Terminology of Tai Chi

Mandarin Pronunciation


Chinese wording


Meaning of the movements

Qǐ shì 起勢 Starting/ready to begin
Juǎn gōng shì- yòu, zuǒ 卷肱勢- 右、左 Hand alternately rolls behind the ear and then slides in front of the body. Right first, then left
Lǒu xī ǎo bù- zuǒ, yòu 摟膝抝步- 左、右 Turn the knee to one side, land with the heel of the foot first with a slow swing movement – left first then right. Sometimes known as ‘brushing the knees’
Yěmǎ fēn zōng- zuǒ, yòu 野馬分鬃- 左、右 Hands move apart from each other, but from a low level to an upper level position. Left first then right
Yún shǒu, zuǒ liǎng cì, yòu liǎng cì 雲手、左兩次、右兩次 Each hand moves across in front of your face in a round circular alternate fashion. Two circles towards the left first, then two circles to the right
Jīnjīdúlì, yòu, zuǒ 金雞獨立、右、左 Sometimes refer to as ‘golden cockerel stands on one leg’; this is to test the practitioner’s balance and also both hands are use to maintain steadiness
Yòu dēng jiǎo, yòu, zuǒ 右蹬脚、右、左 First raise the knee above belly button and kick out slowly, but with the toes curl back and straighten the entire leg. Right kick first, follow by left kick
Lǎn què wěi, yòu, zuǒ 攬雀尾、右、左 This is known as ‘grasping a peacock’s tail’; the movements involve 4 different application techniques. Perform right side first, then left side
Shízì shǒu 十字手 Crossing hands – in which the hands were crossed in front of the body prior to finish
Shōu shì 收式 End movement

This Yang’s Tai Chi 8 steps are explained in details in our video, just click on video.

This basic form covers all kinds of techniques that are relevant to all Tai Chi movements, regardless of which family that you are from: all have the same fundamental principles.

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