Taijijian (simplified Chinese: 太极剑; traditional Chinese: 太極劍; pinyin: tàijíjiàn; literally: "Taiji Sword") is a straight two-edged sword used in the training of the Chinese martial art Taijiquan. The straight sword, sometimes with a tassel and sometimes not, is used for upper body conditioning and martial training in traditional Taijiquan schools. The different family schools have various warmups, forms and fencing drills for training with the jian.
Historical use of jian in Taijiquan
The Yang and Wu families were involved in Qing dynasty military officer training, and taught jian technique to their students. Traditional Taijijian forms are rooted in martial application, and are thus originally designed to make use of the weapons available at the time of their development. As there was no historical jian type created specifically for taijiquan, the forms were designed around the use a functional jian of the day, being of appropriate weight, balance, sharpness and resilience to be effective in armed combat.
A lighter version of the traditional sword and theatrical versions of traditional sword forms are also used in the "taijiquan" routines of wushu curriculum. The wushu sword is a narrow, double-edged Chinese jian with a thin blade designed to make noise when it is shaken by the competitor during competition and a tassel is always attached to the pommel. The jian variants used for taijijian wushu display or as training tools in modern day martial arts schools often have properties that render them unsuitable for historically accurate combat. These properties, such as extreme blade thinness or a high degree of flexibility compared to historical battlefield quality jian, are intended to add auditory and visual appeal to a wushu performance.
- Wu Kung-tsao (1980 Chinese, 2006 English). Wu Family T'ai Chi Ch'uan (吳家太極拳). 鑑泉太極拳社 Hong Kong, Toronto ISBN 0-9780499-0-X.
- Wile, Douglas (1995). Lost T'ai-chi Classics from the Late Ch'ing Dynasty (Chinese Philosophy and Culture). State University of New York Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-2654-8.
- Scott M. Rodell (2003). Chinese Swordsmanship: The Yang Family Taiji Jian Tradition. Seven Stars Books and Video. ISBN 0-9743999-0-6.
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