DISCLOSURE: Breakthroughealing.org is reader supported so if you buy any products featured on this site I may earn an affiliate commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Read my full disclosure here.

Tai Chi is perhaps one of the most engaging martial arts you will come across.

Its power is drawn from the mind and not the muscles.

And to understand it fully you’ll need to learn all the Tai Chi terms and vocabulary.

Before delving deeper into those deliberate, flowing and rhythmic movements, it is important that I break down some of the unique vocabulary and terms you are likely to come across.

In this glossary, I will introduce you to some of the most common Tai Chi words.

Here’s The Most Commonly Used Words In Tai Chi

Ba Men

This is a term that stands for 8 doors, referring to the number set for basic motion patterns.

They include:

Peng – to ward offLu – rolling back or yieldingJi – squeezing or pressingAn – pushing or pressingCai – grabbing, controlling or pluckingLie – splittingZhou – using the elbowKao – bumping

Chin Na

This is a term that refers to the locking and controlling of joints.

The techniques here are created to force the muscles, tendons and joints of the opponent to move in motions that inflict pain.

You will realise how important this is in Tai Chi, for its capacity to immobilize and control your opponent.

Basically, it refers to the grappling techniques used.

Kung Fu

Yes, there is Kung Fu as a term in Tai Chi, also referred to as Gong Fu.

It means hard work, energy, patience and time.

Do not mistake this for some kind of style.

It is a term that simply refers to things that require time, energy and patience for them to be accomplished.


The first day of practicing Tai Chi, one of the words I heard my trainer use was Laogong.

This is a crucial term, which stands for the acupressure point located at the center of your palm.

It is used when practicing moves.

There is a long-standing belief that qi (life force energy) is released and absorbed here.

Tui Shou

You will here this repeated severally in your practice.

It means ‘’push hands’’ and is a technique designed to help you develop better sensitivity to your surroundings and envision an oncoming attack.

While starting, the primary role of this term will be to help you get your opponent off balance.

As you advance, Tui Shou will guide you through other techniques, such as locking joints, knee wrestling and take downs.

Ba Shi

This term stands for the 8 stances, common in Tai Chi.

The technique is practiced to help in the development of strong legs.


This means essence, and according to the Traditional Chinese Medicine, it is used by the body to produce qi.

The study finds that the faster the draining of Jing, the quicker the body ages and finally dies.

Well, Jing, Jin, Ching, Chin or, however, way you choose to refer to it is basically the manifestation of chi.

It is mostly used in all Chinese martial arts as a muscle strength supplement.


This is a term used to refer to the intention of the body’s reaction.

This will be reflected by how your mind thinks, how you visualize your techniques and how you engage your subconscious mind.

These Are The Most Important Terms Used In Tai Chi

If you are about to join your Tai Chi classes and are concerned of the terms and vocabularies used in Tai Chi you are likely to come across, this glossary should help.

Categorized in: