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STARTLING-RAINBOW SWORD (JINGHONG JIAN)
Posted on January 30, 2014by Paul Brennan
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THE ART OF THE STARTLING-RAINBOW SWORD

by Yin Qianhe
[published by Pole Star Press (and printed by
Good Advice Printing House), Sep 1, 1960]
[translation by Paul Brennan, Jan, 2014]
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Chinese Martial Arts Book Collection #9:

The Art of the Startling-Rainbow Sword

- calligraphy by Yin Qianhe
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CONTENTS

One: First Preface [by Shen Honglie]

Two: Second Preface [by Chen Panling]

Three: Authors Preface

Four: General Introduction to Chinese Martial Arts

Five: Moral Attitudes to Adhere to in Martial Arts Training

Six: Four Requirements for Practicing Martial Arts

Seven: Things to Pay Attention to When Practicing Martial Arts

Eight: General Introduction to the Sword Art

Nine: Secrets of Sword Practice

Ten: A Couple of Sword Songs

Eleven: A Few Pointers for Learning the Sword

Twelve: Startling-Rainbow Sword Posture Names in Sequence

Thirteen: Orientation Chart

Fourteen: The Scholarly Names, Technical Names, Movement Descriptions, and
Photos of the Postures (including fifty-two [fifty-one] photos)

Fifteen: Some Things I Have to Say About the Art of the Startling-Rainbow
Sword

Sixteen: On the Making of Swords
[The three prefaces are all recycled from Yins Baduanjin and Taiji Sword
manuals (both published in 1958) with but a few alterations. In chapters 4, 5, 8,
9, 11, and 13, Yin reuses material from his Taiji Sword manual, but has for this
book mostly reworked such sections into greatly expanded versions, making this
the more comprehensive of his two sword books.]
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PREFACE BY SHEN HONGLIE



The flourishing of our spirit as well as the growth of all our education and
enterprise is based first of all upon the health of the body. Therefore if we wish
to stand both individually and together, and to succeed both individually and
together, we must start by giving importance to physical education, training
daily and lifelong. This is what is meant by strengthening the self.
The rise or fall of the people of a nation, the superiority or inferiority of their
culture is dependent entirely on the strength or weakness of the people.
Therefore if we wish to develop culturally and rouse national prestige, we must
popularize physical education, establishing it in organizations and societies,
cities and rural areas. This is what is meant by strengthening the masses.
There are so many kinds of physical education, such as track and field events
or ball sports, which are now in vogue in our nation as they are in the rest of the
world. It might be appropriate for us to train in such things, but if we instead
choose to glorify our nation by concentrating on our customary native martial
arts, they do not require special equipment or specific facilities, are not
restricted by schedule or size of a group, nor do they cost any money, which
means that due to the present strained state of our economy, they are
significantly easier to popularize.
Chinese martial arts attach importance to the three unions: mind united
with intention, intention united with energy, energy united with power. This
causes the mind to be always stable and the spirit always focused, and thus it is
said that skill approaches the Way. Martial virtue is thereby put on a pedestal,
being minded toward the public good and to the deliverance of those in distress.
Once we make use of such a realization, then the strengthening of oneself and
the strengthening of the masses is all that is required in the cause of protecting
ones home and defending the nation.
Between the Mukden Incident [Sep 18, 1931] and the Marco Polo Bridge
Incident [July 7, 1937], I was in charge of the administration of the military in
Qingdao. Throughout that time, the nation was under threat and so we built up
the nations military strength by promoting martial arts. Some sixty thousand
townspeople were trained [smelted in the furnace] in preparation to fight the
enemy. When the Marco Polo Bridge Incident occurred, Japanese soldiers and
civilians were forced to have diplomatic relations broken off and leave because
of the mission to burn nine large Japanese cotton mills conducted by the martial
arts teachers Gao Fangxian and Yang Qingxian, who each led a team of martial
artists to accomplish this. Soon they both received orders to take control of
Shandong, continuing the resistance against the Japanese. Yin Qianhe is a long-
time martial arts adept who led several hundred warriors that he had trained for
the struggle against Japan. At that time, the armies throughout the whole
province were being rigorously drilled in martial arts. In fighting the enemy and
smiting the invaders, Gao, Yang, and Yin made an especially large contribution,
boosting confidence in the potential of martial arts to defend the nation.
The people of Qingdao are loyal and brave, honest and sincere, and so
because of the shift in power since the rebellion, many of them followed the
government in its relocation to Taiwan. Being in the army, Gao, Yang, and Yin
came along as well. In their spare time, they still teach martial arts. In recent
years, Yin has been a schoolteacher and a great many have learned from him.
He decided to spend his time after teaching classes to write contributions to the
Chinese Martial Arts Book Collection. Once he had completed these books, he
sought a preface from me. Although I have loved martial arts my whole life, I
have actually not obtained much in the way of skill, and yet I am now in my
eighth decade but not at all a feeble man, and so I am entirely convinced that I
have gained by it.
Science is now flourishing and this is an era of development in weaponry. If
we wish to walk among the great powers, we need to engage in advanced
scientific research, and we especially have to solidify our cultural foundation in
order to promote the health of the people. In this regard, the easiest way is the
popularization of Chinese martial arts, which cannot be overlooked. Yin
ceaselessly strives to improve himself, constantly keeping in mind the grand
principle of strengthening the people and defending the nation, and herein lies
the reason for making such books. To greatly benefit the spread of martial arts is
why he is writing this material down.
written by Shen Honglie of Jingling while visiting Taizhong, Dec, 1957
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PREFACE BY CHEN PANLING



Martial arts are the most characteristic part of Chinese culture, distinctive skills
which throughout history have brought the nation wealth and made its armies
formidable. By often depending on such methods, theories became profound
and techniques exquisite, above and beyond the martial arts of other nations.
On a larger scale, they can strengthen the masses and defend the nation. On a
smaller scale, they can add years to your life. However, in the last few decades,
the people of our nation have become infatuated with Western exercises,
rendering the several-millennia worth of cultural essence bequeathed to us by
our worthy ancestors unable to flourish, thereby resulting in our people
becoming weak and hopeless, and this is truly a pitiable situation.
The sword art is the most revered of these skills in our nations history.
Unfortunately, because it stresses personal endeavor, very few books have been
written about it. Later generations of students have had little to consult, left to
merely feel around in the dark. Because of this, the essence of the sword art has
pretty much disappeared. Yin Qianhe, or Baiqia, of Shandong is well-read and
an expert in martial arts, and he has investigated them deeply, devotedly
researching for a long time without slackening. As he deeply feels that our
martial arts are in daily decline, he wishes to put forth what he has learned and
discovered by writing it down in a systematic way to further spread these
teachings. Recently he has written Taiji Sword, The Art of the Startling-
Rainbow Sword, Assorted Health & Fitness Exercises, Basic Chinese Martial
Arts Movements, Twelve-Line Tantui, and so on. They are rich in content, with
theory clearly presented and with function fully detailed, truly making a great
contribution toward our martial arts.
I have encouraged the practice of Chinese martial arts my entire life, and
have maintained my ambition to do so since coming to Taiwan. I wish to spread
such an education among the people and boost their health. The aim is to rescue
the nation through strengthening the people. Now Yin has written his books,
and since he and I are of the same mind, I am only too happy to make a preface
for him.
written by Chen Panling at his home in Taizhong, Dec, 1958
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AUTHORS PREFACE



I have but little talent and shallow learning, and my skill level is quite inferior.
How could I presume to make books and invite ridicule from experts? It is
simply because the great benefit I have received from martial arts I would not
dare to keep to myself. I want to share it with my compatriots throughout the
whole nation, particularly those who are weak or often ill. With constant
practice, martial arts can turn the weak into the strong. As I do this out of a
mentality of self-love and caring for others, I have roused my courage in hopes
that my small efforts will bring about a large benefit.
When I was young, I was constantly ill. Once I became an adult, I was still
frail and weak. Medicines had been having no effect, to the great anxiety of my
parents, but in our town there was a Fu Tingjia, who was an expert in martial
arts, so they asked him to give me instruction. After just a year, all my chronic
ailments had quickly been cured, and I was also inspired to take it further. At
that time, the Taiji expert An Dingbang was teaching at the Beijing Health &
Fitness Society, so I left home to approach him for instruction. His skill was
exquisite, his teaching method was systematic and patient. I trained hard from
morning to night, feeling blessed to have access to such teachings. My strength
grew to abundance and I had been transformed.
When armies were raised in resistance against Japan [1937], I followed Shen
Honglie, chairman of my home province of Shandong, by serving in the army.
Shen was a long-standing advocate for martial arts, so he made martial arts the
major training regimen for the military, and since it is my hobby, I pursued this
with extra sincerity. For fighting the enemy and smiting the invaders, it proved
to be very helpful.
When the communist bandits betrayed the nation [i.e. the communist
takeover, meaning 1949], I went with the government in its relocation to
Taiwan, where I have been serving as a schoolteacher in the Taizhong area.
Since so many of those who get their schooling from me are young enthusiasts
for martial arts, I have had no choice but to push myself and continue in my
own training, receiving frequent guidance from my martial arts superior, Chen
Panling, as well as constant encouragement from martial arts expert Wang
Shujin and town council member Song Xianting. After a class, I contemplate
and study, and whatever I am delving further into, be it Shaolin, Taiji, or
weapons, if it conforms to the principles of health maintenance and the
practicalities of self defense, I invariably write it all down into books.
Of the internal arts, I have written Baduanjin, Assorted Health & Fitness
Exercises,Taiji Boxing, and Taiji Sword. Of the external arts, I have
written Basic Shaolin Boxing Movements in Thirty-Two Postures, Twelve-Line
Tantui, Four-Line Cha Boxing, andTaizu Long Boxing. As for weapons, I have
written of spear, saber, sword, and staff. What I have accumulated over a long
period amounts to a compendium of information. Liu Wugui, a good friend, has
done me the favor of making the photographs, and the book is now completed.
Seeing as I live in Taiwan, I am limited as to available resources and have less
access to books I ought to be consulting, and so for everything I have explained,
I have only relied on my memory of what I was taught and what I have obtained
through my own research, and so there are bound to be many errors and gaps.
As to what I have been able to publish, mainly due to the nagging of friends and
the requests of many colleagues, beyond Taiji Sword and Fitness Techniques on
a Bed & Scientific Baduanjin, both of which have already been published and
favorably received, I have now further submitted Assorted Health & Fitness
Exercises, Basic Shaolin Boxing Movements in Thirty-Two Postures,Twelve-
Line Tantui, and The Art of the Startling-Rainbow Sword. I sincerely hope that
Chinese martial arts experts from around the world, gentlemen and countrymen
all, will pick out flaws to be fixed, for if you would correct me where I have
missed, I would feel fortunate indeed.
written by Yin Qianhe (Baiqia) of Shandong in Zhanghua, Taiwan, Aug 1,
1960 [This is the same preface, dated Oct, 1958, which appeared in his Taiji
Sword and Baduanjin books, minimally updated.]
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For Yin Qianhe:

Strengthening the self to strengthen the nation.

- [calligraphy by] Yu Youren
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To commemorate this work by Yin Qianhe:



Spirit [] and strength [] to the utmost []!

- respectfully calligraphed by Jiang Weiguo
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To commemorate this work by Yin Qianhe:

Promoting the essence of our culture.

- [calligraphy by] Gao Fangxian
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To commemorate this work by Yin Qianhe:


Exercise both body and mind.
Encourage both ambition and restraint.

