The three types of weapons of the Tai Chi school are Tai Chi Sabre, Tai Chi Sword and Tai Chi Spear. They can be regarded as training the physique and enhancing the intellect alongside their self defence purposes.
There are three reasons why we need to practice these three types of weapons. These reasons are set out below:-
Firstly, in training Tai Chi sword, sabre and spear, we have methods of exercise quite different from that employed in the practice of the hand form. They can stretch out and relax the muscles and bones; promote blood circulation; make the breathing smoother and longer; and are of great benefit to the health and constitution.
Furthermore, by concentrating on the changes of the profound and beautiful postures in the sabre, sword and spear methods, body and weapon are in harmony. The artistic conception is deep and distant and the intelligence is cultivated. Heaven and Man relate to one another and there is a feeling of boundless joy. It is not easy to attain this state, even for one who is richer than Shi Chung (249-300 AD-famous for his enormous wealth).
Secondly, they can be used self defence. If you encounter violent thugs who are holding sharp-edged weapons, and coming to rob or beat you, when they carry out a fierce attack and life is threatened, you can pick up any type of article which is at hand such as an umbrella, stick and other everyday objects and use sabre, sword and spear tactics to protect yourself from injury. See the accompanying photographs for applications.
The third reason is the most important. It is to increase our self confidence so that when some problem crops up one remains stable and unruffled, and we don't freeze in terror in a crisis. If the hands are occupied and the legs are in a tangle we will be in a panic. In our daily work this increased self confidence enables us to make accurate decisions, decreases the chances of making mistakes and thus is of great help in our future undertakings. Tradition has it that, "The sword nourishes the Chi, the spear promotes wisdom, the sabre cultivates the resolve." Thus this principle is made clear.
For these three main reasons, training Tai Chi Sabre, Sword and Spear really has many benefits. Furthermore, the aim of the martial training of the Tai Chi school is to cultivate the mind and strengthen the character; the leading purpose is righteousness.