|The Chinese Internal Arts
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The spear is described as "powerful, deceptive and unpredictable like thunder/lightning and the Dragon". It is known as the "King of the Weapons."
It is not an easy weapon to master - in China they say "100 days to practice Broadsword, 1000 days to practice the spear" - but for Taijiquan practitioners the effort is worth it. Where Guan Dao (see last issue) is used to train whole-body use, the Spear has always been the tool used to develop the Dantian and learn to direct power from the centre. Chen Fake, the famous master of the last century is said to have shaken the spear 300 times a day. If he could do it, so can we. We shouldn't be deterred that his spear was the size of a telegraph pole - as they say, it's not the size that matters.
The Chen style Spear form, even though practised with a spear, is in fact two weapon forms in one - it is a combination of Pear Flower Spear form and White Ape Staff form. It is called (imaginatively) "Pear Flower Spear and White Ape Staff" form. Whenever you see a stabbing motion in the form, the spear is used as a proper spear, in any other action where the spear head is not the focus of the movement, the spear is used as a staff.
Apart from practising the form, spear is extensively used in shaking practice (as used by Chen Fake above) where the spear is shaken using the motion of the Dantian that is transferred to the spear through the torso and arms.