- respectfully calligraphed by Wang Yizhi
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Portrait of the author
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FOUR: GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO CHINESE MARTIAL ARTS


Martial arts are the traditional culture of our nation. Their principles are
profound and their skills are exquisite. They are steeped in a spirit of loyalty and
chivalry. They can open closed minds, bolster the timid, and strengthen the
weak. Every nation in the world has its own brand of physical exercises, and
they each have their good points, and we should admit that their way of doing
such things is right for them. But for us in our current state of affairs, we want
something that does not require money, special facilities, or specific scheduling,
in order for people everywhere to be able to train. Chinese martial arts appear to
be far more convenient than other types of physical education. President Chiang
Kai-shek publicly declared this of Chinese martial arts in his writings on
Education and Recreation: Chinas boxing arts are not merely fighting
methods, they have even greater significance as physical education. The highest
level in boxing arts is calm, harmonious, intent-directed power. The boxing arts
of other nations have been unable to match this achievement, and so we call
them our national arts. This is brief, to the point, and all we need to rouse us.
Chinese martial arts are singularly Chinese, our purest cultural essence,
concerned with both body and mind, liveliness and cleverness. When your body
and mind obtain health, your intelligence is enhanced, your skills become more
subtle, and your moral sense tends to become more noble. Your awareness
becomes more keen, your spirit becomes more sure of itself, your body is
strengthened, your longevity is increased, and you are able to defend both self
and nation. Truly these arts are an excellent means of nurturing body and mind,
and serve the public good in strengthening the masses.
There is an aspect of the physical exercises of other nations that makes them
inferior: Chinese martial arts are not exclusive to those of a certain financial
condition. It does not matter if you are rich or poor, young or old, busy or idle,
man or woman, here or there, on your own on in a group. Anyone can practice,
anytime and anywhere. Whether it be a boxing set or a weapon set such as
spear, saber, sword, or staff, they are all imbued with our culture. They are
simple and easy to learn, and are of limitless use. They can be said to be
unparalleled for supplying practical physical education to the masses. Someone
may say: Now that we have entered the atomic age, why bother with these
things anyway? He really does not understand that they still have value in
strengthening the body and defending the nation, indeed even more than they
have throughout the ages, because to strengthen the nation, we must strengthen
the people! And to strengthen the people, we must invigorate their vitality.
When the people are healthy and strong, there is an atmosphere of prosperity,
and then they are on the cusp of flourishing.
Success in every undertaking always comes down to health and willpower.
With a strong body and a resolute will, you will naturally be able to endure hard
work and not be afraid of difficulty. Martial arts are not only essential in
strengthening the body and are powerful in a fight, they can also get the closed-
minded to become open, the timid to be become determined, change the weak
in body into the strong of physique, and transform those of indifferent
dispositions into heroic personalities. I hope my compatriots will dust off their
sleeves and rise up, all of them hearing the call and being roused to action, none
of them complaining of how much labor it will involve. It was very effective of
King Wuling of Zhao to promote the wearing of military attire and the practice
of horse-mounted archery. This drove away listlessness, replaced it with
industriousness, and fired up the national spirit. He did not have to wait long
for his kingdom to become capable and manifest manly skill. Therefore I say: If
we wish to bring health to the people and strength to the masses, this will not
happen without the popularization of martial arts.
When we trace back, we find that our nations martial arts were the earliest to
develop. As far back as the Han and Tang dynasties, sieges of cities and battles
on open ground were all won through extraordinary martial skills. Seeing as it
was valued in history for such a long time, why have these arts in modern days
sunk so low? It is partially because since the invention of modern weaponry, the
mentality of people has changed, and they have become infatuated with the
West, the customs of Europe and America, of which I am not a fan but will allow
to run their course. The real reason is because many of those with martial arts
abilities are corrupt or have restrictive views, emphasizing personal practice to
the extent that they keep their art secret instead of passing it down, and when
they do teach it, they do not teach all of it. Even more unworthy are the ones
who are violent, coarse, and arrogant, or the street entertainers with their
absurd and distorted exhibitions, or those brag who love to brag about what
they are good at but are no more expert at it than Daoist priests, or those who
divide schools into styles which then hate each other. Ordinary people avoid
these types, or say with polite apologies that they are too busy for them. After
all, why would they ever be willing to ask such people for instruction? This is the
biggest reason why Chinese martial arts have been unable to spread vigorously.
Chinese martial arts basically divide into Shaolin and Wudang. The only
thing of importance in either case is skill. In both schools, softness contains
hardness and hardness contains softness, movements should transform
unpredictably, and techniques are to be applied without effort. Succeeding
generations classified Shaolin as the external school and Wudang as the
internal school. Further distinctions were made, for instance Hua Style as
being different from Hong Style, southern branch versus northern branch,
etc. The various styles look upon each other with a sectarian bias, passing
judgment over each other simply to promote their own ways. Whenever they
encounter a piece of something from outside their niche, they instinctively
decide it does not represent the true essence. Complacent and conservative,
such people cherish their incomplete art, stubbornly defend their ignorance,
share freely only with those within their own system, and mindlessly hammer at
everyone elses. They will not actually get anything out of this, nor will they help
the nation truly pathetic. When I consider the Japanese men who learned a
smattering of our martial arts and slightly added to it, losing a bit of this and
increasing a bit of that, until it had changed into what is known nowadays as
Judo, and they have then able to popularize it throughout the world, which
views their learning with awed admiration, I cannot help but break into a cold
sweat, ashamed of us.
This era is a crucial time of resistance against the communists and soviets.
Please, my Chinese martial arts colleagues, put aside your differences so we may
work together, united in purpose, encouraging each other. To promote our
nations culture and rouse our nations prestige, let us engage in cooperative
research to constantly improve these arts. One task is to produce teaching
materials for all levels so as to foster better teachers and promote improved
teaching methods. The other task is to take them everywhere, from barracks to
schools, from cities to rural areas, promoting their spread of these arts. It is
essential for body and mind to be mutually cultivated in order to reach the point
in which teachers are displaying the condition of calm, harmonious, intent-
directed power. By making Chinese martial arts organized, scientific, popular,
and ethically influential, they will become a medicine to the save the nation and
rescue the age. I am not a very bright person, but I hope to do my bit to at least
whip this horse into a trot.
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FIVE: MORAL ATTITUDES TO ADHERE TO IN MARTIAL ARTS TRAINING


The intention of martial arts is morality, not brutality. It esteems honor, not
glory. It emphasizes defense, not attack. It demands harmoniousness, not
mayhem. The deeper a persons skill, the greater his calm. He will abide by rules
in his treatment of others, behaving with humility and propriety, and for no
other reason than that he has nourished his skill to a profound level. Learning
martial arts to train your physique will make your body healthy. If you use it as a
tool for competition and enmity, then you have mistaken its true purpose.
Therefore when I instruct students, I teach them skills, but I do not teach them
to fight for fame. I refine their health, not their savagery. I stress physical
education, not deadliness of technique.
You should cultivate your temperament, firstly developing your character and
giving second priority to skill and courage. If you have a deviant mind full of
wicked thoughts, callous and cruel, coarse and contrary, your behavior will be
incorrect, and any training in such skills would only aid you in your evil. Thus I
hold up these eight rules of martial virtue as a standard for you to personally
abide by, and for you and your fellow students to uphold as a group. I have
solemnly recorded them below so that you may refer to them and correct
yourselves.


1. Maintain seriousness:
To practice martial arts, you must be serious, meaning sincere and humble
rather than frivolous and arrogant. Confucius said [Lun Yu, 1.8]: If a gentleman
were not serious, he would not be taken seriously, nor would anything that he
has learned stick with him.


2. Look upon others with respect:
When in the company of others, you should be respectful. [It is said (Mengzi,
4b28):] One who respects others is always respected. Your manner should be
polite, modest, and friendly, though not to the point of sycophancy, and you
should never look down on others with a haughty self-importance.


3. Receive others harmoniously:
A martial artist should be even-tempered and harmonious. Avoid being
violent, competitive, or insulting, for there can be nothing more disgraceful than
to conduct yourself with cruelty. Harmoniousness is of prime importance in
your treatment of others is.


4. Maintain a sense of justice:
To practice martial arts, you should in all matters be unselfish and unbiased,
fair and impartial, open-minded and upright. Be generous, righteous, and
incorruptible.


5. Practice with diligence:
To practice martial arts, you have to work at it industriously and unceasingly.
You must not be lazy. It is said [by Han Yu, About the Civil Service
Examinations]: Mastery lies in hard work, whereas fooling around will
amount to nothing, [and success lies in focus, whereas just doing whatever you
feel like will make it all fall apart]. Just as dripping water will eventually bore
through a stone or the pounding of iron will eventually produce a needle, with
diligent practice your skill will naturally deepen.


6. Conduct yourself with honor:
To practice martial arts, you should have a mentality of loyalty and chivalry.
It is said [by Confucius, Lun Yu, 2.25]: To be aware of what is right and not do
it is cowardly. [And it is also said, by Han Yu, The Original Way (meaning
Confucianism):] To behave as you ought to behave is called honor. This means
doing what should do and never arbitrarily giving in to doing what you should
not.


7. Cherish compassion:
It is said [Mengzi, 1a5]: The compassionate have no enemies. To practice
martial arts, base yourself in compassion and humaneness. [It is also said
(Mengzi, 7a45):] [A gentleman is] compassionate toward others and humane
toward animals. Be mild, magnanimous, and kindhearted. You should have a
mentality of universal love.


8. Give yourself with loyalty:
A martial artist resolutely avoids getting into fights to prove himself. If you
fight with others simply to flaunt your own superiority, you should be utterly
ashamed of yourself, for you should instead be contributing your skill, body, and
mind to your nation and your people!
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SIX: FOUR REQUIREMENTS FOR PRACTICING MARTIAL ARTS


1. You should train properly and progress gradually. In practicing boxing, you
must not be impatient but must instead let progress gradually unfold. It is
generally the case for one who has never practiced, or for one who has not
practiced in a long time, that his whole body, its channels and vessels, sinews
and bones, will not be nimble. If he is hasty and exerts himself too aggressively,
or practices too much in one session, then his sinews and bones, channels and
vessels, will be strained to the point of pain. Therefore it is best to listen to your
teachers guidance and train properly, progress gradually.


2. You should be perseverant. There is a saying: Perseverance is the basis of
success. You must not go only halfway and then quit. No matter what your
project is, in all cases you must have perseverance, and in martial arts it is even
more important. There is an old saying: Characters should be written, horses
should be ridden, fiddles should be played, and fists and feet should punch and
kick. There is another saying: Boxing will never go away from [a boxers]
hands. Singing will never go away from [a singers] mouth. With daily practice
over a long period, you will naturally succeed, and you will be able to obtain its
benefits for your whole life.


3. Your mind should be calm and your emotions should be in harmony. When
learning martial arts, you should quiet your emotions and concentrate your
spirit, as well as restrain yourself and be very careful toward others. You must
not have an arrogant manner. You will thereby avoid being despised by others in
society and you will help influence the spread of martial arts.


4. You should respect the teacher and take his method seriously, and also
respect the work and take delight in your fellows. It is therefore said that skill
approaches the Way. The teacher should be respected, because it is by way of
like-mindedness that we work together. To cultivate a spirit of justice and
righteousness, of rescuing the weak and bolstering the weary, and to defend our
nation, are the major aims.
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SEVEN: THINGS TO PAY ATTENTION TO WHEN PRACTICING MARTIAL
ARTS


1. When you practice martial arts, you must not drink alcohol, or if you do, you
must not get drunk. Drinking excessively will injure your blood. After getting
drunk, by no means are you to practice. Restrain your lust, which would damage
your essence. Abstain from anger, which would injure your energy.


2. You must not practice when you are hungry. By the time you finish practicing,
you will be starving. Excessive hunger will weaken your digestive organs. You
also must not practice when you are full. While your stomach is filled and your
intestines are filling, practice would injure your digestive organs.


3. You can practice during all four seasons, and it is particularly important to do
so in the hottest days of summer and the coldest days of winter. A half hour
before eating a meal, you should take a rest from practicing, waiting for your
mind to become calm and your energy to become harmonious, then you may
eat. After eating, you must rest for an hour, then you can begin to practice again.
By waiting for your digestive organs to feel slightly looser, practice will be more
appropriate.


4. When practicing, you should wear casual shoes and casual pants, which are
more comfortable and convenient. If you wear formal pants, the crotch lining
will be too narrow and may easily split. Dress shoes are too hard and are
typically uncomfortable.


5. When practicing even during those summer days, you should also wear a
casual shirt. But put on at the very least a tank top, otherwise your naked arms
plus your exposed back will just make you look uncouth.


