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Single Straight Sword 54 movements (Dan Jian – 五十四势单剑)

The jian (straight, or double-edged sword), is a more delicate weapon compared to the dao (broadsword) or spear. It is associated with the Phoenix. The jian is the weapon of the scholar or gentleman. The practice of the sword develops precise movements, focused awareness, and the ability to project one’s jing or intention to the blade of the sword. This form is characterized by light, spiraling movements that demonstrate the internal aspects of Chen Style Taijiquan. Include in the sword form are techniques for piercing, chopping, or hacking, pointing, or tipping, slicing and parrying. While the tassel looks fancy, it is purely decorative and for show. The movements of the sword form is performed like a dragon flying through the sky – fluid, smooth and continuous.

There are two single sword forms: 49 movements and 54 movements. The 54-movement single sword form is one of the oldest Taiji sword forms of Chen family taijiquan. This elegant form puts hand, eye, body, and step methods together, the movements taking such shapes as graceful arcs and spirals. Power and control of the sword is through the wrist. In the 54-movement single sword technique: thrusting, chopping, cutting upwards, parrying, blocking, and sweeping. This sword form is steady, natural, small, and exquisite, coupling hardness with softness. According to Chinese tradition, the practice of 54 Chen style taiji sword should express the spirit of a saltant dragon.

According to CZQ (1977-, 20th generation, taught by CXX, received corrections from CXW), he re-created this form after his research uncovered a magazine of Chen Fa Ke’s daughter performing the 54-movement sword form. I learned this sword from Master Chen Zi Qiang in Seattle, WA.

First Section 【第一段】

0. Preparatory stance (Yu Bei Shi) or starting form (Qi Shi)预备式 or 起势(起勢)
1. Tai Ji Sword Beginning Posture (Tai Ji Jian Chu Shi)太极剑初势
2. Face the Sun (Chao Yang Jian)朝阳剑
3. Immortal Pointing the Way (Xian Ren Zhi Lu)仙人指路
4. Hiding flower under elbow (Zhou Di Cang Hua)肘低藏花
5. Star over the head stance (Kui Xin Shi)魁星势
6. Nezha Searches the Sea (Ne Zha Tan Hai)哪咤探海
7. Green Dragon Flies Out of Water (Qing Long Chu Shui)青龙出水
8. Knee-protecting Sword (Hu Xi Jian)(左右)护膝剑
9. Closing the Gate Form (Bi Men Shi)(转身)闭门式

Second Section 【第二段】

10. Green Dragon Flies Out of Water (Qing Long Chu Shui)青龙出水
11. Turn Body And Chop with Sword (Fan Shen Xia Pi Jian)翻身下斩剑
12. Green Dragon Turns Its Body (Qing Long Zhuan Shen)青龙转身
13. Diagonal Flying Form (Xie Fei Shi)斜飞式
14. Spread Wings and Bow Head (Zhan Chi Dian Tou)展翅点头
15. Beat Grass and Find the Snake (Bo Cao Xun She)拨草寻蛇
16. Gold Rooster Stand on One Leg (Jin Ji Du Li)金鸡独立
17. Nezha Searches the Sea (Ne Zha Tan Hai)哪咤探海
18. Cover and Pull Back (Gai Lan Shi)盖拦式

Third Section 【第三段】

19. Ancient Tree Roots (Gu Shu Pan Gen)古树盘根
20. Hungry Tiger Pounces on Prey (E Hu Pu Shi)饿虎扑食
21. Green Dragon Swings Its Tail (Qing Long Bai Wei)青龙摆尾
22. Backward Arm Circling (Dao Juan Hong)倒卷肱
23. Wild Horse Leaping Ravine (Ye Ma Tiao Jian)野马跳涧
24. White Snake Spits Out (Bai She Tu Xin)白蛇吐信
25. Black Dragon Swings Tail (Wu Long Bai Wei)乌龙摆尾
26. Zhong Kui’s Sword (Zhong Kui Zhang Jian)钟馗仗剑
27. Luo Han Subduing Dragon (Luo Han Xiang Long)罗汉降龙

Fourth Section 【第四段】

28. Black Bear Turns Backward (Hei Xiong Fan Bei)黑熊反背
29. Swallow Pecks the Mud (Yan Zi Zhuo Ni)燕子啄泥
30. Pluck Star and Return It (Zhai Xing Huan Dou)摘星换斗
31. Eagle & Bear’s Battle of Wits (Ying Xiong Dou Zhi)鹰熊斗智
32. Swallow Pecks the Mud (Yan Zi Zhuo Ni)燕子啄泥
33. Nimble cat pounces on the mouse (Ling Mao Pu Shu)灵猫扑鼠
34. Golden Rooster Shake its feathers (Jin Ji Dou Ling)金鸡抖翎
35. Scoop Moon from Under the Sea (Hai Di Lao Yue)海底捞月
36. Nezha Searches the Sea (Ne Zha Tan Hai)哪咤探海

Fifth Section 【第五段】

37. Rhino watches the moon (Xi Niu Wang Yue)犀牛望月
38. Strong wind flattens the grass (Jing Feng Yan Cao)劲风偃草
39. Diagonal Flying Form (Xie Fei Shi)斜飞式
40. Push A Thousand Jin Leftward (Zuo Tuo Qian Jin)左托千斤
41. Push A Thousand Jin Rightward (You Tuo Qian Jin)右托千斤
42. Chop left and right ankles (Zuo You Jie Wan)左右截腕
43. Horizontal sweep thousand armies (Heng Sao Qian Jun)横扫千军
44. Golden needle points down (Jin Zhen Dao Gua)金针倒挂
45. White Ape Presents Fruits (Bai Yuan Xian Guo)白猿献果

Sixth Section 【第六段】

46. Flowers Falling Form (Luo Hua Shi)落花式
47. Jab Upward then Downward (Shang Xia Xie Ci)上下斜刺
48. Diagonal Flying Form (Xie Fei Shi)斜飞式
49. Nezha Searches the Sea (Ne Zha Tan Hai)哪咤探海
50. Swallow Turns Around (Yao Zi Mang Fan Shen)鹞子翻身
51. Wei Tuo Presents Pounder (Wei Tuo Xian Chu)韦驼献杵
52. Mill Stone Turning Sword (Mo Pan Jian)磨盘剑
53. Golden needle points south (Jin Zhen Zhi Nan)金针指南
54. Return to Origin Posture (Tai Ji Jian Huan Yuan)太极剑还源 /  收式

Note – there are similar movements with the 49 form but the names are different. For example, the 49 form has a python turning its back, here we have a hawk or swallow.