Monday, October 4, 2010

What Every Tai Chi Student Should Know About Spear

The Chinese Spear is the king of Chinese Weapons. It is considered to be the oldest military weapon in China, and is incorporated into many martial arts forms. When performing a spear set, you are moving your whole body together, coordinating both hands, and upper body and lower body. These movements sound very similar to Tai Chi. When we practice Tai Chi we also move our bodies in unison, coordinating both hands, and upper body and lower body.

Why they are so similar? The answer lies in the fact that many Tai Chi moves originated from spear movements. Many Tai Chi styles such as Chen style also include a spear set, or what is called a “long staff form.” The three basic forms of the spear set are the block, the catch and the stab. We see comparable forms in the Tai Chi set: open, close and release.

A short while ago, I met an old classmate, Ren Yuan Zhen, for lunch. He had studied Tai Chi under my father for a quite a long time. I asked him how things were going in his Tai Chi.

He told me: "I have been practicing some basics, but I have been doing spear stabs three hundred times on each side everyday." He then added: "It’s easy to break the regular spears you get from Chinatown. They are so skinny!"

I agreed: "It’s hard to find a good one with some good weight."

Ren Yuan Zhen had some advice: "I got a long pipe from Home Depot, filled it with sand and I wear gloves when I practice with it. My high blood pressure goes down significantly after practice."

Practicing spear can really help you to have a stable root. It also helps train your whole body to move together. Understanding the three basic moves of spear will also give you a better understanding of Tai Chi. You can incorporate Tai Chi into your spear set and spear moves into your Tai Chi.

Copyrighted by Huan's Tai Chi 2010

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