Word Count: 401
Tai Chi Sword
Summary: The Tai Chi Sword art prominent use is now through sport competition.
There are several weapons employed in Tai Chi Chuan. Students may use a Chang, or spear; sometimes, staffs are preferred instead. Another choice is the Tao, which is a large one edged broad sword, much like a cutlass or a Saracen scimitar. And there is the Chien, a straight, double edged sword. Of the three, many Tai Chi practitioners consider the Tai Chi Sword as the deadliest weapon. It's lightweight enough to afford speed and quick flourishes; the long blade gives the user maximum reach without sacrificing its lethality and the flexibility of its blade can be very misleading to an opponent.
Tai Chi Sword Art, or the Wushu, is often jealously guarded in Tai Chi history. Masters may teach students the Tao or the Chang, but rarely would they teach Chien. It is because the strongest combat element of the Tai Chi art lies in this sword-art form. Today however, most teachers allow students to begin learning the Tai Chi Sword after learning the basic Tai Chi forms. It is because the decreasing effectiveness of this art. But, as the masters tend to argue, there are times when the need to defend arises, and there's nothing aside from things normally available in any situation such as umbrellas and walking sticks. They point that should that time comes, knowledge in Tai Chi Sword forms could be an immense help. The concept of Tai Chi Sword Art is the study of the forms and its application, and not of the weapon itself.
The Tai Chi Sword Art's prominent use is now through sport competition, much to the consternation of traditionalists. They have complained the fact that the Tai Chi Sword Art has become more flamboyant than being functional, the graceful and flowing manner had instead degraded into more like a dance than a maneuver, emphasizing more on gracefulness than of martial energy. The Tai Chi Sword form has many subtle techniques that aren't employed in tournaments since pretty wrist movement scores higher with the judges than the subtle flicks of the wrist. This effect, divergent sword-using sects have formed: those who do Tai Chi Sword Art as martial arts, those who do it as a dance, and those who do Tai Chi Sword Art as both.