Wudang is famous for its traditional straight sword styles. Training sword forms has long been viewed as a higher form of martial arts training. The training guides the body through powerful and smooth movements and in an adept martial artist becomes another 'limb' to their training and techniques.
There are four sword styles taught in the San Feng Lineage; Mysterious Gate (Xuan Men), Dragon (Long Hua), Eight Immortals (Ba Xian), and TaiJi sword forms. Each style has its own unique qualities and adds its own personality and flavor to the basic Wudang Sword techniques.
Xuan Men Jian (Mysterious Gate Sword) flows through movements building momentum from slow to fast, striking from high to low, and opening the body in large thrusts to closing the body into close patterns. This form teaches how to parry sword attacks and turn the body in a natural method as to make the following movement into an offensive advance. Yielding and advancing simultaneously, the practitioner learns how to adapt the body coordination into a beneficial position after each movement.
Long Huan Jian (Dragon Sword) combines the body style of dragon forms with the sword techniques, both parrying and striking, in order to create a powerful, lithe, vicious style. This form embodies twisting, striking, moving, yielding, and deflecting quickly and in circular patterns. Just as a dragon flying through the clouds, Dragon Sword is meant to be abrupt yet smooth, smooth, yet fast, fast yet powerful, powerful yet calm. The dragon is the most powerful thing in the world yet its presence brings peace and prosperity to those it protects as nothing can stand against it.
Ba Xian Jian (Eight Immortals Sword) is a form designed around the personalities and attributes of the Eight Immortals of Chinese and Daoist lore. Each Immortal has characteristics that have been portrayed into movements with the sword. This gives the style a poetic feel when practicing as many moves are interpreted into 'play' as performed by each immortal. This style is more advanced because one must have the basics of the straight sword before they begin to add the styles of the Eight Immortals into the techniques.
The last style of Wudang Sword forms is TaiJi Jian. Taiji sword brings the coordination of the sword into the taiji postures, patterns, and internal cultivation. This style carries balance into the practice but aligning the body as to adapt the sword into a 'living limb' or extension to the martial artist. It must become natural to move the sword as one would move the body through various techniques.
Straight sword is special to the Daoist culture and practice. It has long been a prestigious symbol carried by the most adept of masters, army officials, emperors, poets, and philosophers. Sometimes called the 'gentlemen's' weapon by many cultures, the straight sword style, through the movement, pushes us to aspire to be better, to be more in balance with nature, to strengthen our intention, to absolve our spirit from guilt, and to bring clarity to our heart by cutting out evils and imbalances that allow us to stray from our true path.