A decorative sword primarily used in Chinese martial arts, the Taijijian was believed to have originated in the Qing dynasty where it was used in martial arts schools.
History and Use: Martial Arts for Military Training
The Taijijian, also known as Tai Chi sword, is a straight, double-edged sword used for upper body conditioning and martial arts training in traditional Taijiquan (Tai chi) schools.
This decorative sword was traditionally used in Chinese martial arts and typically not for combat. While the origins of the Taijijian remains unknown, historians believe it was originally used sometime between 1636 to 1644. During the Qing dynasty, the Yang and Wu families used this sword as part of military officer training. While historically, there was no specific sword created specifically for Tai Chi martial arts, this was still referred to as Tai Chi sword reflecting its current use as training weapon for Tai Chi practitioners.
Design and Characteristics
As opposed to many traditional Japanese swords that are normally curved and have single-edged blades, the Tai Chi sword is a straight, double-edged sword typically decorated with a colorful tassel at the bottom of the pommel. Swords like these were generally easier to make because they didn't need differential heat treatment, although that makes them more susceptible to breaking. Straight blade swords don't have a flexible spine so they often break upon impact. This is not an issue with the Tai Chi sword though, since it was only designed for martial arts.
Today's Uses and Popular Culture
In modern times, Tai Chi practitioners use the Taijijian for health and fitness benefits. This sword has also been featured in some popular culture, such as the TV show Forged in Fire, where contestants were tasked with forging their very own Taijijian: