The two most prevalent swords used by Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan) practitioners are the Chinese jian (mandarin, or gim cantonese), often referred to as Tai Chi swords, and the saber (dao), often referred to as Tai Chi broadswords, or Kung Fu broadswords.
These Chinese jian and dao swords are often referred to as taijijian (tai chi jian) and taijidao (tai chi dao) reflecting their current use as training or practice weapons for taijiquan practitioners. Although, there were no historical jian types created specifically for taijiquan. Their use today is a modern adaptation of these ancient historical Chinese weapons.
The jian is a double-edged straight sword. Its use in China goes back approximately 2,500 years. The first Chinese sources that mention the jian date to the Spring and Autumn period (7th century BCE). There are one-handed and larger two-handed versions used for training by many styles of Chinese martial arts today.
The dao has a single sharpened edge, and can be either curved or straight. The earliest Chinese dao dates from the Shang Dynasty (approx. 1600 to 1045 BC) in China's Bronze Age. Originally bronze, by the late Warring states period (260 BCE) these weapons were made of iron or steel. There are many versions of dao used for training by many styles of Chinese martial arts today.