Dao Cuts

Discussion of Chinese historical swordsmanship from all styles.

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Linda Heenan
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Dao Cuts

Post by Linda Heenan » Fri Jul 13, 2007 3:59 pm

I'm just back from the Swordplay Festival in Estonia. It was a wonderful time and will take some time to process and assimilate all of the information.

At the Festival we learnt a Dao form. I'm coming close to having the sequence of movements memorised and am now ready to work on the cuts themselves. Here are some questions about them:

Which of the cuts are suitable for trying on bottles? We learnt Hua with the blade parallel to the ground, Jie, Lan, a backwards cut I don't remember the name of,following the first Lan, Shan, Lu, Gua, Liao, Kan, Duo (I think), and there was a sequence of cuts near the end I may have missed some names on.

Questions for Scott Laoshi:
Have I missed some of the names of the cuts?
Which are suitable for practise cutting on bottles?
Since, as you told me, Lan is an interception, how else does it differ from Kan?
Is Shan always horizontal, in that form and in real use outside of it? Does it ever angle upwards or downwards in application?

There will be more questions as I begin to process this new information and build it into my practise. These will do for now.

Thanks to Scott Laoshi for all your good teaching at the Festival. Also thanks to Hendrik, Albert, and Seth.
Last edited by Linda Heenan on Mon Jul 16, 2007 1:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Dao Cuts

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Sun Jul 15, 2007 8:51 am

Linda Heenan wrote:Which are suitable for practise cutting on bottles?
Depending on how you cut, all. The difference will be in whether you perform the cuts in a more percussive manner, as it is in the Yangshi Taiji Dao form you learned at the Swordplay Festival, or with more of a slicing action. If you want to practice on bottles, keep your feet stationary & apply drawing action to the blade as you cut. When your skill has advanced, you can practice cutting an armored dummy with the precussive cuts. But be warned, this quite dangerous & should not be attempted by beginners or even most intermediate students.

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Post by Linda Heenan » Sun Jul 15, 2007 5:13 pm

Thank you, Laoshi. I intend training those cuts along with practising this form. Some have asked me to share a written version of the movements with them, so rather than do it individually, I'm putting it here. This way people who know it better can add corrections and clarifications to the list. People who have forgotten, might remember the form, and we have a numbered reference to whichever movement we are discussing. I have many questions on form details and hope anyone who knows it well will be able to answer.

Yangshi Taiji Dao

1. Ready
2. Step shoulder width, turn in left foot, turn right foot on the heel
3. Step right, deflect, kick and punch
4. Turn to left cardinal, right hand up in stop position
5. Step forward and kick, punch
5a Left foot on toe at ankle, right hand up in knife edge
6. Change hands. Cross left foot in front of right and turn clockwise, cutting as you go
7. Deflect/taitui/Hua
8. Deflect, Jie
9. Sink back, deflect, Gua
10. Deflect, Hua (blade down and hand supporting the wrist)
11. Deflect, suibu into Jie
12. Cut Lan and a backward cut
13. Sink back, wrap, Hua
14. Deflect, change legs, Ci
15. Deflect, Shan (fanning) right
16. Deflect to the tight side, Shan left
17. Deflect, Shan right
18. Deflect, suibu into Jie
19. Turn into taitui, Lu (claw down), sink into front leg and Pu
20. Sink back, Gua
21. Shan (3X Shan/Gua)
22. Jie
23. Turn to the rear cardinal - taitui/Lu/Pu
24. Liao, Pi, Pu (2x)
25. Liao for a third time and cut to the left, rear diagonal with Kan
26. Sink forward, turn dao out, change hands
27. Step, double kick
28. Beat the Tiger (3x)
29. Sword back in right hand - Lan, wrap, Kan, Gua, cross body with blade turned away
30. Deng (heel kick)
31. Step forward into Jie
32. Turn backwards, wrap, Lu, Pu
33. Deflect into Gua, Stepping forward with the right leg
*Deflect to left rear, diagonal, step forward & Jie, 3X
Then turn, Liao

34. 2 steps into Duo
35. Kan, deflect, kick to power the Zha
36. "Cartwheel" Duo
37. Shan to the right
38. Wrap into the finish, move the right leg in during the wrap.