6. It is best to practice in the morning. You must not allow interruptions. You
must not practice without paying attention to what you are doing. You also must
not practice to the point of exhaustion. You should consider your own physique
and be balanced toward it. In the beginning of the training, you will sometimes
feel your body is aching or that you are unbearably weary. You do not need to
worry, this is just the process of effort, which after resting will easily generate
increased strength. Stay confident in it. A saying goes: Dripping water will
eventually bore through a stone. The pounding of iron will eventually produce a
needle. Hard work will naturally succeed. You should think upon these words
repeatedly.
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EIGHT: GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE SWORD ART


1. Sword Origins:
A sword is an ancient weapon, used by ancient people for fighting off wild
animals and often a tool of combat. They were made of wood or stone, and were
rough-surfaced. Then there was flooding in the Ge Lu mountains that brought
forth metal, and Chi You received it and worked it to produce iron for swords.
(see Guanzi, chapter 77) Thereupon would begin the recording of sword names,
but not yet any description of their actual manufacture.
The details of the sword from the Record of Artisans: It has two edges and
a spine. From the spine to the edge is called the sacrificer, or the blade. Below
the spine and edge, where the hilt separates is called the head. The place that is
grasped below the head is called the stalk. At the end of the stalk is a ring called
the depths. (see the Record of Artisans [in the Rites of the Zhou Dynasty])
Modern swords are very different from this.
Historians henceforth named a great many swords, but were not yet
discussing how they were made, for instance: There was King Wens Lu, Grand
Duke Jiangs Que, Duke Hauns Cong, Prince Zhuangs Hu, and He Ls Gan
Jiang and Mo Ye. These were all superb ancient swords. (see Xunzi [chapter
23])
Tradition has it that Ou Ye made swords. At a mountain in Chidong, there
was an avalanche and tin was exposed, and a stream in Ruoye dried up and
copper was exposed. With the sky and earth as a furnace, and the passive and
active energies as the coal, and with Nature to oversee the process, he made five
swords, called Deep River, Pure Hook, Conquering Evil, Fish Guts, and Big
Watchtower. The Emperor of Yin had three swords: Containing Light, Granting
Reflection, and Night Practice. These three swords were passed down for
thirteen generations. Later, the King of Chu had three precious swords: Dragon
Well, Taie, and Declarer of Work. King Goujian of Yue had eight swords: Sun
Hider, Divider of Waters, Changer of Minds, Hanging Scissors [perhaps the
same idea as a Sword of Damocles], Frightening Lizard, Drainer of Souls,
Splitter of Evil, and Truly Indomitable. The Emperor of Wu had six swords:
White Snake, Purple Lightning, Preventer of Evil, Shooting Star, Glittering
Night, and Hundred Miles. (see Cui Baos Ancient & Modern Records)
These records named swords, but no making of swords was described until
the mention of the five swords of King Zhao of Zhou and the thirteen swords of
Emperor Wu of Liang (see Tao Hongjings List of Swords & Sabers), which
ironically did not record the names of the swords. The shape, length, and
manufacturing process for swords tended to vary. The Qin Emperors sword was
eight feet long, Jing Kes sword was eight inches long, Emperor Gaozus sword
was three feet long (according to Sima Qians Historical Records), and Prince
Cao Pi of Weis sword was four feet and two inches long. These four men lived at
more or less the same time and yet they used swords of differing length.
Long ago, Prince Jiang of Yuan while visiting Gansu saw a woman with a
ten-foot silk streamer cut it lengthwise into two pieces and then, with one in
each hand, dance with them as quick as shooting stars. He asked her what this
was called and she told him swordware. (see Writings on Simplicity) This also
shows the varying forms the sword can take. Going by such records, how
ancient swords were made is difficult to verify, but there are those nowadays
who are conducting the appropriate research to seek out the right answers.


2. Sword Fables:
There were numerous ancient weapons, but people most revered swords.
They even referred to them as precious swords. For the history of swords, we
look to the various ancient schools of thought, who recorded many
miscellaneous things, every strange thing there was, and who made note of and
reference to many swords, with no limit to the stories they came up with. There
was the tempered steel of Kunwu which could slice through jade (see Liezi), or
the tempered steel of Fish Guts which could kill a rhino (see Huainanzi), or the
swords casted by order of King Zhao of Zhou with which he conquered the land,
or those made by order of Emperor Wu of Liang with which he controlled the
kingdom (see Tao Hongjings List of Swords).
Halting their horses and striking at their targets, then seeming like the
autumn moon at its brightest, then changing the four seasons into the five
colors, then leaping over the ferry crossing to transform the twin dragons, like
the kingdom of Chu once aware of what the tyrant has done. (see the Annals of
Wu and Yue)
Slaughtering wild beasts and frightening away thieves, stabbing at their
clothes producing dark blood, slashing at them to make them suffer. (see Bio
of Yu Rang)
Majestic as gemstones it was, shining like ice crystals in its fish-scale
scabbard and gleaming pommel. Then there was a roar, a sound from within the
ground, that frightened all the plowing oxen, as copper was pierced through by
steel as though it was but swishing through grain. (see Further Books of Yue)
Crouching concealed on the ground, with energy rushing up to the stars.
(see Books of Jin, Bio of Zhang Hua)
It goes into the forest to overcome the rhino and the panther. It hastens into
the depths to stop the flood dragon. When with the army, it flies forth and
points their way ahead. When in a room, its gleam still seems to shine outside.
(see Wang Jias Collected Lost Records)
During the daytime, we see shadow but do not notice light. During the night,
we see light but do not notice shadow. Too many books have been handed down
to enumerate, especially considering the size of China and the age of the nation,
and they indeed cover every strange thing, not that they are necessarily all
true things, certainly not in the case of the precious swords.
The focus with which ancient people made swords was wholehearted,
completely sincere, spending months or years working on them by hand, aided
only by the sunshine and climate, and yet no other swords can compare to them,
not even the magic swords in fiction that modern readers amuse themselves
with. In ancient times, industry had not yet developed and there was no
machine-given convenience. Today, industry flourishes, equipped with
machines that are profoundly efficient and extremely precise. But despite
meticulous research and unstinting labor, todays machine-made swords are
vastly inferior to ancient swords. Nowadays the arts of embroidery, pottery, and
engraving are all feeble next to the magnificence of the ancient artisans, and the
same is true for the casting of swords. Ancient sword casting depended entirely
on how much personal spirit was put into the work rather than relying on help
from others, and whenever swords were made, it was essential to have the
purposed goal of making swords and to highly value the hard work and
concentration that would be involved. A saying goes: The purest sincerity can
break through metal and rock. Things that are produced with such ease
nowadays by machines do not even deserve to be part of the same conversation.


3. Sword Achievements:
The weapon has to be effective for someone to value it. The achievement has
to be unusual for everyone to talk about it. Long ago, Cao Mo took up his sword
and raided the forces of Duke Huan, preventing the state of Lu from being
humiliated. Mao Sui held up his sword and defied the Chu prince, earning him
the admiration of the kingdom of Zhao. Concentrated sharpness penetrating
through heavy armor is what dethroned the King of Wu. Feng Xuan snapped his
sword to its length, deeply impressing Prince Mengchang. Emperor Gaozu lifted
his three-foot sword and took the House of Liu off its foundation. Zu Ti
defended his kingdom of Jin by getting up to practice every morning as soon as
the rooster started calling. Taie was brandished and three armies perished. Iron
Stone cleaved through and long life to the ruler was proclaimed. These are all
examples of success by way of reliance on the sword. Human achievement is the
swords achievement.
Confucius was a sage, but he wore a sword at his waist when at a rulers oath-
taking ceremony. Han was considered weak, but he became bold once he had a
sword at his side, and thus he led an army to defeat a tyrant while still at the
frontier. When Zilu went to visit Confucius, he too was armed with a sword at
his waist to demonstrate his true mettle. Li Zha hung up his sword to keep his
promise. By the Han era, the sword was worn at the waist by everyone, from the
Emperor to every official. The sword worn at the waist is not for killing people,
it is for preventing trouble. This is like when the Japanese expressed the power
of the state in three forms, the first of them was the sword, for it is so highly
regarded. The founding of a nation is the greatest achievement of all, and that is
why the sword has been so valued throughout history.
There were many kinds of weapons in ancient times, but both scholars and
warriors liked to wear swords at their waist. Sword masters are often referred to
as immortals. Furthermore, when doing exercises with other weapons, it is
simply termed to practice, to play, or to drill, whereas with the sword it
can be called to dance. Due to the obvious achievements of the sword
throughout history, it is natural for the sword to be so highly esteemed.


4. Sword Techniques:
Within the sword art, there are six unions: the three internal unions of
mind united with intention, intention united with energy, and energy united
with power, combined with the three external unions of eye united with sword,
sword united with step, and step united with power. Your whole body is nimble,
energy coursing through and expressing in focused concentration. The vitality of
swordwork accords with natural principles. In movement and posture, the
efficacy of the sword is obvious and its adaptability is limitless. Generally
speaking, there are about twenty techniques: stabbing, chopping, cleaving,
raising, carrying, filing, wiping, flinging, blocking, hanging, thrusting, twining,
drawing, flicking, paring, propping, clouding, scooping, drilling, and slicing.
Compared to the same list in my Taiji Sword book, there are four more terms in
this one [the four added here being drawing, scooping, drilling, slicing].
1. Stabbing the sword tip goes directly forward.
2. Cleaving the outer edge of the sword body attacks straight downward.
3. Chopping the sword body attacks diagonally downward from left or
right.
4. Carrying hold your wrist upright and bring the sword tip and inner edge
upward from below.
5. Raising turn over your wrist and bring the sword tip and outer edge
upward.
6. Filing the outer edge of the sword body saws back and forth.
7. Wiping the sword body goes across held horizontally.
8. Flinging the sword body moves across to either side. (This is also called
sweeping.)
9. Thrusting the sword tip goes upward from below.
10. Blocking the sword body goes across to intercept.
11. Hanging the sword tip hangs down.
12. Propping the sword body goes upward held horizontally.
13. Twining the sword tip waves side to side.
14. Drawing the sword is gathered in after stabbing.
15. Paring the sword tip does a half cut.
16. Flicking the sword handle is pushed down to make the tip jump up.
17. Clouding the sword tip circles to the left and right.
18. Scooping the sword goes along with the momentum to deflect the
opponents weapon.
[19] Drilling the sword tip twists while stabbing.
[20] Slicing the sword body while level uses the outer edge to push down.
These are but the briefest descriptions of these techniques. There are still
more movements within each technique, as well as further explanations of them
within the postures of the set.
An expert at the sword art does not really have any magic to assist him, and
he had to make it happen through hard work and willpower, through all the
twisting and turning, advancing and retreating, rising and lowering, through
every technique, posture, and movement. Keeping the movements precise, you
will become skillful with practice, changing from one to another with constant
focus. Nowadays, the priority in sword training is artistry, which is emphasized
to make the practice more interesting and to better promote health. When
ancient people trained with a sword, the goal was function. Times changes, so
goals differ. Be mindful, and then after practicing it over a long period you will
naturally find yourself in a state of unimaginable joy.
-

NINE: SECRETS OF SWORD PRACTICE


The sword art is the most highly esteemed skill in our nations history. What
makes this particular martial skill so admired is that so many have known about
it but have not really understand it, and they then piled exaggeration on top of
exaggeration until it has developed a mystique. The few who possessed
consummate skill were seen as otherworldly and they were often unwilling to
teach it to others. Furthermore, there is a palpable lack of writings about it for
us to consult. Consequently, the essence of the sword art has been mostly lost,
rendering the most valuable treasure in our culture incapable of being passed
down, truly a pity.
In my personal practice of martial arts, I have especially delighted in the
sword art. I wanted to delve into this noble art and discover its subtleties, but
then I spent twenty [twelve] years living as a war horse, participating in both the
fight against the Japanese and the fight against the communist rebels, and I had
no chance through that time to fulfill my wish. Since coming to Taiwan ten years
ago, life has been stable, and in my free time after teaching schoolchildren, I
have been working to present Chinese martial arts through systematic writings.
Last year I published two books, Taiji Sword and Fitness Techniques on a Bed &
Scientific Baduanjin, for the like-minded in society to treasure, and now I am
putting forward The Art of the Startling-Rainbow Sword to give further
instruction to my countrymen.
When practicing the sword, you should be meticulous and thoughtful,
wholeheartedly pondering what you are doing. The sword has techniques in the
same way the zither has songs. Energy should be concentrated in your elixir
field and spirit should be concentrated at the sword tip. In twisting and turning,
going up and down, there is a rhythm of fast and slow with punctuated
transitions and endless transformations. If we consider how the ancients
practiced the sword, each posture had its own background and each technique
had its specific function.
The sword shoots out able to be withdrawn, then withdraws able to shoot out
again. In every posture, you should concentrate your spirit and stabilize your
energy. Your hands and feet should coordinate with each other. Your intention
goes forth and the sword follows. Your mind should be nimble and your hand
should be dexterous. Your eyes should be quick, your sword should be quick,
and your steps should be quick. Spirit arrives, then intent arrives, then power
arrives. Sword and step arrive together with not even the smallest gap in
coordination. Your perception of a situation entirely depends on your
intelligence. In advancing and retreating, never miss the right moment. When it
is time to advance, come on like the thunder, too sudden to cover ones ears.
When it is time to retreat, retreat like the disappearance of the lightning flash,
too sudden for there to be anything left of it to see.
Whether cleaving, raising, chopping, or stabbing, do them always according
to correct standards. Whether spinning around, or going up or down, put your
whole spirit into it. Whether turning to the left or right, do so with total ease.
Whether going forward or back, be nimble and agile. Mind and energy should
link together so there is not the slightest disconnection between them. Have the
spirit of a flying dragon or a dancing phoenix and the posture of a crouching
tiger or a leaping monkey. Twist and turn unpredictably. Rise up and crouch
down nimbly. When you move, you must not be disorganized. When you act,
you must not hesitate. Suddenly rise, suddenly leap. Spin away to the left, to the
right. Dive like a fish and fly like a bird. Move as fast as the chasing wind,
sudden as a lightning bolt. Do circular flourishes downward and upward, both
aspects depending on each other. When the view to an opportunity becomes
clear, step into an empty space and put pressure into a gap. Each step continues
into another step and each technique is followed by another technique.
To take advantage of gaps and seize the chance skillfully, observe how the
opponent adapts. If he wants to rise up, he must first press down, so watch for
that cue. You must not commit the delaying action of stepping only halfway or
the wasted action of a half-expressed sword technique. You must analyze the
comings and goings of his sword, paying special attention to the rising and
lowering of his posture. If his sword comes out fast, respond like the wind, and
if his step advances rapidly, meet him with your entire spirit.
Be capable with both long techniques and short ones, feinting techniques and
real ones, with dragon movements and tiger steps, the techniques alternating
and the shapes switching. Begin guardedly like a shy girl [until he opens his
gates,] then invade like a rabbit diving into one of its bolt-holes. [Art of War,
chapter 11] Advancing and retreating to the appropriate degree, choose the right
tricks for the right moment. Your eyes see everything above, middle, below
and your spirit reaches everywhere left, right, front, back. In gathering and
releasing, emptying and filling, the transformations are limitless. Such
subtleties are truly difficult to describe in words.
With each spreading and extending of a technique, there is a wielding of your
arm and trembling at your wrist. Within the techniques is the marvel of things
that are extraordinary to behold yet effortlessly performed. Hidden inside are
operations that even supernatural beings could not detect. Seem to hang for a
moment in the air, then crouch on the ground. Spring forward, rising and
lowering. Spin your body like the onset of a sudden storm, leaping and whirling
with the suddenness of a thunderclap. The sword art is one of changing
unpredictably.
Other arts just do not compare. When you practice the sword for a long time,
strength fills your whole body, your energy becomes smooth, your blood
circulates unimpeded, and your breath deepens, thus sword practice nourishes
the life force. We find in historical texts that lovers of the sword art are typically
portrayed as people who are guileless, upright, and courageous. Therefore
learning a sword set can transform your temperament. Be scrutinizing and
perfectionistic. Put all your effort into it, for skill will come from hard work, and
you will then naturally be able to obtain its subtleties.
-

