This movement, #1, has various names: Three Rings Around the Moon, Circling the Moon Three Times, Place Feet Together and Point Sword, Point Sword with Closing Steps, Dragonfly Dips Water, Three Halos Around the Moon, Three Rings Envelop the Moon.
Begin by facing to the N12 direction. The sword is in the left hand, with the sword facing upward (1a). The left hand is down along the left hip, with the sword being held in the reversed holding position (fanwo). The right hand is held in the sword hand position (index and middle finger pointed, thumb curled and touching the ring finger). The position of the empty hand is also called the "finger sword" (jianjue, qijian). Raise both hands to shoulder height (1a). Turn upper torso to the right side to face NE2, raise left hand and sword to eye level (1c), lower right hand to waist. Step with left foot back to face W9, and place left leg in a left bow stance (i.e., 70% of weight in left leg, 30% in right leg). Turn torso to face W9. Extend right arm forward towards W9. Bring left hand and sword to left hip, sword facing upward (1d). Position 1d is sometimes called: The Immortal Points the Way, The Fairy Shows the Way (仙人指路, Xian Ren Shi Lu). Moving from 1c to 1d corresponds to the Yang Taijiquan hand form movement called 'Brush Knee.'
Second Stage Edit
Step forward with right leg, right foot facing N12. Bend both knees and squat down a little in a twist step stance, with left knee tucked behind right knee (1e). Open right arm and extend arm to point with sword hand to E3 (1e). Extend left hand to point to W9, sword behind left arm. Look back to E3 (1e).
Step forward with left leg into a left bow stance, turning the torso to facing W9 (1f). Draw sword back and up in clockwise circular manner (1f0 to end with sword facing W9 (1g). Torso is acing W9 (1f). Transfer sword from left hand to the right hand (1f). Bring right foot up to left foot and bend knees, torso facing W9 (1g). Extend arms to W9 at chest height (1g). Lower the tip of the sword towards floor (1g). 1g is called "Point Sword with Feet Together."
All of steps 1a - 1g are done in a flowing, graceful, and slow manner. When a part of the body is moving, all other parts of the body are moving in a smooth coordinated manner. For example, at the "finish" of 1e all parts of the body arrive in their positions at the same time. Emphasize coordinated and timed flowing, and avoiding any jerkiness.
At the end of each movement or posture, the sword blade is held in a specific position. The blade of the sword can be held with the "sharp" edge of the sword held in a vertical or perpendicular position, one edge pointing directly down to the floor the other to the sky, the zhimian position. The blade of the sword can be held with the "sharp" edge of the sword held in a horizontal or parallel position relative to the floor, the sword blade flat relative to the ground, the pingmian position. Finally, the blade of the sword can be held with the "sharp" edge of the sword held at an angle relative to the floor, tilted to the side, slanted, or angled to the right or left side. In position 1g, the sword blade edge is held in a vertical position relative to the floor, zhimian.
In general, during the practice of Taiji sword, the posture is held upright, we stand tall, we keep our back straight, we relax the shoulders and chest, we center the weight in the waist, we draw our chin in slightly, and we keep the crown of the head held high. We strive for nimbleness, alertness, poise, precision, and dignity.
Keep in mind that although the one sentence at a time descriptions that follow might imply a kind of step-by-step or one-two-three mechanical and jerky sort of movement sequence, in actual practice the movements "flow" smoothly together. Sometimes, multiple movements of the arms and legs occur simultaneously. When practicing alone at home, be sure to carefully study the DVDs, VHS, or UTube video demonstrations or instructions (listed above) on how to perform, to move, to play, to dance, to properly perform this 32 sword form. Sword forms are fluid, graceful, controlled, and expressive.