White Crane Sword Part 11

Flowing into the Year of the Rabbit This was the first white Crane Sword seminar in 2023. It also marked the first day of the Year of the Rabbit. GM Tse says that with a good beginning we have set the energy for the rest of the year. This was a very good form start to the New Year – dynamic, flowing and balanced.

We started by running through the warm up exercises for the long tassel sword. These important exercises teach many of the fundamental ways to guide the tassel. The exercises look beautiful and effortless when performed correctly. This however takes a lot of practice and sensitivity. In the beginning the tassel will become tangled up, wrap around your arms and legs or even hit you in the face! Later, the movements look better but you might still be using strength and try to force the tassel along its path. With time the tassel will start to feel more like a part of your body – you feel where it is without looking and you sense if the string is taut or slack. You start to follow and guide the tassel and let go of your strength. Thus, there are many levels to these exercises and we can keep going deeper and challenge ourselves further. We need this foundation. If we cannot achieve skill in the warm up exercises then how can we expect to achieve it in our form? Again, good beginnings spell good results!

Next, GM Tse demonstrated the form in convenient bite-sized sections, allowing us time to delve into detail and think instead of racing through it. GM Tse always has an emphasis on his students practicing and getting a bodily understanding of the movements rather than just an intellectual understanding. He also stresses consolidating before teaching new things. It reminds me of going out to have a Chinese meal after seminars. Here we eat from small bowls that have some rice in them and on the table will be various dishes. Now you will choose one dish and put it in your bowl and only after you finish it do you put something new in your bowl. This is because each dish has its own flavour and texture to be experienced and savoured. Mixing them will spoil this and diminish the meal as a whole. So, similarly, new knowledge is better digested when there is time to experience and savour it.

This seminar was also the first time to do two hours instead of one and, thinking back, it is surprising that we could cover so much in such detail in just one hour. With more and more of the form unfolding we definitely need two hours. Now we must wait patiently for the next seminar – and in the meantime practice diligently, striving to make the tassel a friend.

by Paul Hogg

Student Comments

A really good White Crane Sword part 11 seminar. The extra time gave things much more space and once again the different clarifications shared in the breakout rooms really helped my form. Thanks for a great seminar Taisigong. Daniel

I was noticing how lovely and stylised it looks when we hold the sword and the tassel straight out behind the body in line with the arms — and then I realised it also helps us not to step on the tassel when we put our feet down! The last section of the form today is so tricky, it is nice to spend more time here to work it out. Thanks Sigong! LeeB

White crane seminar was fantastic today. Great to have the additional time for these seminars. The form is certainly challenging so having the extra time to see more details of the movements is so helpful.
Can’t wait to see and learn more of this form as we continue. Ian

The White Crane Sword is a wonderfully confusing form for me but it does mean the sense of achievement is that much greater when some if it makes sense. Thank you Sigong and the breakout room leaders for all your teaching and assistance. Nicci

Was good to return to the White Crane sword after the festive break with more time to watch and polish. Every time I pick up new details which makes the form flow better, such a good form! Thank you Sigong. Christine

It is a really good opportunity to revisit 28 Constellation Gong. Now I can see a lot more details than the first time and looking forward to complete it! Thank you, Sifu!

It’s great to be back starting the new year configuring your mind and body with this form, I find I need to be patient with myself and to understand what I am doing. I find every time I find what I need to do, following with Sigong then my seniors in the breakout room asking many many questions and trying to absorb it into my system, it really gives my body a good stretch and twist and small and large muscles working a good set up for the rest of the day, Thank you Sigong for a great morning wake up, thanks for a great start to the new year softness and hardness is balance, and thank my seniors for great advice and polishing, looking forward to the next course, earl

White Crane Sword is challenging, especially if you miss a couple seminars, but with excellent instruction from Sigong and help in breakout rooms, and lots of practice afterwards whilst it’s still fresh, it’s possible to catch up. Thanks Sigong, Christine and everyone for today! Kay

After a considerable break I could see how some parts were not as clear as before. Thank you Sifu for going through both the warm-up and the form again in such detail!