TEN: A COUPLE OF SWORD SONGS

SONG ONE





When your sword comes out, it draws forth the wind.
Your whole body is nimble, your hands dexterous.
The feet of your horse-riding stance move with strength.
Energy is stored within your elixir field.
Expertise will come naturally through experience.
The force of your sword penetrates to the tip.
The power of your bow stance courses through to your wrist.
Draw back the sword as if swallowing down saliva.
Mind and spirit merge with each other.
Hands and feet move without pause.
The front hand is fast as an arrow,
and the rear hand aims like a bow.
Be meticulous as a bird pecking grains,
fast as a shooting star at night.
Your bodys suppleness stores power.
Your bodys heaviness contains lightness.
The movement is like a monkey leaping.
The attitude is like a tiger crouching.
You are sweeping all aside within a den of monsters,
and even a whole army cannot escape.

SONG TWO



There have been many mystical sword arts since ancient times,
recorded too rarely in official histories, often exaggerated in unofficial
histories.
When we go in search of the real stuff, there are essentially no historical
documents for us,
and we seem left with racking our brains and groping about so much in the
dark
that perching skylarks are leaving no shadow,
nesting birds are flying to the wrong branches,
and all the fabulous birds of the forest are surging up lost in the sky,
for the flying dragons and dancing phoenixes have blotted out even the
stars!
All we can do is practice audaciously, with a steadfast energy and a
wholehearted devotion,
crissing and crossing, drawing in and stabbing out with great agility.
Techniques such as climbing the mountain or crossing the stream are
common enough,
but if you wish to seek the profound essence, you must scrutinize and ponder.
-

ELEVEN: A FEW POINTERS FOR LEARNING THE SWORD


1. In the beginning of learning the sword, it is best to start with one made of
bamboo or wood. Work with it until you have the basic idea of the body
maneuverings, footwork, and hand actions, then switch to a genuine steel
sword. In the beginning your body, hands, and feet will never seem to be doing
it right. You will always be feeling there is something somehow out of place, as
though you are full of aches. But you should be steadfast and patient. Gradually
it will seem to be more and more right until you are able to feel quite
comfortable in it, and then eventually you will even enter a state in which the
experience is downright pleasurable.


2. If you wish to learn sword sets, the best thing to do is start by practicing
boxing sets. The patterns in a sword set are usually based on boxing postures.
Devote yourself to empty-hand sets to develop a foundation (whether it be
Shaolin, Long Boxing, Cha Boxing, whatever), and then learning the sword art
will be easy. In movement, posture, footwork, intent, and energy, the Startling-
Rainbow Sword set is extremely similar to Taizu Long Boxing. Therefore if you
wish to practice the sword, first practice the boxing. This is equally true for all
weapons practice. Always begin with the boxing training to build a foundation.


3. In every task you undertake, you have to be persevering, including the
learning of a sword set. As difficult as it will be to learn it in the beginning, it will
be still more difficult to follow it through to the end. You must maintain a spirit
of sincerity. Clear your head by reducing your desires, sticking only to what is
relevant and genuine. Delve into it with an open mind, and as you come to
comprehend it, contemplate further. Put all your effort into the study of it, and
as you approach perfection, seek to perfect it even more. Wholeheartedly work
at it, for with diligent and unceasing practice, you will naturally succeed.


4. Sword practice typically involves a swordsmans hex. While your left hand is
holding the sword, your right hand is pinched into a swordsmans hex, and
while your right hand is holding the sword, your left hand pinches to make the
hex. To make the swordsmans hex, the thumb, ring finger, and little finger bend
in and join together, while the forefinger and middle finger are extended
together. It expresses seriousness and thereby assists the spirit. The sword goes
along with the movements of the hex, which adds to the sword postures and
further displays its artistry and demeanor. There are those who instead just use
a palm [as with a saber set], which is always equally acceptable, but the
conventional mentality is that the tradition is to usually use the swordsmans
hex. I find the use of the hex to be appropriate, as it keeps sword and saber more
distinct.


5. I divide the practice of the sword set into six levels:
i. training the shape getting the postures right,
ii. training the agility making the movements nimble,
iii. training the power imbuing the energy with force,
iv. training the spirit getting it to course through,
v. training the intention applying the techniques effectively,
vi. training the adaptability threading the techniques together
continuously.
Then take all six of these things and blend them to make an integrated whole.
Once you have refined it through practice, you will not only be able to perform
the set with ease, but also apply it effortlessly.


6. The sword art is concerned with making checking cuts to the wrist, sealing
cuts to the neck, stabbing attacks to the throat, and raising cuts to the groin.
When there is an opponent, cut the opponent. When there is no opponent,
cleave instead through an image of one. By responding to imaginary opponents,
you will arrive at understanding.
Spirit arrives, then power arrives, then the sword arrives. When every sword
action is authentic, no technique will miss.
Because times have changed and the present has lost touch with the past, I
have for each posture in this book:
[i] presented its scholarly name, with an explanation of its significance to
reveal its artistry,
[ii] then paraphrased it with a technical name so as to equip you with an
application,
[iii] as well as supplied a movement description for easy reference,
[iv] and also included a photo in order to supply a model to practice by.
In making the book, I took the artistry of the sword set as the primary
consideration and the applications as supplemental. By being always mindful of
what you get from your own experience of it, the artistry and applicability will
naturally come to complement each other.
-

TWELVE: STARTLING-RAINBOW SWORD POSTURE NAMES IN SEQUENCE

1. PREPARATION POSTURE

2. CROUCHING TIGER SHIFTS A STEP

3. IMMORTAL POINTS THE WAY

4. PASSIVE AND ACTIVE JOIN TO PROP UP

5. GAOZU SLAYS THE SERPENT

6. HIDDEN DRAGON WAITS TO BE UNLEASHED

7. NEEDLE CONCEALED IN THE SLEEVE

8. COILED DRAGON STABS THE TIGER

9. HAWK TURNS OVER

10. METEOR CHASES THE MOON

11. TURN AROUND, SHOOT THE GOOSE

12. THE JADE BEAM BLOCKS THE DOORWAY

13. CLIMB THE MOUNTAIN IN PURSUIT OF THE MOON

14. RUN THROUGH THE HILLS TO OFFER INCENSE

15. TURN AROUND, SHOOT THE GOOSE

16. THE JADE BEAM BLOCKS THE DOORWAY

17. POLITELY RETREATING THREE TIMES Part 1

18. POLITELY RETREATING THREE TIMES Part 2

19. TURNING DRAGON POINTS TO THE PEARL

20. BLACK TIGER STEALS THE HEART

21. NEZHA DISPLAYS HIS UNIVERSE RING

22. GREEDY WOLF TURNS AROUND

23. GOLDEN TOAD SPITS OUT THE RAINBOW

24. WIND SWEEPS AWAY THE FALLEN LEAVES

25. PLAYING THE JADE FLUTE

26. ERLANG CARRIES THE MOUNTAIN

27. SPIRIT BIRD FLIES OVER THE WATERFALL

28. LUNGE TO CHASE THE MOON

29. GRAND DUKE JIANG FISHES

30. GAOZU SLAYS THE SERPENT

31. THE CHASING WIND DRIVES THE BOAT

32. SPREADING EQUALLY TO BE LIKE THE AUTUMN MOON

33. BLACK TIGER HIDES ITS HEAD

34. GOING ALONG WITH THE CURRENT TO PUSH THE BOAT

35. GREEDY WOLF TURNS AROUND

36. BOY HONORS BUDDHA

37. MAIDEN WORKS THE SHUTTLE

38. ERLANG CARRIES THE MOUNTAIN

39. SWALLOW TAKES UP WATER Part 1

40. SWALLOW TAKES UP WATER Part 2

41. TURN AROUND, POUNCING TIGER

42. FLYING DRAGON, DANCING PHOENIX Part 1

43. FLYING DRAGON, DANCING PHOENIX Part 2

44. GOLDEN DRAGON EMBRACES THE PILLAR

45. HAWK CAPTURES ITS PREY

46. KUIXING HOLDS THE WRITING BRUSH

47. STABBING THE GIANT TURTLE UNDER THE SEA

48. RHINO GAZES AT THE MOON

49. GREEDY WOLF TURNS AROUND

50. GOLDEN DRAGON EMBRACES THE PILLAR

51. FORCEFUL CHOP THROUGH THREE GATES

52. EMBRACE THE MOON

53. NIGHT DEMON SEARCHES THE SEA

54. PYTHON TURNS AROUND Part 1

55. PYTHON TURNS AROUND Part 2

56. CLIMB THE MOUNTAIN IN PURSUIT OF THE MOON

57. CARP LEAPS THE DRAGON GATE

58. APRICOT BLOSSOMS AND SPRING RAIN

59. FLYING DRAGON, STARTLING RAINBOW

60. RETURNING THE JADE TO ZHAO INTACT
-

THIRTEEN: ORIENTATION CHART
[Whereas many manuals use mock compass directions to orient you through the
movements, Yin has chosen to use the far more confusing method of
establishing a Left and Right based on the direction you are facing in your
starting position, resulting in situations in which you will move to the Left while
moving to your right or face to the Front while turning to your rear, and so on,
forcing you to be extra mindful as to the direction intended.]

Rear

Right Rear Left Rear

Right Left

Right Front Left Front

Front

Notes:


1. The PREPARATION POSTURE faces forward. Whatever direction you move
toward Front or Rear, Left or Right they are always in accordance with this
initial position. The written explanation for every posture is modeled upon this
chart. The PREPARATION POSTURE is positioned at the cross in the center so
you can clearly determine your orientation.


