Tai Chi Saber (Dao)

This beautiful, flowing weapon form is performed with a saber (dao): a single-edged sword with a slightly curved blade. Tai Chi Dao form is described in a Classical Chinese poem consisting of 13 lines with seven characters each. Classical Chinese poetry can be tricky to translate, but with the help of my parents, I offer the following:

  1. Step forward to seven stars, retreat to ride tiger, cross the knife from left to right.
  2. Rise and soar, shift, flash open, extend your spirit.
  3. Gaze left then right as you divide and split open with the knife.
  4. White crane spreads wings with five-element palm.
  5. Wind rolls the lotus blossoms, hiding them under the leaves.
  6. Fair lady works shuttle, back and forth in all directions.
  7. Three stars wink open and closed, exerting their will.
  8. Raise your leg to pat the foot, then subdue the tiger.
  9. Spreading wings, swaying body, kicking feet like mandarin ducks.
  10. Whip the knife like swirling currents of water pushing a boat propelled by a pole.
  11. Three strokes combined in harmony, expressing freedom and power.
  12. Part the water to the left and right, then jump over the dragon gate.
  13. The sage carries the stone, and the phoenix returns to the nest.

With special thanks to my parents for their assistance with this new translation.