Tai Chi Glossary

Please refer to this Tai Chi Glossary for names and terms featuring in this blog, as well as in other web pages, about Tai Chi Chuan. A great tip is to bookmark this page (CMD/ Command + D) so that you can always reach it when you encounter a Tai Chi term that you haven’t seen before, or is uncertain of its meaning.


An – One of the “8 jins” or energies.

Anjing  – Stillness, calmness


Ba Bei  –  “pluck the back”, see: Ba bei han xiong

Bang – Taiji stick (practicing tool, compare with chi or “ruler”)

Bagua – The 8 Hexagrams, can also mean gossip.

Baguazhang, also known as Baguaquan – A Chinese Internal Martial Art

Ba men – the eight ”gates” or energies. The eight basic methods in Tai Chi

Bajiquan – A traditional Kung Fu style

Bei  –  Back

Bow stance, also known as Bow and arrow stance – A long & low, forward positioned posture with the weight on the front foot

Bu  – Stance, posture (as in “mabu”: Horse stance)


Cai (採)- “pluck”, one of the 8 gates or 8 energies.

Cat stance

Chang – “long”

Changjin – “Long energy

Changquan – “long fist”, one of Taijiquan’s earlier names

Chen – see Chen style

Chen  –  Sink (as “Qi chen”, let the Qi sink)

Chenjiagou – The Chen village

Chen Style, or Chen shi Taijiquan  – The source of modern Tai Chi Chuan.

Chen Wangting (1580–1660) – A local officer and Chen clan member. By many believed to be the inventor of Tai Chi Chuan.

Chi – ruler / Tai Chi ruler (太極尺)

Ch’i – see: Qi

Ch’i Kung – See: Qigong

Crane’s beak – Hand formation

Crane stance – A one legged stance with the front leg raised high

Cross stance – A stance with the legs crossed, seldom practiced in Tai Chi. Also known as “Tou bu” – stealing step”


Dan – Essence or elixir

Dantian – “elixir field” three different areas inside the body that stores and refines the Qi. The top dantian is in the head, the middle Dantian is in the solar plexus, and the lower dantian is located a little below the navel.

Dao – The Tao as in Taoism

Dao – “Knife”, The Chinese Broadsword or Chinese saber. Comes in many different executions and variations.

Daojia – Taoist filosophy

Daojiao – Taoist religion

Dim mak – see: Dianxue

Dongjin – Understanding jin

Ding shi  – “Holding postures”, a way to practice by using postures as stationary stance practice or as “Zhang zhuang”. Also see Zhan Zhuang

Dianxue – “Pointing arteries”, more known by the name of Dim Mak. Vulnerable points to attack in combat.

Duanjin – Short Jin, or short energy, short force


Fangsong  – See: Song

Fen – Split, separate (as in: yema fen zong, separate the wild horse mane)

Fo – Buddha

Fojiao – Buddhism. Chinese Buddhism has 8 main schools where Zhan (Zen) and Tibetan Buddhism are the most well known in the West.

Fo shi Taijiquan – Buddha style, a very rare form of Taijiquan

Fu shi Taijiquan – Fu style Tai Chi


Gang – hard / hardness

Gou “hook”  – A hand position often confused with “Crane’s beak”


Ha – a sound, mostly mentioned together with “heng” as in “heng ha”

Han xiong – Contain the chest

Hao – See Wu / Hao style

He  – Close or connect.

Heng – Horizontal energy, as in Hengquan in Xingyiquan

Hu  – Tiger

Hu  – see: He


Ji – “Press”, one of the 8 jins. Actually means “squeeze”

Jia – “frame”

Jian – Narrow, double bladed straight sword

Jin – “energy” or intrinsic strength. In Taiji, we speak about Taiji jin.


Kai  – “open” as in “kai he”

Kou – “lean” mostly referred to as “shoulder strike”, one of the eight ”Jins” or gates.

Kong – Empty

Kongjin – “Empty force”


Lengjin – “cold energy”

Li – Stupid force/muscular effort

Li – Fire

Li style – A lesser known Taiji Style

Lie – “split”, one of the “8 gates” or “8 energies”

Lu – “walk” or “road”

– “Roll back”, one of the “8 gates” or “8 energies”

Luohan – “Arhat”, a common name for different old Shaolin systems.


Mabu – “Horse Stance”

Mian – Cotton or continuous.

Mianquan – Continuous boxing or Cotton Fist, an older name of Taijiquan as well as om a contemporary “semi-soft” Kung Fu style.


Na – grip or grasp

Nei – inner, on the insider or internal

NeijiaquanInternal School of Boxing arts, or Internal Arts Boxing

Neijin – Internal skill or Internal Power, Sometimes written “neijing”

Neijing – Internal medicine

Neigong – Internal skill practicing methods


Pakua – See: Bagua

Pa Kua Chang – See Baguazhang

Pai – School or style

Peng – “Ward-off”, one of the “8 gates” or “8 energies”.

Pengjin – “Ward-off energy“, or “Ward-Off skill”, the round quality found in Peng

Ping – flat or levelled

Pung – See Peng


Qi – You know what

Qigong – “Qi practice


Rou – soft, weak

Roushou – “Soft hands”, a partner exercise also known as “spinning hands”.

Ruan – soft

Ruanquan – soft fist/boxing

Rujia – Confucianism


Sheshou – “Snake hand”

Shi – ten

Shi – “style”

Shizishou – “ten figure hand”, the arms kept in a cross, as in the end posture of Taiji forms.

Song – “relax” – keeping the integrity of structure and posture with as little effort as possible and without forcing

Song chen – “relax and sing”, internal sinking through whole body relaxation

Spearhand – Using the stretched index finger used for point striking

Sung – See: Song

Swordhand – the two index fingers are stretched while the other three are kept together. The fingers are used to put against the wrist of the hand holding a jian, the Chinese narrow blade sword, for stability. Sometimes used for applications. Seldom seen in barehanded forms.


Taijiquan – The pinyin romanisation of Tai Chi Chuan.

Taolu – “form” a set of physical movements (compare with the japanese “kata”)

Ti – “lift”

Ti feng – “Lift and let go”/ “lift and place”. To uproot an opponent’s balance and issue fajin on the unbalanced body. Sometimes fajin and tifeng are used interchangeable

Ting – To listen or listening

Tingjin – “Listening skill”or “sensitivity”

Tui – “Push”

Tudi – Disciple

Tuina – Chinese deep tissue massage

Tuishou Pushing Hands


Wei wuwei – action by non-action

Wu – Nothingness

WubuThe 5 steps

Wuji – the undifferenced state that turns into Taiji

Wuwei – non-action


Xin – Heart, Heart-Mind

Xiong – Chest

Xia – Downwards, lower

Xia – Wandering knight

Xu – Empty


You – Being

Yang – The positive pole or bright side of Yin-Yang

Yi – “intent” or “idea”

Yin – The negative or dark side of Yin-Yang


Zhou – Elbow

Zhan – Zhan Buddhism, or Zen

Zhan “stretch”

Zhan – stand/stance

Zhanzhuang – “Standing post”, Stationary posture practice

Zhai – “Pluck”

Zhaobao – A village next to the Chenjiagou, the Chen village

Zhaobao Taijiquan – Zhaobao Style Taijiquan

Zhong – center

Zhong ding – centreline or central equilibrium

Zhou – Elbow

Zuan – Twist/screw