2. In the photos of the postures, some postures will appear to be shifted from
their real orientation, in which case you should rely on the written text as the
standard.
-

[Sword in its scabbard]
-


Unsheathing the sword
-

FOURTEEN: THE SCHOLARLY NAMES, TECHNICAL NAMES, MOVEMENT
DESCRIPTIONS, AND PHOTOS OF THE POSTURES (including fifty-one
photos)

1. PREPARATION POSTURE


i. The significance of PREPARATION POSTURE:
This is the most important posture at the start of the set, a preparation for
movement. By way of naturalness of body and mind, spirit courses through.
Having overseen the whole of your surroundings, your eyes are now turned to
look straight ahead.


ii. Movement description:
Your head is upright, body straight. Your mouth is closed, teeth together,
tongue curled upward. Energy sinks to your elixir field. Your eyes are looking
straight ahead. You are in a natural standing posture. Your left hand is doing a
reverse grasping of the sword handle [whereas an orthodox grasp would have
the tigers mouth toward the hilt], gripping with the ring finger, little finger, and
thumb, while the middle finger and forefinger are instead extended toward the
pommel. The sword tip is pointing straight upward, touching the back of the
forearm. Your right hand is pinched to form a swordsmans hex and both
hands are touching the area of your hips. This completes the PREPARATION
POSTURE.

iii. The posture is as in the photo below:


2. CROUCHING TIGER SHIFTS A STEP


i. Scholarly name: CROUCHING TIGER SHIFTS A STEP
Your legs bend into a squat and you walk to the Front in a low stance, your
body swaying and your arms waving like a tiger beginning to wake and moving
forward a step, hence the name.

ii. Technical name: SWINGING ARMS WHILE WALKING LOW
My legs bend downward and I walk forward in a low stance. This posture can
train the springiness of the legs.


iii. Movement description:
From the previous posture, squat your body, bending your legs into a low
stance. First step out with your left leg as your right arm swings behind, then
step out with your right leg as your left arm swings behind, then step out again
with your left leg, completing a series of lively steps, as your left hand holds the
sword in a reverse grip and your right hand points out to the Front.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


3. IMMORTAL POINTS THE WAY


i. Scholarly name: IMMORTAL POINTS THE WAY
Your left leg changes to a bow stance, your right leg pressing, and your right
hand goes forward and upward, pointing away to the Left as if you are pointing
out a path, hence the name. (The pressing of your right leg means the arrow of
the bow & arrow stance.)


ii. Technical name: LEFT BRUSHING, RIGHT POINTING
Like in Taiji Boxing when I brush past my knee to my waist area, I use my left
hand to brush past my knee as my right hand goes upward to point away to the
Left.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, your body stands up and your right leg
moves up next to your left leg, making a return to the PREPARATION
POSTURE. Then open up by stepping your left leg into a bow stance, your left
hand brushing past your knee to be behind the left side of your body, your right
hands hex going upward to point to the Left, your gaze toward your hex.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


4. PASSIVE AND ACTIVE JOIN TO PROP UP


i. Scholarly name: PASSIVE AND ACTIVE JOIN TO PROP UP
Your left hand as the passive hand and your right hand as the active hand,
they join above and below to grab the sword handle, in the manner of receiving
the sword, hence the name.


ii. Technical name: RECEIVING THE SWORD
With my right hand withdrawing palm up and my left hand holding my
sword with the palm downward, they both withdraw to be below my right ribs.
At the same time, my legs bend and my body squats, the sword handle invisibly
switching into my right hand.


iii. Movement description:
Your left hand first raises upward then presses downward, your right hand
withdrawing, and your body sways along with the movement as both hands,
passive and active, join and prop up below your right ribs. At the same time,
your left leg withdraws to your right leg and they squat down together, and your
left hand switches the sword to your right hand without the posture changing.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


5. GAOZU SLAYS THE SERPENT


i. Scholarly name: GAOZU SLAYS THE SERPENT
There is a story of the Han Emperor Gaozu [also known as Liu Bang]
beheading a snake, and there are depictions of it that show him in such a pose.
This is a suitably artistic name for a posture in a sword dance.


ii. Technical name: EVADING WITH THE SWORD TO AWAIT THE
OPPONENT, also called RECEIVING THE SWORD AND AWAITING THE
CHANCE TO BRANDISH IT
My left hands hex now points forth and my right hand holds my sword in a
posture of intending to brandish it.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, your body lifts into a one-legged
stance on your right leg, your left leg lifting with the toes hooking back toward
your crotch, while your left hand points as a swordsmans hex to the Left, your
right hand holding the sword so that the sword body is half hidden below your
right ribs, and your attention is forward.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


6. HIDDEN DRAGON WAITS TO BE UNLEASHED

i. Scholarly name: HIDDEN DRAGON WAITS TO BE UNLEASHED
The sword tip goes upward in a reverse raising action in front of your headtop
as though deflecting, hence the name.


ii. Technical name: DEFLECTING WITH THE EDGE, INTENDING TO STAB
The body of my sword lifts up, my wrist turned over so the sword tip is half
raised in a posture of readiness to make a downward action.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, your stance does not change, but your
right hand lifts up, the wrist turning over so the sword handle is raised upward
and the tip slightly downward. Your left hands hex goes along with the sword by
angling toward the tip, your eyes putting their full attention toward the tip.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


7. NEEDLE CONCEALED IN THE SLEEVE


i. Scholarly name: NEEDLE CONCEALED IN THE SLEEVE
Lowering your left foot, your torso twists to be diagonal, the sword going
along with the movement by going downward then turning upward so the sword
body is diagonal in front of your chest, showing the half with the tip, hence the
name.


ii. Technical name: CONCEALED SWORD WAITING TO STAB
From the previous posture, the enemy stabs to my lower body, so I stick my
sword downward to deflect his weapon, then bring the sword body in to guard in
front of my chest, in readiness to attack with a stab.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, twist your torso while bringing down
your left foot, the sword tip lowering then turning over upward so the sword
body is guarding close in front of your chest, your legs making an overlapping
stance. Your right wrist is turned over so the center of the hand is facing inward,
your hex touching it.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


8. COILED DRAGON STABS THE TIGER

i. Scholarly name: COILED DRAGON STABS THE TIGER
This represents crossing your stance and squatting down sitting twisted while
stabbing out with the sword.

ii. Technical name: TWISTED STANCE, DOWNWARD STAB
Sitting cross-legged, I thrust forward to the opponents foot.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, first step out your right leg, then step
your left leg through, covered over by your right leg, and both legs squat down
in unison into a sitting twisted stance. The sword goes along with the sitting by
stabbing diagonally downward while your hex moves to extend bent above your
head to assist the posture, your gaze toward the sword tip.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


9. HAWK TURNS OVER


i. Scholarly name: HAWK TURNS OVER
Continuing from the previous posture, your legs rise to standing and the
sword goes along with your body as your body spins all the way around then
goes along with the momentum by chopping downward, hence the name.

ii. Technical name: TURN AROUND AND CHOP
My stab to the opponent did not work, so I immediately spin around intent
upon chopping him.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, your legs rise to standing, your body
goes along with your feet by spinning, and the sword goes along with your body
by arcing in a complete circle to chop diagonally downward. You are in a stance
of left bow, right arrow. Your hex is extended diagonally upward to assist the
posture.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


10. METEOR CHASES THE MOON

i. Scholarly name: METEOR CHASES THE MOON
The sword continues into two more circles as though tracing the moon and
the sword is making shining streaks like shooting stars, hence the name.


ii. Technical name: CONTINUOUS CHOPPING
My right leg advances with a chop of my sword, then my left leg steps through
with another chop. With these two chops continuously cleaving through, the
opponent has no gap to exploit.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, first advance with your right leg as the
sword goes inward from below, turning over upward, and makes a complete
circle. Then when your left leg steps through behind your right leg, the sword
arcs again through the same circle, and with your legs crossed and sitting down,
the body of the sword cleaves downward. Your hex swings in flourishes along
with the swords actions, finally stretching out to the rear to assist the posture.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


11. TURN AROUND, SHOOT THE GOOSE


i. Scholarly name: TURN AROUND, SHOOT THE GOOSE
Your body turns around and the sword tip extends diagonally upward, your
swordsmans hex pointing upward along the same path. It is like you are about
to draw a bow to shoot a goose in flight, hence the name.


ii. Technical name: TURN AROUND, STAB UPWARD
While I am in the previous technique, an opponent comes at me from behind
with a surprise attack, so I suddenly turn around, standing up, and stab upward
to his face.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, your body goes along with your legs as
they stand by twisting around to the left, and once you are squarely facing to the
Front, make a stance of left bow and right arrow, the sword extending upward to
the Front. Your hex extends parallel and your gaze is to the sword tip.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


12. THE JADE BEAM BLOCKS THE DOORWAY


i. Scholarly name: THE JADE BEAM BLOCKS THE DOORWAY
Use the sword to prop upward crosswise in front of your headtop, like a
horizontal beam, to protect your forehead, hence the name.


ii. Technical name: BLOCK, PROPPING UP THE OPPONENTS WEAPON
If an opponent is using a long weapon to attack my head, I prop it up with my
sword held horizontally.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, advance your right leg as the sword
slightly withdraws pushing downward. The sword then props upward crosswise
above your forehead as your left leg lifts, your right leg now in a one-legged
stance, your hex close below the sword tip. Your head is slightly leaned back,
your gaze toward the sword body.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


13. CLIMB THE MOUNTAIN IN PURSUIT OF THE MOON


i. Scholarly name: CLIMB THE MOUNTAIN IN PURSUIT OF THE MOON
The sword goes forward and upward as though pointing at the moon in the
sky,
and you are in a bow stance as though you are climbing a mountain, hence the
name.

ii. Technical name: GOING DIAGONALLY UPWARD WITH A CHASING STAB
From the previous posture, I suddenly draw in my sword and take advantage
of the opportunity to make a filing stab to the opponents face.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, your left foot comes down advancing
into a bow stance while the sword lowers in front of you, extended diagonally
upward, your hex extending upward to cover your head, assisting the posture.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


14. RUN THROUGH THE HILLS TO OFFER INCENSE


i. Scholarly name: RUN THROUGH THE HILLS TO OFFER INCENSE
Continue by advancing and stepping through into a sitting twisted stance
with the sword body vertical as though you are inserting a stick of incense,
hence the name.


ii. Technical name: TWISTED STANCE, FILE CUT TO THE OPPONENT
While in the previous posture, the opponent stabs to my lower body, so I use
my sword in a hanging action to deflect his weapon, then advance to close in on
his body with my sword filing downward upon him.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, your right leg advances, the sword
withdrawing and making a full circle, coming downward from above with the tip
straight up as your left leg steps through behind your right leg into a sitting
twisted stance, your hex near your right wrist.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


15. TURN AROUND, SHOOT THE GOOSE Same as Posture 10 [11].

16. THE JADE BEAM BLOCKS THE DOORWAY Same as Posture 11 [12].

17. POLITELY RETREATING THREE TIMES Part 1


i. Scholarly name: POLITELY RETREATING THE TIMES
While spreading above and defending below, this posture retreats three
times, hence the name.

ii. Technical name: SPREADING ABOVE WHILE RETREATING LEFT
The opponent attacks my head, so I retreat my left leg, bringing my sword
upward to deflect his weapon.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, your left leg retreats a step to make a
stance of right bow and left arrow while the sword blocks aside to the Right and
your hex spreads away to point to the Left.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


18. POLITELY RETREATING THREE TIMES Part 2

i. Scholarly name: POLITELY RETREATING THREE TIMES
Same as in the previous posture, now defending downward while retreating.


ii. Technical name: RETREATING RIGHT WHILE COVERING BELOW
As my sword spreads above, the opponent takes advantage of the gap to stab
to my lower body, so I quickly retreat my right leg while using my sword to
cover over his with a checking action.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, retreat your right leg to be a
straightened arrow to your left legs bow while sending the sword to cover in
front of your lower body, your left hand joining in holding the sword handle.
Parts 1 and 2 are performed continuously a total of three times [i.e. defending
above, below, above, below, above, below] to fulfill the name of the technique.

iv. This is the second posture in POLITELY RETREATING THREE TIMES:


19. TURNING DRAGON POINTS TO THE PEARL


i. Scholarly name: TURNING DRAGON POINTS TO THE PEARL
As your body twists around grandly, the sword suddenly rises, turning over,
then chops down behind you, with a tapping power in the tip, hence the name.


ii. Technical name: TURN AROUND, TAPPING CHOP
While in the previous posture, an opponent comes at me from behind with a
surprise attack, so I suddenly turn around and do a tapping chop downward
behind me with a flicking energy.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, your right leg changes from arrow to
bow, your left leg from bow to arrow, your body twisting around. The sword
goes along with the movement by chopping down behind you from above, your
left hand as a hex extending upward to assist the posture.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


20. BLACK TIGER STEALS THE HEART


i. Scholarly name: BLACK TIGER STEALS THE HEART, also called BEE
BORES INTO THE FLOWER
To catch an opponent unprepared, thrust the sword straight to his solar
plexus, hence the name.


ii. Technical name: DIRECT AND LEVEL SWORD THRUST
While in the previous posture, an opponent comes at me from behind, so I
suddenly withdraw my left leg while turning my body and thrust my sword
straight to his solar plexus.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, stand up with your right leg,
withdrawing your left leg, and make a stance of standing straight, facing to the
Front, the sword stabbing out level from below, stretching to the Front, your hex
again moving to guard your headtop to assist the posture.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


21. NEZHA DISPLAYS HIS UNIVERSE RING


i. Scholarly name: NEZHA DISPLAYS HIS UNIVERSE RING
The sword draws a circle in front of you so large, it seems to be making a
shape all around you, hence the name.


ii. Technical name: THE SWORD PROTECTS THE WHOLE BODY
The opponent attacks me both above and below, so I block above and deflect
below, my sword flourishing so quickly that he has no way through.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, the sword withdraws toward your
chest by first lowering to the left, then turning upward to the right. During the
movement, your wrist in front of your chest turns over and makes the sword
trace a large circle in front of you which then brings the sword vertical in front
of your left shoulder as you lift your right leg, your left hand assisting by
guarding at the sword handle.

[iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:]


22. GREEDY WOLF TURNS AROUND


i. Scholarly name: GREEDY WOLF TURNS AROUND, also called GREEDY
WOLF POSTURE
Quickly turn around with the sword cleaving straight down to the opponents
face, the metaphor alluding to the ferocity of a wolf, hence the name.

ii. Technical name: TURN AROUND, CLEAVING VERTICALLY
I turn around with fierceness, and with my sword diagonally vertical, I cleave
straight to an opponents face.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, which was facing to the Front, bring
down your right foot, then your left leg steps to the Right as your body turns
around to your right, and you make a stance of right bow and left arrow, facing
to the Left Rear. The sword is diagonally vertical and your hex is extended
diagonally upward to assist the posture.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


23. GOLDEN TOAD SPITS OUT THE RAINBOW


i. Scholarly name: GOLDEN TOAD SPITS OUT THE RAINBOW
Your whole body is curled up on the ground with only the sword tip sticking
out upward like a streak of rainbow shining.


ii. Technical name: SITTING TWISTED, THRUSTING UPWARD
While in the previous posture, an opponent stabs to my right leg, so I
urgently withdraw it a step, deflecting his weapon with my sword, and suddenly
twist downward until curled up on the ground, using my sword to stab straight
upward to his throat.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, your right leg withdraws a step behind
you, the sword going along with the movement by going downward into a rolling
flourish, then your left leg steps through under your right leg so you are twisted
and curled up on the ground, the sword edge extending straight upward, your
hex near the top of your left shoulder to assist the posture.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


24. WIND SWEEPS AWAY THE FALLEN LEAVES


i. Scholarly name: WIND SWEEPS AWAY THE FALLEN LEAVES
Carry the sword level, the tip facing outward, as you twist all the way around
like a swirling wind blowing the leaves.


ii. Technical name: FLING OUT THE SWORD TO PROTECT THE BODY
When in the previous posture, a crowd of opponents close in on me, so I
suddenly rise up, using my sword to sweep across and protect my body.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, your legs stand, still crossed, the
sword lowering until at shoulder level, both hands extending level, and turn
your body all the way around [to your left] until squared to the Front, your legs
again crossed.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


25. PLAYING THE JADE FLUTE


i. Scholarly name: PLAYING THE JADE FLUTE
The sword is placed higher than your chest and lower than your chin,
somewhat nearing your mouth, and is held horizontally like a flute, your hex
seeming to press at one of the flutes holes, hence the name.

ii. Technical name: BRINGING THE SWORD ACROSS TO WATCH FOR WHAT
WILL COME
After flinging the sword all the way around my body, I place it upward in
front of my chest and observe the opponents actions.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, your right foot draws in close to your
left leg, making a left one-legged stance, while the sword lowers in front of you
into a rolling flourish, and props up in front of your chin, your hex coming in to
assist at the sword handle.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


26. ERLANG CARRIES THE MOUNTAIN

i. Scholarly name: ERLANG CARRIES THE MOUNTAIN
Sword and hex extend level to Right and Left, like a man carrying something
on his shoulders, hence the name.


ii. Technical name: HANDS SPREADING WITH A LEVEL STAB
From the previous posture, my sword tip stabs out to the Right as I switch to
a right one-legged stance, then I extend my hex to the Left, where my attention
goes.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, your right foot comes down, stepping
out to the Right, and your left leg lifts. At the same time, the sword tip extends
level to the right and your hex extends level to the Left to assist the posture.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


27. SPIRIT BIRD FLIES OVER THE WATERFALL


i. Scholarly name: SPIRIT BIRD FLIES OVER THE WATERFALL, also called
EMBRACE THE MOON
Lift your left leg and throw it across with your left arm, like a bird quickly
flying over a waterfall, to end up in the posture in the photo, which is called
EMBRACE THE MOON.


ii. Technical name: TWISTING BODY, FILING CHOP
I throw my lifted left leg to my left, my right leg following along, the sword
coming down diagonally with a filing chop. [This movement is similar to doing a
whirlwind kick ending with a planting punch.]


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, lift your left leg across behind you and
bring it down, your left hand going along with it, and the sword comes down
from over your head with a filing chop as your right leg squats down with your
left leg, the sword gathering in below your belly, the tip diagonally upward. The
posture at the end of the movement is called EMBRACE THE MOON.

iv. This posture finishes its movement with EMBRACE THE MOON, as in the
photo below:


28. LUNGE TO CHASE THE MOON

i. Scholarly name: LUNGE TO CHASE THE MOON
This relates to leaping and advancing to urgently pursue, the posture seeming
to chase, hence the name.


ii. Technical name: JUMPING STEP, CHASING CHOP
While I am in the posture of EMBRACE THE MOON, an opponent charges at
me from behind to make a surprise attack, so I suddenly turn around and lunge
in to meet him with a chop.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, your right foot jumps, then your left
foot advances a step, continuing into your right foot advancing a step. The
sword goes along with the steps by chopping down from above, your hex going
diagonally above you to assist the posture. The final posture is the same as in
TURNING DRAGON POINTS TO THE PEARL, but this time facing to the Left.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


29. GRAND DUKE JIANG FISHES


i. Scholarly name: GRAND DUKE JIANG FISHES
Bending your legs and bending at the waist, turn over your wrist so the sword
is pointing diagonally upward like a fishing pole, putting you in a posture like
you are angling with a fishing line, hence the name.


ii. Technical name: BLOCKING CUT, REVERSE RAISING
While in the previous posture, the opponent advances with a stab to my lower
abdomen, so I withdraw my sword, lifting it to intercept, then take advantage of
the moment by turning it over into an upward raising cut to his wrist.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, first bring in your left foot to stand
next to your right foot, then your right foot lifts and shifts forward, slightly
empty, as the sword withdraws, lifting until in front of your chest, the wrist
turned over, the sword tip moving outward with a reverse raising cut, both legs
bending down together. Your hex has come in to touch the sword handle, the
sword tip is diagonally upward, and your gaze is toward it.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


30. GAOZU SLAYS THE SERPENT Continuing from the previous posture,
your left foot is full and now your right foot advances, then your left leg lifts to
make a right one-legged stance as in Posture 5.

31. THE CHASING WIND DRIVES THE BOAT

i. Scholarly name: THE CHASING WIND DRIVES THE BOAT
Rush forward with rapid steps, including a jump, like the wind blowing,
hence the name.


ii. Technical name: FOLLOW THE OPPONENTS TRAIL TO CHASE HIM
In the previous posture, the opponents attack did not work and he wants to
escape, so I quickly step, continuing into a jump, and rapidly advance with a
chasing stab.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, your left foot comes down advancing a
step, your right foot also advances a step, then your left foot steps as a jump,
your right foot advances, and your left foot advances again, making a bow
stance, while the sword extends together with your hex.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


32. SPREADING EQUALLY TO BE LIKE THE AUTUMN MOON


i. Scholarly name: SPREADING EQUALLY TO BE LIKE THE AUTUMN MOON
Your hands spread apart equally, extending level to the Left and Right,
emptying the space in front of your chest like a valley, until expressing the
fullness of the autumn moon [i.e. the full moon of the Mid-Autumn Festival, the
hands spreading equally also reflecting the division between early autumn
ending and late autumn beginning],
hence the name.


ii. Technical name: TURNING OVER THE SWORD, FLING IT ACROSS
While in the previous posture, another opponent comes to attack me from
behind, so I suddenly turn around and fling my sword across as a passive
sword.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, as a passive sword (meaning the
center of the hand faces downward [turning over from facing to your left as in
the previous posture]), the sword lowers to be level [having been stabbing
slightly upward], and once the sword body is turned over, it flings across in a
large semicircle, both hands spreading apart to be extended level, [as you turn
around and step back with your right foot,] your stance becoming right bow, left
arrow [left bow, right arrow].

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


33. BLACK TIGER HIDES ITS HEAD


i. Scholarly name: BLACK TIGER HIDES ITS HEAD
Your hands come together and embrace, then you draw in the sword propped
up in front of your chest, with the appearance of a tiger wrapping in its front
legs, hence the name. [As a tiger crouches in the grass, observing prey and
readying itself to pounce, it lowers itself to the point that it seems about to wrap
its paws all the way over its head. The connotation of a tiger hiding its head or
covering its head or holding its head is a tiger in a posture of preparing to
pounce.]


ii. Technical name: HAVING FLUNG ACROSS, DRAW IN WITH A FILING CUT
I advance toward the opponent in front of me, flinging my sword across to his
waist, then draw in with a filing cut in front of my chest (as per Posture 35 of my
Taiji Sword book).


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, your hands embrace in front of you [as
your right leg steps forward into a right bow stance,] then your hands draw in
until below navel level as your left leg slightly bends into a squat and your right
leg slightly withdraws into an empty stance, toes touching down, making a half-
crouched posture, the sword tip pointing diagonally forward to the Right.

iv. The middle of this postures movement is as in the photo below:

[The photo from his Taiji Sword book shows this posture at the end of its
movement:]


34. GOING ALONG WITH THE CURRENT TO PUSH THE BOAT


i. Scholarly name: GOING ALONG WITH THE CURRENT TO PUSH THE
BOAT
The sword turns over and lifts up hanging at an angle as your left foot
advances, your hex near to the inside of the sword body, so you have the
appearance of pushing something, hence the name.

ii. Technical name: BLOCKING THE OPPONENTS WEAPON
If the opponent attacks my belly, I quickly withdraw my sword and push it
outward to intercept his weapon.


iii. Movement description:
The sword turns over and goes upward from below, and when it has turned to
the point that the tip is in front pointing diagonally downward, you have
advanced into a left bow stance, your right hand hanging the sword upside-
down and pointing away diagonally, your hex near though not touching to the
inside of the sword body.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


35. GREEDY WOLF TURNS AROUND same as Posture 22.

36. BOY HONORS BUDDHA

i. Scholarly name: BOY HONORS BUDDHA
Bend your legs into a half squat, the sword guarding, your hex in a prayer-
hand position as if honoring the Buddha.


ii. Technical name: LOWERING TO OBSERVE THE OPPONENT
While in the previous posture, an opponent [behind me] stabs to my lower
body, so I quickly withdraw my right leg while using my sword to deflect his
weapon, shortening my body by squatting down, and observe for what he will do
next.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, [turn around and] lower the sword by
your right thigh as your left leg steps through to be under your right leg and they
squat in unison, the sword below your right ribs, your hex facing forward
[though pointing upward] to the Left.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


37. MAIDEN WORKS THE SHUTTLE


i. Scholarly name: MAIDEN WORKS THE SHUTTLE
While advancing with your steps, your hands swing, the sword making
actions of stabbing out then drawing in, like the operations of the shuttle when
weaving cloth, hence the name.


ii. Technical name: FLOWING FROM STABBING TO DRAWING IN
My sword advances with the advancing of my left [right] foot, then draws in
with the advancing of my right [left] foot, continuing from one action to the
other.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, first step out with your left [right]
foot, sending out the sword as your hex swings behind you, then step out with
your right [left] foot, sending out your hex as the sword defends below your
right ribs, your right leg straight and lightly touching down.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


38. ERLANG CARRIES THE MOUNTAIN Your right foot fills and stands one-
legged as your left foot lifts and you turn to face to the Right. It is the same as
Posture 26, but this time facing to the Right.

