13 ways of spear in yang’s Tai Ji
Spear (Qiang) is a special kind of the long handle weapons of ancient time in China, which was transformed from spear. Its head looks like a short sword, with protruding spines, setting on the top of a hard shaft (usually made of wood). In Song Dynasty, the head was made of iron and the end of shaft was also equipped with a piece of iron. The spear used by the cavalryman is about six che ( about two miters).Later in Qing Dynasty, the government tried its best to develop firelock as the main weapon in the military force, but Qiang was still often used in the army such as the "Eight Flags" camp and green camp (Two famous camps of government in Qing Dynasty), which reached three point two to three meters. By the middle of the 19th century, after the royal army was equipped with rifle, spear became the daily fighting apparatus for soldiers to practice Wu-shu.
Yang Style Tai Ji Qiang was invented by Yang Luchan, and then every master was accomplished in it, but few disciples could have access to it, due to the strict and hard regulation. First, the disciple had to learn the fist art several years and then Jian art, and also Dao art (Jian, Dao are two different kinds of so-called swords in China). The fundamental spear art was called thirteen Tai Ji Qiang, started its proceeding from the practice of shaft.
Practicing the Shaft: The shaft should be used without the sharp head, thick enough to fully hold, over three m-eters long, suitable heavy, and the front part is shrunk sharply. The front hand ( also named the first hand, usually is the right hand ) should grasp the place near the gravity center of shaft in order to hold firmly and shake smoothly. So the shaft should be neither too long nor too heavy, and the way of grasp should let second head reach the end of shaft. The practice has three step motions: sticking shaking and thrusting.
Sticking: Using your shaft to keep in touch with your opponent's shaft in order to stick. The wrist keeps moving flexibly to let the shaft go around from upside to downside, even though in practice alone. The arm exerts out the strength, the back straights, and the waist sinks a little down to help the hands to control strength well.
Shaking: Use both hands to hold the shaft firmly and stick to the opponent's, exerting strength to press his shaft down or lift his shaft up with the help of waist power. The purpose is to shake away opponent's shaft. In this motion, the center gravity of the body should move a little more to the fight leg.
Thrusting: After the previous two step motions, follow the tendency of the movement, catch the opportunity, exert out strength through two hands, and thrust the shaft at your opponent .The posture of this motion should act in this way :the front hand straights like pipe, filled with energy, parallel to the chest. The other hand grasps the shaft firmly as a lock, and let the whole strength of body go through from waist to hand and to shaft, at the end reach the head of shaft; the arm presses close to waist in the movement. During the movement, you should harmonize every part energy from body to assist each other. We call it: "arm help wrist, waist help arm and foot help waist". And you also have to step steadily, saving the energy to do preparation. When fight hand pull forward, according to left hand roundly, you suddenly thrust out, with great powerful vigour.
Sticking, shaking and thrusting are the three basic Qiang arts. After practicing skillfully, one can use the Qiang adroitly, able to thrust powerfully at every direction from upper to lower. It is unquestionable for someone to reach this level after hard practice.