This document was created using Mahiro Shukosa's Guide to Sword Forms: http://www.geocities.com/TimesSquare/Castle/5432/warder.html
Apple Blossoms in the Wind
A versatile technique, intended for use against an ambush by multiple opponents. The blade is held low, but ready for use in a number of strike forms. Keep loose and move slowly.
Arc of the Moon
A simple slash, meant to take off an opponent's head. Probably begins at midbody level, arcs to neck, and ends back at a guard stance.
Boar Rushes Down the Mountain
A vertical slash, but one that can alter course in midswing quickly. Starts high and ends low. Try this with Tower of Morning.
Several quick chest-level thrusts, followed by an arc and a paired return arc that should return the blade to a guard stance. Try this against a quarterstaff opponent.
Cat Crosses the Courtyard
Not a sword-form or stance, but a method of movement which maximizes alertness and reaction potential. Weight should be on the balls of the feet, with head held high and eyes constantly shifting, watching for threats. Arms and hands should freely move, not in pockets or holding items. Each step should be taken confidently, but not hurriedly.
Cat Dances on the Wall
A feinting, tentative series of short slashes, thrusts, and parries. The swordsman must have good wrists and quick feet for this to be effective. Useful for buying time.
Cat on Hot Sand
A faster, less tentative version of The Cat Dances on the Wall. Better for multiple opponents.
Courtier Taps His Fan
A quick, powerful overhand blow, meant to split the head. A good move for anyone to have in his repertoire.
A more exaggerated and slower version of The Boar Rushes Down the Mountain. Starting high, the blade sweeps back and forth before reaching its lowest point. Can be used to parry effectively against multiple opponents, or just one. Move from this straight into The River Undercuts the Bank or The Wind Blows over the Wall, and you've got an effective pair.
Folding the Fan
The sword sheathing technique. The blade is smoothly swung around from guard stance and sheathed, all in one motion.
A circular motion when blades are locked, used to disarm an opponent.
Heron Spreads Its Wings
The operational version of Heron Wading in the Rushes. A tighter cut, concentrated in one sector of the arc of the sword.
Heron Wading in the Rushes
IMPORTANT: This form should only be used for practicing balance. It is possible to use this form in combat, but it is highly likely you will receive your opponent's weapon in your chest before you take his head. A horizontal, pivoting slash done on one foot. Begun at shoulder or head height.
Hummingbird Kisses the Honeyrose
A quick thrust in the face. Will at least deter an opponent, and will usually kill a charging opponent outright. Blade should start from shoulder height, though it may be performed from any level less quickly.
Kingfisher Takes a Silverback
Begun while the sword is at shoulder height or higher, a downward stab for the abdomen. Begun when the sword is lower than shoulder height, a downward stab meant to cripple a leg or the groin. May also be used to parry a midlevel strike.
Leaf on the breeze
A horizontal guard position with a form similar to The Falling Leaf. The blade will move up and down according to the threat while moving horizontally to offer new threats. A good basic form. Attacks from this position should include Lightning of Three Prongs and Lizard in the Thornbush.
Leopard in a Tree
A preliminary form, begun with both hands on the hilt of the sword, knees bent, and leaning forward in a ready position. This form is used to prepare for Unfolding the Fan or another such drawing technique.
Lightning of Three Prongs
Beginning from a basic stance like Lion on the Hill, a thrust that can either continue as a thrust or slash to either side. Can also be used to parry.
Lion on the Hill
A basic guard stance, with the sword held at shoulder height ready to move into a variety of other forms. Looks kinda like Crono's basic battle stance - see a Chrono Trigger page for more info.
Lizard in the Thornbush
Used expressly against two opponents. One thrust to the chest, then pivot and kneel with either a thrust or a slash, usually a thrust. Good mid-level technique; most veteran-level soldiers have mastered this form.
Low Wind Rising
Can be done from almost any stance - even sitting. A diagonal slash, beginning low and rising cleanly. May be used to return to a guard stance after a form such as The Grapevine Twines or Lightning of Three Prongs.
Moon Rises Over Water
A vertical arc after a horizontal, tentative slash. The blade should begin and end in the same position - near the waist.
Parting the Silk
A more controlled slash, probably used as a precision block or strike. Directed at the abdomen, a good move to draw first blood or inflict nonlethal damage on an opponent.
Ribbon in the Air
A horizontal slash that may change direction up or down at the tail end. Should be begun just below chest height. Both feet should be used in this form, unlike the Heron forms.
River Undercuts the Bank
Can be done from a kneeling or standing position. A horizontal slash, used to disembowel or behead.
Sheathing the Sword
More of a concept than a sword-form, this is used when what you can gain is greater than or equal to what you may lose in the process of gaining it. This might be using Heron Wading in the Rushes like Rand al'Thor, or it might be using Lizard in the Thornbush to take down two major opponents when you know a third, less important one is coming up behind you.
Stones Falling From The Cliff
The medium difficulty version of Boar Rushes Down the Mountain. A good mainstay of a battle, this form is useful for both parrying and attacking. The sword should begin at least at shoulder height and come down.
Striking the Spark
A rapid series of powerful overhand blows, best begun on the return swing of a slash like Low Wind Rising or The Heron Spreads Its Wings. If you've got stamina this can win a battle for you.
Swallow Rides the Air
The guard stance assumed after performing The Swallow Takes Flight. More of an on-the-run stance, made for attacking or defending while mobile.
Swallow Takes Flight
Basically, Low Wind Rising followed by a short thrust. The form is angled more toward the opponent, though, so that the opening slash is more a guard for the thrust.
The Creeper Embraces the Oak
A slow, circling stance. The blade goes from high to low and back to constantly offer a new threat and to guard against others. Forms to use out of this: The Falling Leaf, Lightning of Three Prongs.
The Falcon Stoops
An abbreviated version of The Kingfisher Takes a Silverback. A quick overhand thrust, returning to a guard position just as quickly.
Thistledown Floats on the Whirlwind
A short-range jumping spin-swipe, used for beheading. Best if done by surprise. An opening move in most cases. The sword should not move more than a foot or so; the main force is provided by the spin of the body. The blade should not extend too far out from the body, and be approximately chest high.
Tower of the Morning
A vertical slash, starting low and ending high. I'd pair this one with Boar Rushes Down the Mountain or The Courtier Taps His Fan.
Twisting the Wind
For use in a tight situation, when one is outnumbered. A quick, continual rotation of the body, using slashes and short thrusts to counter or attack as the situation dictates.
Unfolding of the Fan
The exact opposite of Folding the Fan. Can be used as an opener, since this form can unsheathe the sword and stroke at the same time. Can also be used if caught off guard or in an awkward position.
Water Flows Downhill
A more complicated form of The Boar Rushes Down the Mountain. This form can and will change direction in midstroke; only the more advanced swordsmen use this form. Like its name, it takes the easiest route from high to low, avoiding contact with the other weapon while seeking its target.
Whirlwind on the Mountain
A form of Thistledown Floats on the Whirlwind, except done while remaining on the ground. Can be modified for use for striking uphill or downhill simply by changing the angle of the spin. The sword also is extended further than with Thistledown Floats on the Whirlwind.
Wind and the Rain
Another complicated form. Begun with either Low Wind Rising or Parting the Silk, this form follows through with multiple short thrusts or quick overhand blows.
Wood Grouse Dances
Similar to the Cat Dances on the Wall, but from a more stationary point. Mainly to feel out an enemy, more than to do serious harm.