Value for Money Chinese Tai Chi Swords

Chinese Tai Chi Swords are a variation of the Jian: a straight, double edged, one handed sword with a blade length of around 28 to 30".

The traditional Jian was a sharp, folded and differentially tempered blade that in the hands of a skilled practitioner could strike through gaps in an opponents armor and slice exposed flesh with frightening precision.

While reproductions of traditionally constructed Jian are still available, they tend to run into the US$600+ price range, and are (obviously) largely unnecessary for a modern Tai Chi practitioner.

Essentially, at least for the beginning student, there are no strict requirements and specifications for modern Tai Chi practice swords. Since test cutting, high speed strikes and blade on blade contact is not a part of traditional Chinese Tai Chi swords practice - the simplest mass produced stainless steel sword will usually suffice. In fact the only requirements for a decent Jian suitable for Tai Chi practice is a lightweight and well balanced blade.

Surprisingly, the overwhelming majority of cheap Chinese Tai Chi Swords in the US$30 price mark are actually not badly balanced - with a point of balance only a few inches from the hand guard, though most are a bit lighter than they should be...

A Generic Tai Chi Sword: Not bad, but not quite right either...

Some, like the one pictured above, have images of dragons or other mythological creatures etched into the blade and are not unattractive. Most (though by no means all) have tassels attached to the pommel (the tassel is generally to ensure that alignment of the blade and arms is in accord, but was also used in some styles to distract an opponent by flicking in into their face). The majority have a threaded tang secured with a single pommel nut instead of a traditionally peened pommel.

An interesting modern variation includes the extendable Tai Chi sword - which when folded down can easily fit into a glove compartment. These swords can be extended simply by pointing them down at the ground where they will lock into place and then shortened by pushing on the (blunted) tip. The balance of these swords is not generally as good as a solid blade, but they are very convenient and, well, actually kind of fun!

If you are looking for a better quality sword than the mass produced stainless models, (but don't want to spend US$600+) the best value for money choice is without a doubt the Practical Tai Chi Sword by Paul Chens Hanwei Forge.

Perfectly balanced, and made from high quality heat tempered high carbon steel, this sword is the ideal compromise between quality and price, selling online for just under US$100.

The difference in the quality of the blade and it's fittings is very noticeable compared to the mass produced stainless steel Jian and it is constructed in such a way that it can be wielded at high speeds without fear of failure, making it ideal not only for Tai Chi but also Gong Fu/Wushu practice.

For a full hands on review of this piece, Click here


I hope this information on Chinese Tai Chi Swords has been helpful. To return to Fully Functional Yet Inexpensive Chinese Swords from Value for Money Chinese Tai Chi Swords click here.

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