* Linda, you got some repetitions here. -SMR
Last edited by Linda Heenan on Wed Jul 18, 2007 4:15 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: Dao Cuts

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Mon Jul 16, 2007 8:35 am

Linda Heenan wrote:... At the Festival we learnt a Dao form...
Those interested in an instructional video of the Yangshi Taijidao form please see:
http://totaltaichi.com/audio.html

Paul Gallagher is my senior classmate under TT Liang & teaches this (& other forms) in his video: TAIJI WEAPONS--CANE, SABER, AND DOUBLE EDGED SWORD.

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Thank you Linda

Post by Seth Davis » Mon Jul 16, 2007 11:10 am

Hi Linda, thank you for posting the dao form. It was great to meet you and practice with you at the festival. I am looking forward to seeing you at future events.

Take care and keep up the good work!!!

Seth
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Post by Linda Heenan » Mon Jul 16, 2007 1:59 pm

Thanks for the DVD link, Laoshi. I, for one will make good use of that, and have already made an order enquiry. It was a priviledge to be taught the dao form and not easy to pick it all up from a few lessons. I'm excited about continuing to study and improve my understanding.

Seth, it was good to meet you too. Yes, I'll be at as many future events as my circumstances allow. It has made a big difference physically being part of the wider school, and not just by internet correspondence. I'd like to encourage anyone who is in a small group, or alone, to take advantage of these opportunities. It's important to know where we fit in in the overall scheme of things, to interact with other students of all levels, etc - a life changing experience and something I think every distance student must do.

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Which leg forward?

Post by Linda Heenan » Wed Jul 18, 2007 1:03 pm

While I'm waiting for someone to respond to my DVD order, here's a question:

In the movements that have the Lu (claw down), hide the dao, Pu strike - 19, 23, 32; and the Liao, Pi, Pu sequences - 24 ..... there is a sink into the front leg. Is this a bow stance? Also, is the same leg forward in all of these movements? Which one? Left?

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Re: Which leg forward?

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Thu Jul 19, 2007 10:05 am

Linda Heenan wrote:... the movements that have the Lu (claw down)... Is this a bow stance?... same leg forward in all of these movements?...
Yes, the Bow Posture (with 70% of the weight in the foot leg) is used in all the postures, including, Turn the Body Hide the Dao. In that movement, the right leg is always forward in this form.

Here's a photo of T.T. Liang in a prefect Bow Posture, note the knee is directly over the toe in a vertical line.

Image

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Kicks

Post by Linda Heenan » Fri Jul 20, 2007 11:18 pm

Thank you for the picture. That makes it very easy to understand.
Also, thank you, Laoshi, for the corrections to the form up above.

The next question is about kicks during the form. There are 5, as I see it:

1&2. The first two are at the beginning (3 and 5). They come under the sword, together with a punch. Are the deflecting arm with the sword, and the kicking leg, on the same diagonal, or do the two hands and the leg take 3 different lines? Also, what sort of a kick is this one? Does it rise straight from the hip in one movement, or is it a two movement kick - raise thigh with knee bent and then kick out from there? Is it a toe kick or a heel kick, or something else?

3. The next kick is at (27) - step, double kick. This launches with the step, from the right leg. the left leg seems to rise with the thigh parallel to the ground, and the right leg kicks while the left is still in the air. Since it is called a double kick, do both feet actually kick, or only the right one? If so, what is the target and action of the left leg? Also, what is the target and action of the right kicking leg? Should we be aiming for a specific height and angle? What sort of kicks are they? At what point does the left foot reconnect with the ground?

4. Deng (30) A heel kick. Since this one is fairly easy to see, what is the target? Knowing that will give the height and angle.

5. There is a kick powering a Zha at (35). Again ... what sort of kick? One leg action or two?

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Re: Kicks

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Mon Jul 23, 2007 1:31 pm

Linda Heenan wrote:...question(s) ...:

1&2. The first two are at the beginning (3 and 5)... Are the deflecting arm with the sword, and the kicking leg, on the same diagonal, or do the two hands and the leg take 3 different lines?
They are all to a duifang at the cardinal direction, first to the front, then after you turn to the left, to that cardinal.
Linda Heenan wrote:... what sort of a kick is this one?...
A variation of ti, that's a kick the raises straight up from the group.
Linda Heenan wrote:... a toe kick or a heel kick, or something else?
You can use the toe or turn the foot out & kick with the bottom of the foot if your duifang is closer in.

Linda Heenan wrote: 3. The next kick is at (27) - step, double kick. ... Since it is called a double kick, do both feet actually kick, or only the right one?
Only the right one, hitting with the heel.
Linda Heenan wrote:... what is the target and action of the right kicking leg?
The duifang's heart.
Linda Heenan wrote:... At what point does the left foot reconnect with the ground?
When you land.
Linda Heenan wrote:... 4. Deng (30) A heel kick. Since this one is fairly easy to see, what is the target? ...
The heart.
Linda Heenan wrote:5. There is a kick powering a Zha at (35). Again ... what sort of kick? One leg action or two?
That is a ti kick that comes out with the same jin that powers the zha.

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The wrap movements

Post by Linda Heenan » Thu Jul 26, 2007 1:52 am

Thank you for the information on kicks, Laoshi. I have been practising them and am much more confident with those parts now. I hope this thread is helping others who were at the Festival as well.

My next questions are on the wrap movements:

Are there any pointers you could give us in how to do them correctly? What should we know about the grip as the movement is performed? Does the blade turn as it circles, or does it circle with the flat to the body all the way around?

Now for specific movements in this form ....
13. Sink back, wrap, Hua Am I correct in saying the blade passes around the back of the head from right to left? Is the blade pointing downwards in a fairly vertical position as it turns, or is it angled outwards quite a bit? Does the left hand make the same sort of movements as I see you making in the Shan cut on the cutting DVD on this site?

Is this information the same for 29. Sword back in right hand - Lan, wrap, Kan, Gua, cross body with blade turned away

In this movement 32. Turn backwards, wrap, Lu, Pu , does the wrap go from the opposite direction ie, from left to right around the back of the head?

Can you tell us anything about the last wrap 38. Wrap into the finish, move the right leg in during the wrap? Is the pommel turned down from a position over the left shoulder when putting the dao into the other hand?

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Duo cuts

Post by Linda Heenan » Thu Jul 26, 2007 10:43 pm

While I'm asking questions on the bigger movements in the form, which leg is forward in the two duo cuts? How far above the ground do they finish? What is the position of the left hand in the dao version of duo?

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Duo

Post by Linda Heenan » Tue Jul 31, 2007 4:32 pm

Answering some of these for myself, after various types of research and remembering:

The left leg is forward in both the Duo cuts.

It does not go very low but you lean into it and the blade is horizontal. Since just about everything else in this form is done using bow stance, I deduce the Duo does as well.

In Jian , Duo is a two handed cut. Therefore, Duo in this weapon will also employ both hands. The most obvious place for the second hand seems to be on top of the wrist, both bracing the wrist and powering the cut.

If anyone sees an obvious error, please correct it. Otherwise, I'll check it again after receiving my Paul Gallagher DVD in a week or two.

Linda
Last edited by Linda Heenan on Wed Aug 01, 2007 3:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Duo

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Wed Aug 01, 2007 7:14 am

Linda Heenan wrote:... Duo cuts... does not go as very low but you lean into it and the blade is horizontal. Since just about everything else in this form is done using bow stance, I deduce the Duo does as well.

In Jian , Duo is a two handed cut. Therefore, Duo in this weapon will also employ both hands. The most obvious place for the second hand seems to be on top of the wrist, both bracing the wrist and powering the cut.
Yes the Duo is a two handed cut preformed from a left leg forward bow posture, where the left hand is placed at the back of the right wrist & you bend forward cutting down to waist level.

As a very powerful cut that moves thru a large arc, the Duo is used as a finishing movement, when one knows for certain he or she has the duifang.

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Percussive Blows with Dao

Post by Scott M. Rodell » Fri Dec 28, 2007 7:46 am

Yesterday, I saw for myself how a good shan (fanning) cut can be effective even thru armor. During free swordplay, I slipped thru my duifang's defense & lunged for his throat. We were working at a moderate speed so everyone could work on their technique. My duifang responded by slipping to my right, stepping to the diagonal to deliver a cut across my mid-section, as the tip of my jian slid off the padding at his throat. He caught me flat across the front of my body right below my sternum. Now I was wearing my gambeson, & my duifang was not moving at full speed or using full power, & the power of his blow was spread out across nearly a foot of his blade, but he still knocked the breath half out of me. If it had been a full power blow (& he had avoided my thrust), there's no question in my mind that he would have completely knocked the wind out of me regardless of the fact I was in a thick gambeson.

If we look at the methodology of the dao as expressed in the Yangshi Taiji Dao form, this is exactly the kind of "cutting" employed. That is, percussive blows that are not as effective at actually cutting, but that can deliver a stunning blow, even thru armor.

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