An anonymous reader writes:
“I am thinking about purchasing a sword and learning a sword form, but I have some questions that I haven’t been able to get a clear answer on. What size should your sword be? How heavy should your sword be, and why? And finally, how fast should the sword form be? I’ve seen sword forms done at all different speeds, and this seems strange to me.”
The answer to the first part of the question is that it should be measured to you It should run from your tan t’ien, which is about an inch below your navel, to the floor.
Your sword should feel light in your hand. I only recommend heavy swords in correction for those who are using their hands and wrists to control the sword. If that is the case, they need a sword so heavy that they cannot control it, and then they have no choice but to do the form by pushing the sword and following it, and using the waist. Which is how the sword form should be done. But if you do not have a tendency to control the sword with your hand and wrist, lighter is always better – it will help you develop sensitivity in a way you cannot with a heavy sword.
The sword form is learned at a slow speed, like the speed at which you do the T’ai Chi form. However, in correction you learn it again, in a different way, and at a differenet speed. You push the sword and follow it, and move at the appropriate speed of the movement, or the momentum of your sword. This requires you to develop a sensitivity to your sword. It is often where people start to see the light in Tai Chi.
In Tai Chi,