Sword sharpness comes after sword balance and integrity
in the order of the sword "how to". Funny but I would say that these two elements to a good sword would also be said to be the elements to a good swordsman/swords woman.
One thing that is left to do after balance and integrity is to put an edge on the top six inches or so of the blade. This is where the double edge tai chi sword does some of its work and all of its cutting/piercing. Each cutting stroke is, in effect, a glancing blow.
The double edged tai chi sword cannot slice through a suspended apple, lets say, unless the edge is as sharp as the chisel with which the master used to teach the swords person.
Both combat and spring steel tai chi sword blades are made from very hard alloy. So sharpening sword blades, like these needs two things well know to the tai chi chuan student : Hard work and Perseverance. This is because most blades as supplied not only lack an edge, but are usually quite blunted (maybe for safety).
This being the case then it is necessary to remove the blade material but only enough to achieve an edge. Some swords are chromium plated; however, functional swords are not. precisely because plating interferes with proper sharpening. Stainless steel tai chi swords offer similar problems. It doesn't stay sharp because the edge is hard but brittle.
Sword sharpness is one of the three essential of the tai chi sword.
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