39. SWALLOW TAKES UP WATER Part 1


i. Scholarly name: SWALLOW TAKES UP WATER
Run with the sword tip behind you diagonally lifting and tapping down, like a
swallow tapping the water as it flies over it, hence the name.


ii. Technical name: FEIGN DEFEAT TO LURE IN THE OPPONENT
While in the previous posture, the opponent stabs to my lower body, so I
bring down my left foot, my right leg straightening to make a bow and arrow
stance, my sword doing a tapping chop parallel with my right leg to deflect his
weapon.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, your left foot comes down into a bow
stance, your right straightening like an arrow, the sword lowering to guard to
the outside of your right leg as your hex extends diagonally upward. Your gaze is
turned back toward the sword tip. The posture is as in the photo below:


40. SWALLOW TAKES UP WATER Part 2


i. Scholarly name: SWALLOW TAKES UP WATER Same as the explanation in
the previous posture.

ii. Technical name: FEIGN DEFEAT TO LURE IN THE OPPONENT
Running away feigning defeat, the opponent chases me and I quickly flee,
waiting for the most advantageous moment.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, your right leg advances a step,
covering your left knee to make an overlapping stance, your hex staying as it is
while the sword again taps down.
Parts 1 and 2 are performed continuously three times [To clarify, Parts 1 and
2 and a repeat of Part 1 are performed continuously three times, stepping left
bow, then right overlapping, then left bow, performing a total of three taps.],
and so the technique could be called SWALLOW TAKES UP THREE GULPS OF
WATER. But the number of steps does not really matter, only that the pace of
the stepping is appropriate to smoothly flow into the following posture.

iv. The middle of this postures movement is as in the photo below:


41. TURN AROUND, POUNCING TIGER


i. Scholarly name: TURN AROUND, POUNCING TIGER
Twist your waist and turn around, your right leg flattening out below as the
sword cleaves downward, hence the name.


ii. Technical name: IN THE MIDST OF DEFEAT, SEIZE VICTORY
From feigning defeat, I suddenly turn around with my sword cleaving
downward, taking the opponent by surprise to defeat him.


iii. Movement description:
Having just repeated Part 1 of SWALLOW TAKES UP WATER, twist your
waist and turn your body, using your left foot as a pivot, your right leg lifting
and going along with your body as it spins around to your left, and then the
sword cleaves downward to the inside of your straightened right leg, your hex
pointing in the same direction as your right leg to assist the posture.

iv. This postures final movement is as in the photo below:


42. FLYING DRAGON, DANCING PHOENIX Part 1


i. Scholarly name: FLYING DRAGON, DANCING PHOENIX
Walk with lively steps, twisting thighs, swinging arms, and dancing sword,
the movement swaying and curving like flying and dancing, hence the name.


ii. Technical name: ADVANCING, RAISING RIGHT THEN LEFT
From the previous posture, I turn over my right wrist and send my sword
upward with a filing cut to deflect the opponents weapon, then I advance with
my sword doing a raising cut to the opponents chest.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, your left [right] wrist turns over as the
sword lifts up. Once at headtop level, the sword again goes downward, tracing a
large circle [on your left side] as your right foot lifts a moment and your left leg
advances, the sword tip moving diagonally upward, your hex pointing upward.

iv. The middle [finish] of this postures movement is as in the photo below [This
and the following photo had accidentally been switched with each other in the
original book.]:


43. FLYING DRAGON, DANCING PHOENIX Part 2

i. Scholarly name: FLYING DRAGON, DANCING PHOENIX
Twisting waist, swinging arms, gliding steps, dancing sword, movement like
dancing and flying, as explained above.


ii. Technical name: SWORD SWINGS LEFT THEN RIGHT
First I had swung my sword to the left into a raising cut while advancing, now
I swing my sword to the right into a raising cut while advancing, going
continuously from left to right to keep the opponent from getting a way in.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, the sword goes behind you, then does
a reverse raising cut to the Left as your right leg advances.
(Then you will repeat Part 1, and then turn your torso so it is squared to the
Front, both legs still in a bow stance, your arms extending diagonally upward to
both sides, slightly bent.)

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


44. GOLDEN DRAGON EMBRACES THE PILLAR


i. Scholarly name: GOLDEN DRAGON EMBRACES THE PILLAR
Standing on one leg, the sword body guarding diagonally in front of your
chest so that only the tip half of the sword is showing, your hex goes above your
headtop like a dragons tail, hence the name.


ii. Technical name: ONE-LEGGED STANCE, GUARDING WITH THE SWORD
Not every posture in a sword set has practical function, some being simply
transitions between techniques. If it had only fighting postures, it would have
less artistic flavor. In this posture, I am guarding with my sword while observing
for how the opponent will move next.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, the sword does a rolling flourish and
the wrist comes over to your left side to hang down in front of your abdomen,
the tip half of the sword showing above your right shoulder, as your right leg
lifts, your left leg standing one-legged, your hex guarding above your headtop.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


45. HAWK CAPTURES ITS PREY


i. Scholarly name: HAWK CAPTURES ITS PREY
Jump, body twisting, and squat down, the sword coming down as though
catching something, in the manner of a hawk descending from the sky, hence
the name.


ii. Technical name: SITTING TWISTED, CLEAVING THROUGH
I use my sword to deflect away the opponents weapon, turning my body, and
advance into a sitting twisted stance with my sword cleaving down from above
toward his foot.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, bring down your right leg, pushing out
the sword body then bringing it downward to deflect the opponents weapon.
Then your left foot advances and your right leg steps through behind your left
knee, both legs squatting down, while the sword continues downward, turns
over upward, and comes down again, your hex going along with the movement
by pushing down on the sword handle.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


46. KUIXING HOLDS THE WRITING BRUSH


i. Scholarly name: KUIXING HOLDS THE WRITING BRUSH
Your right hand holds the sword horizontally above your headtop, like the
statues of Kuixing pointing out who the top scholar is, hence the name.


ii. Technical name: PROPPING UPWARD
While in the previous posture, the opponent uses his weapon to attack my
head, so I suddenly rise up while propping my sword up to protect my head.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, your body rises and the sword props
up, the wrist turning over. At the same time, your left leg lifts and your right leg
stands one-legged, your hex extending upward to point toward the sword tip
from below.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


47. STABBING THE GIANT TURTLE UNDER THE SEA


i. Scholarly name: STABBING THE GIANT TURTLE UNDER THE SEA
Go into a right one-legged stance, your left leg bending and lifting, the sword
stabbing diagonally downward toward the ground, hence the name.


ii. Technical name: TWISTING BODY, DOWNWARD STAB
The opponent stabs to my lower body, so I stick my sword tip downward to
deflect his weapon, then turn it upward then again downward to stab to his foot.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, your left foot comes down, your body
twisting to your left, the sword following the movement downward, then your
right leg stands one-legged, the sword tip turning over upward then downward
as your left leg bends in and lifts to guard your crotch, your hex moving to guard
above your headtop.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


48. RHINO GAZES AT THE MOON


i. Scholarly name: RHINO GAZES AT THE MOON
Turning your head to gaze behind, the sword aligns parallel with your
sideways glance, as if your angled gaze falls upon the moon, hence the name.


ii. Technical name: REVERSE RAISING, FILING CUT TO THE WRIST
While in the previous posture, the opponent intends to stab to may chest, so I
adapt, sending my sword tip upward and pulling in with a filing cut to his wrist.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, quickly bring down your left leg into a
bow stance, right leg straightening, while turning your wrist over and raising the
sword upward, your body twisting to be halfway looking back, the sword going
along with your body by pulling in to be horizontal in front of your chest, your
hex touching the sword handle.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


49. GREEDY WOLF TURNS AROUND same as Posture 32.

50. GOLDEN DRAGON EMBRACES THE PILLAR same as Posture 44, but
this time facing to the Left Rear.

51. FORCEFUL CHOP THROUGH THREE GATES

i. Scholarly name: FORCEFUL CHOP THROUGH THREE GATES
Stab diagonally downward in an overlapping stance, then continuously turn
around chopping downward three times, hence the name.


ii. Technical name: TURNING AROUND WITH CONTINUOUS CHOPPING
Having missed after stabbing diagonally downward in an overlapping stance,
I then turn around chopping downward three times without pause, making it
hard for the opponent to parry.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, your right leg comes down and your
left leg steps through behind your right leg as the sword stabs diagonally
downward, your hex extending upward, then your body twists into turning all
the way around while chopping downward, which is done three times, then
finishing in the same ending posture as in Posture 9.

iv. The middle of this postures movement is as in the photo below:


52. EMBRACE THE MOON same as the end of Posture 27 in that the sword is
withdrawn in front of your chest and you squat down with your right foot
empty, but this time facing to the Right Front.

53. NIGHT DEMON SEARCHES THE SEA


i. Scholarly name: NIGHT DEMON SEARCHES THE SEA
When employing scholarly names, many are names of venerated ancient
postures, the names reused to establish association with their original artistry,
and the name of this posture follows the convention.

ii. Technical name: REACH WITH YOUR BODY TO STAB THE OPPONENT
I reach with my body, my sword stabbing diagonally downward in front of
me, my left leg straightening to assist the posture.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, your right leg slightly advances and
your left leg lifts high, your body reaching out until diagonal while the sword
stabs diagonally downward, your hex extending diagonally upward to assist the
posture.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


54. PYTHON TURNS AROUND Part 1

i. Scholarly name: PYTHON TURNS AROUND
Using your right foot as a pivot, the sword waves as your body sways in a
sudden change of shape, hence the name.


ii. Technical name: DEFLECTING UPWARD, HANGING DOWNWARD
My sword first carries upward to deflect the opponents weapon, and as my
left leg gathers in to be placed emptily in front of me, my sword hangs upside
down.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, the sword lifts up then turns
downward and traces a circle until hanging upside down in front of your chest.
At the same time, your left leg gathers in along with the twisting of your body to
be lifted up in front of your body, your hex near the inside edge of the sword.
This is almost the same as Taiji Swords SMALL KUIXING POSTURE [Posture
14 in his Taiji Sword manual].

iv. The middle of this postures movement is as in the photo below:


55. PYTHON TURNS AROUND Part 2

i. Scholarly name: PYTHON TURNS AROUND
Same as explained in the previous posture.


ii. Technical name: TURN AROUND, PROPPING UP
I continue turning around from the previous posture, my sword propping
away over my head. Keep in mind these are only postures for practice. The
sword art is not a rigid thing. Its techniques do not have to occur only within
specific postures. There is no pattern in an actual fight, and so you will have to
adapt to the situation.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, pivot again on your right foot, your
body turning around to your right, and as the sword flings out, your feet step
into a horse-riding stance facing to the Rear, the sword body standing
diagonally, your hex extended level to assist the posture.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


56. CLIMB THE MOUNTAIN IN PURSUIT OF THE MOON Same as Posture
13.

57. CARP LEAPS THE DRAGON GATE


i. Scholarly name: CARP LEAPS THE DRAGON GATE
The sword waves as you jump forward to the Right, then the sword extends
upward from below like a fish leaping.


ii. Technical name: JUMPING STEP, CHASING ATTACK
The opponent stabs at me and I urgently scoop it aside. If he then wants to
escape, I quickly leap forward to chase him and send out my sword with a
chasing stab.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, the sword lowers and draws in, then
you advance your right foot, leaping up, continuing into advancing with your left
foot, then right foot, and make a stance of right bow and left arrow, the sword
extending slightly upward, your hex extending diagonally upward. The posture
is the same as in CLIMB THE MOUNTAIN IN PURSUIT OF THE MOON, but in
this case with a right bow stance.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below:


58. APRICOT BLOSSOMS AND SPRING RAIN


i. Scholarly name: APRICOT BLOSSOMS AND SPRING RAIN
The sword withdraws from stabbing, waves across in front of you three times
like falling rain, then does a rolling flourish [as in flower] which brings it in to
be stored below your right ribs, hence the name.


ii. Technical name: WIPING AND FILING TO BOTH SIDES
My sword horizontal in front of me does a wiping and filing action side to
side a few times, then does a rolling flourish to put me in a defensive posture.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, the sword withdraws pointing as you
switch to a horse-riding stance, weaves back and forth three times [to the left,
right, left] with your hex swinging along with it. Then the sword does a rolling
flourish and settles below your right ribs, your right leg squatting down, your
left leg lightly touching down forward, your hex extending forward and pointing
upward.

iv. This posture finishes its movement as in the photo below [although the text
describes the position of the hands as being closer to what the hands are doing
in the photo for Posture 5]:


59. FLYING DRAGON, STARTLING RAINBOW


i. Scholarly name: FLYING DRAGON, STARTLING RAINBOW
At the end of the sword set, your right hand tosses the sword up into the air,
spinning like a dragon. When the dragon rises, the rainbow gets scattered [i.e.
The glinting of the spinning sword (spinning rapidly widthwise, not flipping
clumsily lengthwise) creates a slight strobing effect, reminiscent of the
uniqueness of seeing a nine-colored rainbow.], hence the name.


ii. Technical name: SWORD GOES INTO THE AIR, THEN IS GATHERED IN
I throw the sword up into the air with my right hand, and when the sword
comes down, catch it with my left hand. This trains hand-eye coordination.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, your right hand tosses the sword up
into the air with a spin. When it comes down, your left hand catches it at the
handle, the body of the sword vertical, tip hanging down. Your eyes are looking
upward [toward the caught handle], your hex now switched to your right hand,
which is hanging down.

iv. The movement of the sword flying up is as in the photo below:


60. RETURNING THE JADE TO ZHAO INTACT


i. Scholarly name: RETURNING THE JADE TO ZHAO INTACT
In the beginning of the set, the sword is switched from your left hand to your
right. At the end, it is returned from your right hand to your left, returning to
your original position, hence the name.

ii. Technical name: CATCH THE SWORD, RETURN TO THE ORIGINAL
POSITION
My left hand has caught the sword out of the air and I return to the
PREPARATION POSTURE.


iii. Movement description:
Continuing from the previous posture, your left wrist turns over as both arms
hang down, left hand holding the sword, right hand pinched into a hex, your left
foot taking a step back, right foot following to stand next to it, returning you to
the PREPARATION POSTURE at the beginning.

iv. This completes the entire set.

