FAIR LADY'S WRIST
aijiquan, the deadliest martial art known, uses tai chi princples such as Fair Ladys Wrist in both empty hand and swordsmanship training. It is more obvious in the empty hand tai chi techniques but since everything in a martial arts system applies to everything else, we'll study it here.
This principle of taijiquan, the world's deadliest martial art, comes from the top five used and taught by Zhen Manqing (Cheng Man-Ch'ing). It it based in the need to have an unbroken line of intent for a strike. As explained in some of the earlier pages of this series, power for a strike flows up from the ground, is turned through the waist and directed out through the hands or a weapon. Any stiffly angled joints or muscular tightness will break the flow, inhibiting the power of a strike.
In your swordsmanship training, make sure your fingers, hands and wrists are relaxed - not so much as to lose grip on your sword, but so that maximum flexibility is maintained. Some of the strikes, particularly percussive ones such as Pi, are like flicking water off the hands. The cut is turned through the waist and snapped at the target. Tightness in the arms and hands stiffens this snap and you feel the force as percussion in your own body rather than the duifang taking the damage.
Fair Lady's Wrist is the principle that keeps your hands alive, soft and together in swordsmanship training. As for the empty hand tai chi techniques, both hands are always active. There is never a dead side or a movement where one hand finishes before the other.
Also, a jian handle is shaped so that a solid grip can be formed without tensing the hand. If the hand is tensed, so will the wrist be, inhibiting flexibility. If the wrist is tense, arm ligaments are in danger of damage. It goes all the way up. Stiff arms mean tight shoulders and a tense back. The deadliest martial art becomes no better than any other if tai chi principles are ignored. So be aware of Fair Lady's Wrist. It affects the rest of the body.