White Crane Sword Part 15

Sigong (Grandmaster Tse) has been teaching us one of the most challenging and intricate Chun Yuen Quan forms - White Crane Sword 白鶴劒. It as an advanced, Chinese straight sword skill with a long-tassel attached to the pommel. 

Sijo (Grandmaster Wang Ping 師公王平) created the form in 1930 and taught it to Tai Sigong (Wu Chun Yuen 武俊元). They were great masters of the Chinese Opera – not to be confused with Western opera. Chinese Opera provided a way to preserve ancient martial skills when they were outlawed. This is how the skills of Northern Shaolin Temple, Shàolín Quán 少林拳, were passed down to us and continue to survive, enrich and inspire.

White Crane Sword has 100 moves; it could be considered to be more than 100 moves as each step could be broken down further. It’s a multi-year seminar and we are all thrilled and challenged to attend the seminar once a month.

Before Covid-19 most seminars were taught in-person, so following the times Sigong adapted and shifted to teaching online. He still teaches a mix of online but has also resumed in-person classes and some in-person seminars. It’s a great testament to Sigong’s teaching skill, method of teaching, and the depth of skill in supporting senior students that this intricate and challenging form can be taught online. If this form can, anything can.

What makes this form so particularly challenging? We aren’t just learning how to move the body, we are also coordinating our movements with the sword as well as a long tassel swinging from its hilt. 

The flow of the tassel is an obvious indicator of internal skill level. The level of control comes from technique plus internal relaxation – being able to move from the waist with the whole body connected, including the sword and tassel. If the tassel is swinging too wildly, energy is wasted; the tassel is likely to get tangled and disrupted. The difference is not something that would be as easily seen if the form is practiced without the tassel.

For those of us who enjoy a challenge, White Crane Sword rises to the occasion every time. I can feel how it’s helping me develop internally and at the same time it’s fun. I aspire to be able to share it with others in due course. Thank you, Sigong!

By Kay White

Student Comments

The more time we spend with the tassel, the less energy needed to get it to move where it’s supposed to. I really notice the difference with more relaxation and flow over time. Always good to challenge the brain with White Crane Sword! Thanks, Sigong! -Kay

Flowing more every time!
Still, new layers of complexity keep appearing… Great fun to be on this tassel journey.
Thank you Sigong.
Paul Hogg

Seeing the curve of the sword during those last 3-3-1 steps has really helped me to get the momentum to swing the tassel up and catch it — before I was having to do an almighty whip around on the last step which geve me 50-50 odds of catching the tassel, but now it feels so natural and drops into my hand much better. I had the steps afterwards wrong too, I was starting with the left foot, so it is really great to see this again and straighten it all out. Thanks Sigong!
Lee B

White Crane just keeps getting more and more interesting. The new move and catching the tassel behind the back feels really good when you get it right. Looking forward to more interesting bits. Thank you Sigong for the seminar. Yunki

The newer parts are becoming more understandable and I really enjoy the energy of the form and the movements of the sword. Looking forward to really understand White Crane Sword more and more. Thank you Sifu!

Another seminar on one of the Chun Yuen Quan’s most difficult forms, it is the White Crane form very intricate and timely, very robust, and yet soft it is difficult and challenging but you want to finish it. It is hypnotic, I question myself, but I realise one thing practice and consistency makes your day, what is difficult each time you practice it becomes clearer thank you Sigong for teaching us to be clear and to my elders thanks for causing us to see that clarity with time and patience. earl

A great white crane sword part 15 seminar.
Some really fancy footwork really appearing now in the form. I can see that it’s not just the positioning of the postures it managing the rhythm and the flow too. Many thanks to all the instructors in the breakout rooms and to Taisigong for running such a fun seminar. Daniel

This mornings white crane sword seminar was, as always, a fantastic but challenging way to start the day. Each new seminar I am able to remember a little more from watching Sigong and through the invaluable help from the seniors in the break out groups. Many thanks Sigong. Nicci