Catherine Dao

Today’s Form Of the Day is Catherine Dao:

Begin standing straight, dao in left hand lying along arm (point up).

Toe-out, heels-out till you are in high horse.

Rt hand, palm up, at groin level. Lift to chest level and back down with inhale, exhale.

Circle right arm around to touch dao hilt. Left arms comes out a bit from your body as you do this. Immediately turn rt and step rt (slightly northeast), heel first, into a forward stance as both arms circle out from body like rising wings to meet at chest level on dao hilt.

Grasp dao hilt with rt hand. Drop left hand so that they are extended opposite. Turn left (west) into forward stance with left foot fwd as you sweep dao low to a horizontal west-pointing position. Left arm circles opposite and ends covering left temple.

Pull dao back to waist and bring left arm a bit lower, then stab forward as you step fwd with rt foot into front stance. Left covering arm returns to temple.

Rt foot scissor-steps behind left foot as dao cuts diagonally across your body so that tip is pointing to left of your left foot. Rt hand presses flat edge of blade.

Unwind feet so that you are now in a northeastern-facing high front stance (rt foot fwd), dao pressing to your diagonal right at chest level (left hand still on flat edge).

Kick rt foot back behind left shin and immediately drop into a lower front stance (rt foot still fwd, still facing northeast). As you kick, bring dao over your head so that the tip "pokes" to the left of your left ear. Left hand remains braced on the flat endge. As you drop into the lower stance, left hand goes to rt wrist and dao moves to horizontal at arm’s legth, pointing northeast.

Dao sweeps horizontally to your left, remaining on the low level. Your weight transfers to left foot as right foot swings out in a circular motion and you turn left (to west). Rt foot steps through as you continue the dao swing around your head (point downward), then swing up to a horiz position as you continue to turn and end in a left-foot-fwd front stance facing southeast. As dao goes around head, left hand comes off blade and returns to warding the left temple.

Close left hand chestward and bring dao down and then up-and-over in a big circular overhead hack. Remember to bend elbow. Step through with rt foot. End in a southeast-facing front stance (rt foot fwd), dao horiz at arm’s length pointing southeast. As you hack down, you left arm circles opposite so that you end with that arm straight out behind you.

Step left foot up to rt foot and bring tip of dao to point up. Both hands come to hilt at chest. Body turns to face south.

Immediately step out with rt foot to a high horse, turning body again so that you are now facing northeast. Both arms thrust out to sides- left in a palm-strike at chest level, right is a strike with the hilt at chest level (point of dao upward). Both elbows are bent almost 90 degrees.

Bring dao in-and-down toward left hip and circle back up to overhead-hack as you close left arm chestward. Bring rt foot in to touch left foot, then turn and step to southwest. End in a forward stance (rt foot in front) facing southwest, blade point facing same direction in a high diagonal hack. As you turn and hack down, left arm circles opposite right arm and is now behind you, straight-elbowed and at a downward diagonal angle.

Step left foot up beside right foot and stand with knees slightly bent. Blade turns sideways so that it is held across your brow. Left hand comes straight through to grasp underneath blade.

Turn wrist over so that blade point is now pointing right (to north). Turn left wrist over, open fist and flex wrist 90 degrees- palm to southwest, fingertips to west.

Turn to north, and screw yourself downward into a low scissor stance, leading with blade point.

Stand upright and step right foot directly behind left in a very tiny step. Bring both wrists to cross at chest level, left on top.

Left fireman’s kick to north. "Wipe the corpse off your blade" with left hand and end with left palm straight north at extention (chest level) as you pull dao hilt back to right ear (sharp edge upward and point northward).

Turn immediately 180 degrees south without putting the foot down. Sink into low front stance (rt foot fwd) as dao hacks overhead to end pointing south horiz at chest level. Left hand is on rt wrist.

Stay very low as you shift across to north-facing low front stance (left foot fwd), sweeping dao horiz at that same low level. As you face north again, pick the right foot up and set it down to north as you continue the circle to end in an east-facing hill-climbing stance. Bring the dao hilt in to chest and describe a small circle there before thrusting it to north. Left hand still supporting rt wrist.

Bring hilt back to chest again in a similar circle, only larger. Body follows circle as you shift weight to left (dropping as low as possible) and then to a low right lunge, thrusting to north. Left arm is now straight out behind you, balancing.

Stand up straight and draw left foot up, bringing left arm up across chest to ward with hand at rt cheek. Dao cuts diagonally across body, point pointing to ground south of your foot.

Bring hilt to chest and describe another small circle there before thrusting to southwest, extending at chest level. Left foot steps down into a forward stance facing southwest. Left hand comes up to ward left temple.

Bring rt foot to left foot, facing south, pulling dao horizontally across brow level (blade up, hilt to your left). Circle it down to left hip and then up behind you to northwest as you step that rt foot back to northwest. Left hand is doing another "pushing the corpse off your blade" motion as you do this.

Step the rt foot back in and circle dao around your head (tip downward), then transer the hilt to your left hand. You are now standing straight facing south with the dau hilt in your left hand, blade resting along arm and point up. Bring rt hand around in a little circle (rt elbow glued to hip) to press palm down at belt. Salute.