Within the practice of the Yang Style Taiji Straight Sword form and fencing methods are the Wudang thirteen Sword Powers or Methods (Shisan Jian Fa). These thirteen Sword methods are the equivalent to the Taijiquan barehand forms eight gates of Peng, Lu, An, Ji, Lei, Cai, Zhou and Kao and can be found within the practise of the sixteen step Taiji Straight Sword form, which is the first Sword form that students learn before advancing onwards to the thirty two Sword form and then onto the traditional Yang Taiji Sword fifty two posture form. One of the thirteen Taiji Straight Sword Methods is called “Pointing” (Dian) this is were the practitioner uses the tip of the sword to stab the opponents hands, arms, legs neck or body aiming at their muscles, tendons, joints and at a much deeper level the opponents acupuncture cavity’s (Qixue) to disrupt the circulation of Qi within their body which in-turn will harm the functioning of the internal organs (Zangfu).
Using the pointing sword method (Dian Jian Fa) the practitioner should only use the strength of their wrist to apply the technique , no large arm movement is needed, this allows for the pointing method to be applied very quickly and suddenly without telegraphing its usage to the opponent. The pointing method can be applied downwards, upwards or even side wards targeting the opponents hands or arms to disarm their weapon or to cause more serious harm the pointing method can target the body or head. Usually the Taiji Straight Sword pointing method is used defensively as a blocking method used alongside fast, light evasive footwork.
Within the accompanying photo that comes with this blog Laoshi Keith Ewers is seen delivering a downward pointing method from a movement taken from the sixteen step Taiji Straight Sword form. The pointing method can be easily disguised a used alongside other sword techniques like the Stabbing technique (Ci Fa) or the intercepting method (Jie Fa) at anytime the pointing method can be use to target various parts of the opponents body to either quickly disarm them and finish the confrontation without serious harm or obviously to target the more vulnerable areas of the opponents body to finish the confrontation ore seriously.
Alongside the study and practice of the Yang Style Taiji Straight Sword Forms are the two-person Sword fencing training drills that bring each of the thirteen Sword Powers alive by matching them against each other to teach the practitioner how to use their Taiji Sword skilfully both defensively or offensively. When practicing the two-person Taiji Sword training exercises it is best that both students uses a wooden practice Sword (Lian Xi Jian) to help develop their sword skills before using a proper steel Straight Sword. These two-person fencing drills not only teach the thirteen Sword Powers (Shisan Jian Fa) they also teach correct footwork which is vital for any student to become proficient with the Taiji sword.