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A blunt weapon is the preferred beginner weapon. The stick is used to acclimate a student to working with a weapon as well as providing familiarity with a weapon that can be found everywhere! It allows a student to explore taij with an object in hand without having to worry edges and orientation other weapons employ. This form also doubles as a dao form allowing students to begin to explore a weapon that has one working edge.
Many Forms, or performed routines and styles, of Chinese Martial Arts, both External and Internal, are not the very serious versions we in the West are accustomed to seeing in videos and movies or in tournament competition and school demonstrations, but are a bit of theatre and display Chinese elements of humor. The Taijiquan "Watermelon Style," and Jackie Chan’s "Drunken Monk" routine come to mind. In Chinese Opera even two-person styles have these elements of comedy and entertainment.
The Guai Gun or Walking Cane is just such a style. Dr. Jay describes the Magic Tortoise School’s version as LaoMa’s "signature form."” In this version the comedy and theatre are in the beginning and ending sequences and immediately tell the story of older senior citizens thwarting the larcenous designs of a young, hooligan gang to steal their possessions as they hobble down the street. LaoMa learned this from Lao Zhang, a 76 year old deaf mute teacher in Ding YeYe’s, Snake Hill Pavilion School in 1986. It is the most useful weapon as it is the one weapon that can be carried anywhere, at anytime, even on an airplane at the height of post 9/11 hysteria.
Taiji Dao (knife)
Black Bamboo Pavilion offers three dao forms. These include a Praying Mantis form (taught first as a stick form), a Chen dao form, and a Wudang Dao form. All three provide different takes on the same weapon. While the Praying Mantis form allows for beginners to explore the use of a single edge weapon and its techniques, the Wudang Dao form explores a wide use of the taiji principles within a weapons form. The Chen Da form allows a student to explore a more explosive, athletic and fast use of the dao while maintaining taiji principles.
Taiji Jian (sword)
Jian is a double edged weapon, typically a weapon for more advances players. This weapon allows a student to explore techniques using a variety of points on a longer weapon while exploring the extension of qi through a weapon. We offer several sword forms, including a tassel form that extends the sword into a six foot flexible weapon.
A popular choice among modern day ladies, the fan was originally a gentleman's weapon. This form is generally performed with a cloth fan over bamboo sticks, however, there metal pronged versions of this weapon. This form is a slow form that allows students to explore one legged postures, jumping postures, and a flexible weapon. Many enjoy the pop that comes with the quick opening of the fan.
The bian or "Imperial Teacher's Whip" is a very ancient Chinese weapon consisting of a knobby stick about 3 feet long, originally with multiple lashes attached to one end. It is perhaps the source of the posture name "single whip": danbian. A rare and unusual form: flashy, active, and thoroughly martial.
This is a weapon in the tang system and is a hard style weapon. Taught from an internal approach, this form allows students to explore creating a whip like motion as an extension of the whole body movement. It can be performed very athletically with many jumps and kicks.
Black Bamboo Pavilion Taijiquan gives classes in tai chi, tai chi weapons, push hands and shufa (chinese caligraphy) in Durham, Pittsboro, Raleigh and the surrounding area.