The form is long and complex, its varied choreography making use of the straight sword's parallel cutting edges and the angled point. Both the sword and the sabre forms begin subtly in ways requiring knowledge of Chen techniques : the opening moves of the weapon come from barely discernible chansijing in dantian.

There is a feeling of spaciousness and grace in the jian's sinuosity : if the dao is like a leaping tiger, the jian is an elusive dragon, chameleon-like in its manifestations.  There are also sudden thrusts and stabs, and quick flicks of the sharp cutting tip, but the underlying pulse is a languid one.

Chen XiaoWang, county Donegal 1997Certain moves show off the sword's aesthetics : there is, for example, Xie fei shi, where the entire body in a deep low lunge stretches diagonally, Qi flowing in one unbroken line from toes to the sword's point aiming to pierce the sky.  Heaven, Earth, your body.....this ancient image receives new meaning.

The player needs to imbue the movements with internal force if the form is to be more than a beautiful calligraphic display.  Chen XiaoWang's performance on a hilltop overlooking a valley gives the Jian a lightning power that is rarely seen, the moves turbulent like clouds in a stormy sky, the shining blade as though tossed in an angry sea.