Shísān Gān 十三杆 – 13 Long Pole – Part 9

  1. 挑 Tiāo
    Tiāo means to bring something up with a flick of energy, but in the 13 Long Pole we circle up. This is the opposite of Lán 攔, where we circle from inside to outside. With Tiāo we circle outside to inside. In Tàijíquán 太極拳 there are many circles in the movements, whether they are Shùn 順 – Outwards or Nì 逆 – Inwards, we cannot describe them as clockwise or anticlockwise as it depends on which side the pole Is being held. So, Lán is Shùn and Tiāo is Nì, and together they are a perfect match. It is the same with Lán 攔, Ná 拿,Zā 紮 with the spear. Tiāo is obviously a defensive movement to block an opponent’s pole or spear, we can use Lán or Tiāo and then Zā to attack.

When we practise the whole form, we will train all these 13 techniques. We can also practise each on individually. Just holding the pole however takes some energy, and so in the beginning it is better to start with a short or light pole, so that you can do the form and, in each movement, use the whole body. Then when you are more familiar with the movement and stronger, you can use pole with the proper length and weight. Then you will become stronger. When you practise Tuī Shǒu 推手 – Pushing Hands, you will find you are more powerful as well. However, the most important things are the Tàijíquán forms as these make us relax, sensitive and healthy.

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