stage by grabbing the hand or handle.
The Dao is used with big moves using elbows and shoulder but as always driven by the tantien. The Jian stands for precision with a rounder handle that allows for movements from the wrist and needed long periods of training to gain sufficient skill. It was useful for duels without much of the protective clothing from the battlefields. The Dao was made for the battlefield and cavalry. Through its curved form it is not ideal for stabbing. There are only two stabbing moves in the form. Once to go under the throat protection and then glide upwards toward the throat. Therefore it must posses a slight upward movement, something that is wrong for the Jian.

The army drill form has received some a-typical characteristics for the army through the Yang family. Such as: striking on one leg or beat the tiger with the Dao cradled in the arm. Nevertheless it is the oldest recorded Dao form and as such offers probably the most historical accurate Dao movements.




From the DVD by Paul Gallagher comes a song of the form with it’s typical chinese poetical descriptions:

1. Beginning Form
2. Step Up To Form Seven Stars
3. Turn Left To Form Seven Stars
4. White Crane Cools Wings
5. Wind Rolls Up The Lotus Flower
6. Open Window To Gaze At The Moon
7. Left Underhand Cut
8. Right Underhand Cut
9. Open Window To Gaze At The Moon
10. Jade Maiden Threads The Shuttle
11. Lion Rolls Ball
12. Open Window To Gaze At The Moon
13. Great Snake From The Wild Regions Winds Around The Body
14. Left Shaving Stroke
15. Right Fanning Stroke
16. Open Window To Gaze At The Moon
17. Turn Around And Conceal Weapon
18. Underhand Cut
19. Capturing Knife
20. Underhand Cut
21. Double Kick
22. Retreat Step, Beat The Tiger
23. Stand On One Leg Like A Mandarin Duck
24. Great Snake From The Wild Regions Winds Around The Body
25. Drift With The Current
26. Turn Around And Conceal Weapon
27. Step Up, Underhand Cut
28. Leap Over The Dragon Gate
29. Powerfull Stroke Splits Mount Hua
30. Pull In Knife, Then Trust
31. Reverse Body, Step Up And Chop
32. Phoenix Returns To Nest

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Documentation

Post by Linda Heenan » Wed Jun 18, 2008 3:56 am

And here are the links to the articles I mentioned above. This is a recognised method of documenting things from the past for reenactment purposes. There are some good tips for our research in restoring swordsmanship styles. We are fortunate that the best source we have is forms and teaching passed down through a line of students.

http://members.ozemail.com.au/~rcull/doco_pt1.htm

http://members.ozemail.com.au/~rcull/doco_pt2.htm

http://members.ozemail.com.au/~rcull/doco_pt3.htm

Okay .... so these articles are are about reproducing period clothing, artefacts etc .... The point is, if we are to restore something not commonly used anymore, we should investigate all available resources before we "just make it up".

Having said that, the form is a rich source of information for restoration of swordsmanship in that style. Has anyone worked out the main guards yet? If not, I'll put some up in a week or so.

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High Guards

Post by Linda Heenan » Sun Jun 22, 2008 7:54 pm

A guard, or ward, is a position that can be held in readiness for either defense or attack. It's a threatening or protective position. When I look at the Dao Form, I see many possibilities for converting positions into swordsmanship. The three I have taken here are just a few of the possibilities for high guards.

I hopethat those reading this will understand we're just having a go at working things out here, since no one with more experience has come forward yet. All of this is open to critique and question, and to better information. This is just somewhere to start.

High Guard 1

This is a deflection position from the form which could be used as a guard. Typically, the curve of the blade, which is now facing upward, would be turned for a thrust under the chin. When used as a guard, this position has multitudes of other possibilities.

Image

High Guard 2

This is one of the possibilities for high guard positions and is taken from a wrap into Shan. It can be used with either foot forward depending on what you want to do with the strike and timing. It needs to cover the body and I think a better angle to the one I'm demonstrating would have the blade almost diagonally across my face, but without impeding vision.

Image

High Guard 3

This is taken from the same wrap movement as the previous guard, further into the movement. It's a fairly typical high guard many styles would use. Further along in the form there is a running step that swings the sword overhead into a low cut. I'll freeze the action on this one when I get to it, and create another version of this third high guard, but with the blade high in the air rather than down the back.

Image

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Post by Dan Pasek » Mon Jun 23, 2008 1:42 pm

The current issue of “T’ai Chi” magazine (Vol. 32, No. 3) has a good article on Taiji dao, by Zhang Yun. Although a Wu stylist, his information specifically applies to both Yang and Wu styles and their version of the dao with the s-shaped guard and ring pommel. He gives the Chinese characters for 32 dao techniques along with the Pinyin and English terms, and short but clear descriptions of the techniques (which would be of interest to practitioners of any style). Also included is a figure with the Chinese characters for the various parts of the dao, including the Pinyin and English for them.

Zhang Yun is my favorite Taijiquan author and I highly recommend the article. There are only a few minor details that I think may be questionable, e.g. that the dao is less sharp at the middle edge than at the tip. This reflects a topic of uncertainty regarding the sharpness of the jian, and is probably not something that can be resolved since it is unlikely that we would be able to examine 19th c. or earlier dao (or jian) in their original polish (and sharpness) to determine the relative sharpness of the various regions of their edges. But, if I have it correct (as Scott and others have pointed out), there is no physical characteristic of the blade that would prevent it from being sharpened to the same degree as the tip for the entire length of the blade, and no apparent reason why one would not want the middle of the dao to be as sharp as the tip.

Dan

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Post by Linda Heenan » Mon Jun 23, 2008 4:17 pm

Is there someone on this forum who has a Paypal account and is willing to pick up a copy of that magazine for me before they disappear from the shelves? I'd very much like to have one. I can send you the money for the magazine and the postage by Paypal. Bank drafts are too expensive.

Linda

Edit: Someone has now offered to do this. My thanks to G-man :)

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