Abrupt softening phenomenon was observed in a shape memory CuAlNi single crystal upon uniaxial compression. Sudden martensite variant(s) reorientation was found to be the reason behind this anomalous behavior. The significance of this finding is twofold. On one hand, it clearly demonstrates that the stress induced transformation can follow a sequence of the phase transformation (martensitic transformation, austenite to martensite) and then reorientation (from one martensite variant to another). On the other hand, the anomalous softening provides a good evidence for explaining the propagation of the phase transformation front.