View Full Version : yang style simplified sword form (32 movements)

Marc Heyvaert
11-13-2004, 05:56 AM

I'm currently researching this modern sword form. It is a form that I have learned but I don't know the posture names. For my website I need the posture names in mandarin (pinyin is ok) and english (I would then make a dutch version).

I have a list of posture names (english + pinyin) of the traditional yang form. I have also a list of english posture names of the 32 form. I have also instructional videos by Li Deyin and Si Tan Chen (no subtitles but the posture names are projected on screen in simplified characters...and I have only very elementary knowledge of chinese...). Now before I start digging and try to distill a list from the material that I have, I wanted to ask if someone has a list somewhere that he/she could post here.

There is an additional difficulty: the list that I have has the traditional names, with all the dragons and other animal names...I have seen a list once (lost it) that had very simple names for the postures, just naming the steps (forward, backward, etc) and the techniques (cut, raise, etc). So I'm not sure what posture names are on my VCD's. Anyway, I'm interested in any additional information about this form.



P.S. I have just discovered that Dr. Lam has a video for the 32-sword form. I have ordered it with amazon.co.uk and I should get it here (in Belgium) in the course of next week. I suppose it will have the posture names as well. Could someone confirm this? Anyway, if you have some info about this form please post or send to me privately.

11-13-2004, 09:40 AM
Marc- Here are the names as given in Dr. Lam's tape.

1) Three Rings Around the Moon
2) Standing on One Leg to Thrust
3) Swallow Skimming across the Water
4) Carrying Sword to the Right
5) Carrying Sword to the left
6) Sounding the Sea
7) Withdrawing the Sword in Empty Stance
8) Birds Returning to the Tree at Dusk
9) Dragon Sweeping Tail
10) Green Dragon Emerging from Water
11) Turning Round and Carrying Sword
12) Stepping Backward Carrying Sword
13) Tiger Holding Head
14) Wild Horse Leaping Over Creek
15) Cutting Upward in Empty Stance
16) Scooping the Moon from Sea Bottom
17) Rhinoceros Gazing at the Moon
18) White Ape Offering Fruit
19) Parrying in Left Bow Stance
20) Parrying in Right Bow Stance
21) Parrying in Left Bow Stance
22) Stepping Forward and Piercing back
23) Comet Chasing the Moon
24) Heavenly Horse Flying Across the Sky
25) Standing on One Leg and Lifting Sword
26) Cutting in Bow Stance
27) Cutting Downward in Empty Stance
28) Giant Geese Spreading Wings
29) Stepping Forward to Thrust
30) Withdrawing Sword
31) Wind Sweeping Plum Blossom
32) Thrusting Forward in Bow Stance

Stuart Olson, in his book "Tai Chi 13 Sword", gives a longer Yang style set, but uses the names differently. His first four are:

1) Beginning Posture
2) Step Forward to Unite Sword
3) Immortal Guiding the Road
4) Triple Bracelets Embracing the Moon

These basically correspond to Dr. Lam's "Three Rings Around The Moon".
For "Standing on One Leg to Thrust", Olson gives "Major Star of the Dipper".

I've seen other "32 Forms", and while I understand that this is supposed to be a standardized set, there are differences in names AND the forms. My usual Saturday morning empty hand partner learned a 32 form set that looks much like what Dr. Lam teaches, but involves a stance with what might be a Wu-style posture, one leg extended up and BEHIND the swordsman. I've also discovered that Yang style saber forms are even less standardized, at least as tapes and local Tai Chi enthusiasts practice them.

I have seen Yang Jun perform his Yang straightsword form. The 32 forms are absolutely a close relative. Bill

P.S. The Yangs have the Pinyin names on their site at:


You may be able to determine from their listing the Pinyin Corresponding to the English. -Bill

Marc Heyvaert
11-14-2004, 12:59 AM
Thanks Bill!

I had already a list with names, these differ slightly. If no-one offers a list with pinyin...I will start patching it together myself starting with the elements that I have. I will post a link to my page with the form when it is finished. The format will be the same as for the 8-form that I just finished. Feel free to have a look at :


This website is under construction. Loads of other stuff is still on http://www.taiji.be

As for the form itself. I had already noticed the huge differences in flavour of the Yang-forms out there. If you see the Yang form as done by Yang Jun, I find the differences huge with the modern 32 and 48, although it are essentially the same movements. I do the 32, essentially as performed by Si Tan Chen. You can see a video (an of a lot of other modern forms) on http://www.taiji.de

I have a very good instructional VCD (total of 3 hours) on this form by Li Deyin, who is someone big in the wushu world, but I was disapointed by some of the finer point in his form. I'm really curious about the video from P. Lam. I have already some other videos by him and I expect quality :)

As for the broadsword. I do the Yang style dao as performed and taught by Yang Zhenduo. It is a simple fun form to do. Basic techniques are not that different from external wushu dao and a lot of positions are actualy very similar to the handform taijiquan. Do you have any knowledge of a 'modern' Yang style taijidao? I have seen other dao forms that are essentially the same as the one I do but with about 30 to 40 movements added, so I wonder if Yang Zhenduo only teaches some simplified version of what was originally the form taught by the Yangs. Do you have some additional information about this?



