Second lesson with my student on straight sword partner practice. Didn’t understand why one of his movements in the form changed so walked him through it again from the perspective of using the movement as a response to an attack.
Emphasized that one can move too much when countering which can give the opponent another opportunity to continue his attack. The thing about countering is to close off the space that is being attacked whilst taking the opportunity to quickly attack the opponent’s space what has just opened up as a consequence of him trying to attack you. In fact, if you do it right your counterattack will be instantaneous and give little time for the opponent to counter.
I also brought up the matter of not trying to run around the opponent because there is little advantage to do so and doing so can open one up to being cornered. The root cause here is the lack of sensitivity in handling the straight sword. The point is that the straight sword is not a power weapon so even if you hold it strongly it will never be as powerful as a broadsword or a pole.
This led to a short discourse on the art of holding the sword and how to hold it so that it can respond better to changes in speed, angle, timing etc. I also mentioned the little trick to stabilizing the sword when one needs to do power cuts.
In TaijiKinesis Vol 2 I wrote about the use of the 5-Count. This is also relevant here and proper holding of the straight sword will allow you to avail yourself to this mechanism and its use in partner practice.
Finally, I touched on the notion of the hand being the sword and vice versa. This can help one to understand the use of emptyhand techniques. I used lines on the floor to explain how the use of straight sword footwork can bring one instantly into the desired position using what many perceived as useless footwork. The truth is that any movement is useless is not trained properly. Through partner practice we can eventually understand the form better and discover that it has its place in the study of Tai Chi Chuan.