-

FIFTEEN: SOME THINGS I HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THE ART OF THE
STARTLING-RAINBOW SWORD


Since ancient times, there have been a great many famous swords as well as
great many sword arts, and nowadays there are more sword arts than ever
before, such as Chunyang Sword, Taiji Sword, Six Unions Sword, Eight
Immortals Sword, Triple-Substance Sword, and so on, too many to count. I have
loved all the various sword sets I have learned from my teachers, but my favorite
is the Startling-Rainbow Sword. [Being an example of the external school, he
would presumably have received it from his earlier teacher, Fu Tingjie. As for
the origin of sets name, a story goes that there was a meditating man who
noticed a surprising rainbow. He was startled when he realized he was looking
at a rainbow that had not merely the usual seven colors, but nine red, orange,
yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, plus yin-ness and yang-ness and the sight of
it, or perhaps we should say the insight of it, sparked his enlightenment.] The
most exquisite thing about it is its nine mother techniques [one technique for
each of the nine colors, though without any indication of a coordinating of the
techniques with specific colors]:
1. HIDING THE TREASURE [or NEEDLE see Posture 7]
2. BLOCKING THE DOORWAY [Postures 12 and 16]
3. STEALING THE HEART [Posture 20]
4. GREEDY AS A WOLF [Postures 22, 35, 49]
5. CHASING THE MOON [Posture 28]
6. CHASING LIKE THE WIND [Posture 31]
7. WORKING THE SHUTTLES [Posture 37]
8. GAZING AT THE MOON [Posture 48]
9. SEARCHING THE SEA [Posture 53]
Each of these mother techniques gives birth to several offspring techniques.
These mother and son techniques are linked together, switching back and forth,
to make the complete sword set, advancing and retreating, attacking and
defending, continuously and without pause. [The mother would seem to have
had three or four children, as the mother techniques occupy less than a quarter
of the list of names.] Of particular note is the posture of catching the sword at
the conclusion, in which your right hand tosses the sword up so that it is
rotating in the air and then your left hand catches it, called FLYING DRAGON,
STARTLING RAINBOW.
It conforms with an established set of principles, a thoughtfulness as to how
movements precede and follow each other, staying methodical all the way to the
end, and lives up to its theory, twisting and turning like the Yangtze or Yellow
rivers weaving through and winding back, always adhering to its rules, and can
be said to have such a spirit of variety to its techniques that it has a beauty
which cannot be fully absorbed. It is not like the meaningless sword arts that
simply seek to be different and pretty rather than representative of a theory,
have no proper composition from movement to movement, and are the
equivalent of something that has no content at all. This is why I am so fond of
the Startling-Rainbow Sword and is one reason why I have written this book.
In the autumn of 1942, my army was sent on a long trek to the Xiaguan
garrison in western Yunnan. A few miles north was the city of Dali. I had heard
that living there was a man named Du Sancheng who was a lover of martial arts
and possessed a precious sword, so I snuck away to visit him and was
introduced to him by a trusted friend of mine named Dong.
Du was in his thirties, had a stalwart build and a frankness of speech, but
unfortunately he also had a smoking addiction. I then told him my purpose in
coming and asked him many questions, to which he generously replied:
My great-grandfather lived in Shandong. After joining the army, the family
settled here and stayed for four generations. My great-grandfather, grandfather,
and father all had military accomplishments and were experts in martial arts.
When I was a child, my father taught me the fundamentals of martial arts and I
practiced the mother sword techniques as individual postures. Unfortunately,
when I was thirteen, he died in the fighting. [This is probably referring to the
Yunnan-Guangxi War, 1925.] He stopped talking for a moment, overcome with
sorrow, then continued: Even though Ive inherited a precious sword, I have
the sword but lack the art, and so I only keep it as a memento.
I looked up at the sword hanging on the wall, and I pointed to it and asked if
he would mind if I take a look at it. Du carefully took it down and showed it to
me. I unsheathed the sword and examined it. I did not expect there to be so
much rust in the scabbard and could tell it had not been practiced with for a
long time. The weight of it was around five pounds or more. Inscribed on the
sword were the barely discernible words Startling Rainbow as well as some
other smaller words that already become too indistinct to read. I could not help
but feel what a pity it was.
We continued to talk of sword training and sword arts, but he mostly listened
quietly, contributing agreement from time to time, until he gave me a look that
seemed full of regret. After a while, Dong made this clear, explaining that Du
was inviting me to teach him the Startling-Rainbow Sword art, and Du said: I
want to do my forefathers proud and pass down their sword art.
I told him: I wouldnt presume to teach you. But we can study it together.
[This is not just Yin being polite, since Du had already learned much of the
Startling-Rainbow Sword art from his father, having drilled the basics with the
nine mother techniques.] So we proceeded to go through each of the mother
techniques and offspring techniques in detail. Henceforth we had a deep and
constant friendship for the next two years in which I received a great deal of
help from him both publicly and privately. I strongly encouraged him to quit
smoking and devote himself to his nation as a true Chinaman [smoking being a
vulgar import from Western culture]. He agreed to comply with this and
rehabilitate himself. My army was then sent north.
In 1949, Yunnan was transformed and correspondence ceased. Du was
generous and upright, righteous and decent, not a bit like a bandit lurking in the
hills [a stereotype about people from Yunnan]. It has been more than ten years
now and I have received no information. It is difficult to know whether he is
alive or has passed on. I remember with affection when I think of our
friendship, and this is the second reason I have written this book. When I gaze
northward to China, white-clouded and green-bumped over the horizon, I think
of my friend and am overpowered with sentiment. This book is dedicated to his
memory.
-

SIXTEEN: ON THE MAKING OF SWORDS


From experience throughout history, it was discovered that smelted iron was
the best material for casting swords. People went out and investigated
fastidiously for more places that had iron ore. If they refined a pound of it in a
furnace, they were left with an ounce of pure iron. If in the end they did not get
enough pure iron out of the process, it was effectively useless to work with. It
was common for iron ore to be fully smelted and yet not sufficiently refined,
making it all a waste of effort. But another way came along. If a village was
tilling ground using iron hoes, or the carts in hilly areas used carts with iron
wheelhubs, or iron horseshoes had become smooth with wear, the iron had in
such cases been tempered by long-term daily use. The fire applied to this used
iron was thus fully transformative and the ingots achieved were extremely pure,
optimum for casting swords. In the midst of fire-and-water smelting, pieces did
not fall off, then while hammering it, crusty fragments would come away. These
dregs would be fully smelted and what was left was pure iron. This method of
getting pure iron is rather like grinding down wheat to make a usable flour.
By this means, swords were made that were hard, sharp, durable, and
unrusting. Ancient people casted swords with great sincerity. The day they set to
work was the thirty-seventh day of the cycle of sixty, at noon. They faced to the
west and offered prayers for the metals from the western mountains. They did
not care how hard the work was going to be, and with a thousand hammerings
and ten thousand foldings, they put all of their heart into it. The finished sword
was then hand polished until it was so hard and the edge was so keen that it
could chop nails in half or slice through a piece of iron without being at all
damaged. Thus the phrase folded steel, precious sword.
The present is different from the past. Machinery is well-developed and
highly specialized. Regarding the casting of swords, it is no longer necessary to
devote as much labor, time, or spirit to it, only to get the weight and length right
so that it suits the dexterity required when practicing. The standard length for a
sword is three feet, four inches. This is almost the same as with ancient swords,
but modern people are generally somewhat shorter in stature than ancient
people. [With the improved quality of nutrition in Asia over the many decades
since this book was written, this trend has of course completely reversed.] Thus
physical build has to be the basis upon which swords are made. To conform the
sword length to your body, hold the handle in a reverse grip with your left hand.
The sword tip should reach no farther than headtop level and go at least as far
as ear level, though I myself think it is best to go by ear height rather than head
height. [He does not specify whether it is to be level with the top of the ear or
the earlobe, but he seems to mean the top of the ear, going by the photo for
Posture 1.] Another way is stand the sword vertically with the tip on the ground,
in which case the pommel should be at navel level.
The ordinary overall length of the whole sword is three feet and four inches,
or 1 meter.
The breakdown of that meter is thus: The pommel takes up about 4 cm, the
handle 14 cm, being the proper length to fit the grip of a hand, the hilt about 5
cm, and the sword body 77 cm.
The width of the sword body is about 3.75 cm, gradually tapering so that at
the tip it is about 2.75 cm. The tip is the equivalent of a melon seed so it is
rounded like a silken streamer curving in the air. This is the manner of a heroic
sword. The spine is also like a melon seed, as is the rear section of the blade
bulging to both sides of the spine.
The appropriate weight is about two and a quarter pounds.
These measurements are made according to average strength, build, size, and
height, and are gauged to provide for the most nimbleness and agility.
The sword must not be overly sharpened, for if it is too sharp, you will easily
cut yourself.
Decoration on a sword should be sophisticated rather than common, as well
as potent rather than flashy. It should be tasteful and artistic. In ancient times,
high-ranking officials had handles made of unique wood or of ivory with
intricate engraving or of fishbone with gold inlay, the flanges made of silver and
inlaid with jewels, the scabbard of sandfish skin inlaid with pearls and jade, the
jade mounted with an outer shell, colorfully sashed and wrapped with gold
engraved with silver, topped with a hanging ring so that at numerous sites it
could be hung on a wall for there to be decoration by ones side. But this is
nothing more than a display of splendor. The present is different from the past,
and we should dispense with such a vulgar drive to flaunt and instead admire
those who do not put on airs. However, people will follow the example of leaders
who adore decoration and we do not really need to be picky about it. Below are
the patterns for wood swords and cast iron swords:


Wooden sword:
pommel
handle
hilt
edge
body
tip


Method for assembling the cast iron sword: first cast the blade, then make the
hilt, then the handle, then the pommel, and then onto the pommel can be tied
the silk tassel. The completed sword is as below:

pommel [4]
handle [3]
hilt [2]
blade [step 1]
-


The adorned finished sword
-


L [pommel]

K [thread hole] / J [lower flange]

I [handle] / H [upper flange]

G [outer hilt] / F [inner hilt]

E [outer edge] / D [inner edge]

C [outer tip] / B [inner tip]

A [point]


Once a sword has been made, a corresponding scabbard is also made, according
to the swords length and width. The case is made of wood and wrapped with
either sandfish skin or snake skin, not merely for the sake of beauty, but also to
keep out moisture to prevent rusting. It is wrapped with ornamental bands of
either iron or copper to prevent the case from eventually splitting, and the
bottom end of the scabbard is encased in iron to keep the scabbard tip wear-
resitant. In short, it should be sturdy and durable, tasteful and elegant, and does
not need to be excessively decorative.
In the days when I was learning the art, I knew only how swords could be
used and did not study how they were made. Based on my experience of using
swords, I have determined general measurements for the sake of reference. The
length, thickness, and weight of the sword you use will depend on what best
suits you. The sword scabbard should suit the sword body so that it is like a foot
fitting perfectly into a shoe.
Skilled workers put in extra care so you will be able to perform with your
hand what is in your mind. There are currently a great many makers of swords
in Taiwan and they can discuss it in much better detail than I can. Purchase a
sword based on your build, strength, height, and size, and then you will
naturally be able to become proficient.
Many people nowadays are weak and despondent, and hope their lofty
aspirations will surge to fruition without their actually having to do anything.
But the only proper method of approaching sword practice is to pick up a sword
and practice all day. By awakening your spirit and exerting yourself with
determination, you will set an example capable of boosting morale and inspiring
popular sentiment that will assist in the great task of recovering our lost
country, no meager achievement.
-

Yin Qianhe is skilled in both schools of boxing arts: Shaolin and Wudang. He
has authored several books which have already been published in our Chinese
Martial Arts Book Collection:

1. Fitness Techniques on a Bed & Scientific Baduanjin

2. Taiji Sword

3. The Art of the Startling-Rainbow Sword

There are many more yet to come. In particular, we invite you to keep an eye
open for his next book, Prolonging Life, which we will begin printing very soon.

A note from Good Advice Printing House
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