11-14-2004, 06:12 AM
Marc- I'm sorry, I didn't read your question closely enough at first.And missed that you already have the English names.

I've been unable to learn the history of the development of any of the Yang Dao forms. Two possibilities occur to me: the histories are there, but in Chinese, or they simply aren't recorded. A low literacy rate among practitioners, family secrecy, decimation of the ranks of practitioners by war, or a perceived lack of relevance are all factors I've seen mentioned. My Karate/Kobudo master lived on Okinawa for ten years, and has very detailed histories of empty hand systems, but says the weapons systems are a lot less structured and much less well recorded. Could they have been like "Military Secrets?"

I have Yang Jwing-Ming's Dao form. He traces his Yang empty hand system through Yang Ban Hou, NOT by way of Yang Chengfu as most Tai Chi here is. Like his empty hand form, there are some surprising differences to what is essentially the same form. His Fair Lady Works the Shuttles in the Eight Directions is particularly different. The whole form is longer, in the range of 50 postures. By the way, I don't have his Yang 32 Sword forms tape, but the tapes of Jiang Jian-ye always give the Chinese names, spoken in English and Chinese, with the Chinese characters, but not always the Pinyin. If you see one, it would be worth looking to see if it has Pinyin. Bill

11-14-2004, 11:32 AM
can anyone recommend a good video or dvd for taiji dao (Yang 13 set Yang Cheng Fu)?
thx in advance if you can and if so pls include website or contact info
btw Stuart Olson's teacher Tsung Tsai Liang (like Wm CC Chen) had a tendency to make up his own numbered forms using
his teacher's as a base so Stuart's is possibly not the original but would be based on his teacher's variation,seeing as how they were so close;Stuart was a live in pupil of TT Liang

Marc Heyvaert
11-14-2004, 12:24 PM
Originally posted by Shark
can anyone recommend a good video or dvd for taiji dao (Yang 13 set Yang Cheng Fu)?
thx in advance if you can and if so pls include website or contact info

I used the video by Yang Zhenduo and Yang Jun. It is still available either in VCD or in DVD (region free) format. DVD is better because you have the subtitles. There are very bad translations, but it is always better than nothing. The DVD contains taijijian and taijidao forms. The instructions are not very thourough though, so beware, unless you already have a firm basis in taijiquan I think it is not possible to learn from this video. Some knowledge of Dao as a weapon (e.g. from another, possible external style) may help.

Sources are:


(second row right)



(look under DVD's)

I can recommend both sources.

I will post the dao form on my websit for a couple of days. If will post the link later tonight.


P.S. The link I promised is up. The clip is number 6 on the page


11-14-2004, 03:57 PM
marc,thanks for helpful resources;finding an easy to follow instructional vid of this form is extremely rare and the best course of action for me may be to just seek tangible instruction down the road;that's always the best way anyhow isn't it? it still doesn't hurt to get some familiarization. thanks again for your input

11-14-2004, 04:20 PM
I bought it new on Ebay. I think it is considerably cheaper.

11-14-2004, 06:56 PM
Yes, I think Elan is right about ebay bein cheaper. The video is not bad but it is NOT an instructional video like Dr. Lam's. Shark, you may have a solid basis of Tai chi and the video may be useful. As you said, I do prefer studying face-to-face. The only videos i have really studied with are Dr. Lam's because of his time restraint.

YOu will like Paul's video. I think you can't say as much on a video. However, Paul's videos really contain the very crucial principles, easy explained in short sentences. If you possess many of them, on every video/dvd he says different important principles. You have a good foundation i suppose. I don't know the 32 sword, I jumped straight to the 42 sword but i had a few Chen and Yang weapon forms under my belt. Just for the international competition I needed the 42 fist and sword.

Paul Lam may have the pinyin, so wait until he is back from the conference. My Chinese is too bad.

11-14-2004, 10:39 PM
right y'are soraya,i have a couple of YZD vids as u say
more demonstration w/some explanation than instruction and Chinese only;one of my teachers taught Bob Chuckrow some varied sword forms,which i must say is a pretty good cred and future possibility for me;at any rate thanks again all y'all for help

11-15-2004, 06:13 PM
I found reading Paul's articles added a lot to learning with his dvd/videos. In his workshops he imparts all the info from his articles and videos face-to-face

11-17-2004, 09:20 AM
I wish Dr. Lam had an article on Tai Chi weapons forms, and perhaps weapons in Tai Chi in general. That would access a lot fewer people, but It would be good to hear his thoughts. Bill

11-17-2004, 11:35 AM
i'm curious as to whether Dr Lam is familiar with all of t'ai chi weapons;(not that he needs to be either)

11-17-2004, 03:20 PM
I like and prefer the Yang 'traditional' jian and dao forms better than the Beijing inspired weapons form. I have done the Beijing 32 jian form so much that I remember that better than the traditional one.

Usually the 32 form refers to the jian (straight sword).