The Swordsman?

Sifu Steffan de Graffenried
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I heard this story several years ago while competing in a Tai Chi tournament in Winchester, VA. It was recently brought back to my memory and I thought it would be useful to include in this section of fighting stories.

In 1988, Grandmaster Wong and his student, the late, Jane Hallander were invited to Dallas, Texas by Grandmaster In Hyuk Soo to perform exhibitions at his tournament. Grandmaster and Sifu Hallander arrived at the event and began to warm up for their performances. Grandmaster was to perform the famous Wu Dang sword and he was showing sifu Hallander some of the subtle nuances of the techniques when a man walked up and began watching Grandmaster's technique. The man waited for a break in the action and took that opportunity to introduce himself as a sword "expert", stating that he had mastered several sword styles including the Korean sword style of Kook Sul Won and the Japanese sword styles.

The man droned on and on about how the Chinese sword styles were too flowery and could never stand up to the Korean and Japanese styles. Grandmaster tried, in vain, to explain to the man how the techniques only looked useless to the untrained eye but the man insisted that he was correct and that Grandmaster only knew the Chinese styles and therefore could not understand the Korean and Japanese styles.

The man asked Grandmaster Wong to show him how the techniques worked so Grandmaster handed the man his sword and looked around for a suitable non-lethal substitute with which to demonstrate (as he did not want to injure the man). Grandmaster found a small stick to use and the man took Grandmaster Wong's Tai Chi straight sword (Gim) and immediately held it like a Japanese Samurai sword. He attacked Grandmaster from many angles and directions to no avail. In one final frustrated effort the man thrust straight in to Grandmaster's center and Grandmaster saw an opportunity to attack with a technique we call "Tiu" (this is an attack from underneath with the tip of the sword to the hands of the opponent). The man yelped in pain and dropped the Tai Chi sword and then noticed that Grandmaster's small stick was touching his throat.

The man was obviously embarrassed but bowed respectfully and thanked Grandmaster Wong for the lesson then turned and walked away.


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