Glossary –Terms Referred to in This Site


(丹田, tan t’ien) – The region two inches below the navel where qi is stored.


(功夫, kung fu) – Commonly used both in China and abroad to refer to Chinese martial arts, gongfu includes the characters 功 (literally meaning achievement, merit or result) and 夫 (literally meaning man), and historically has referred to human achievement or skill in a more general sense, or in the sense of a deeper, integrated achievement of mind and body.

Guang Ping

(廣平, kuang p’ing) – A town in Hebei Province where Yang Luchan resided after ending his residence with the Chen Family.

Guang Ping Yang Taijiquan

(廣平楊太極拳, kuang p’ing yang t’ai chi ch’uan) – A form of Yang Taichi attributed to Yang Luchan.  Traditional history teaches that the form that he austerely taught his sons differed from the form that he taught to the Imperial Guard and was not taught openly until Kuo Lien Ying and Chiang Yun Chun began teaching in San Francisco in the 1960’s and 70’s.

More about Guang Ping Yang Taijiquan.

internal martial arts

internal martial arts – Sets of exercises that relate directly or indirectly to combat training that focus on developing beneficial qualities with a primary emphasis on the cultivation of qi.  The most well-known internal martial arts are taijiquan, baguazhang, xingyi and yiquan (dachengquan).

Long-Life Stretch

(aka, chin-to-toe) a stretching exercise associated with some schools of Taichi, including Guangping Taijiquan, in which the practitioner bends forward and places his chin on the toe of an extended leg.  Achieving this stretch was a prerequisite for learning Guang Ping Taiji until recent history.

martial arts

A very broad term that refers to sets of physical activities that relate directly or indirectly to combat training, and tend to be developed or derived to varying degrees from Chinese or Japanese arts.  The results of training in different martial arts and the purposes of practicing martial arts in modern times vary as broadly.  Among the purposes for practicing martial arts: personal defense, competition, military or law-enforcement application, character-building, meditation, philosophical study, cultural study, improving health, achieving longevity, etc. Considering how broadly the term is used, I find it ironic that in every art there seem to be people who claim that their art is the “only real martial art.”  Click here for more perspective related to the purposes of taijiquan and other martial arts practice.


(内功, nei kung) – Practices that emphasize the cultivation of internal energy.


(氣, ch’i) – A concept important to internal martial arts and Traditional Chinese Medicine as it refers to life energy.  The word or character is also commonly defined as gas, air, spirit or manner.  The character includes pictographs that represent rice (米) and curling clouds (气) to give the meaning of steam that rises from cooked rice.


(氣功, ch’i kung) – Activities that relate to the cultivation of qi.  The two characters provide the literal meaning of energy work.

standing meditation

See Zhangzhuang below.


(太極, t’ai chi) – A Chinese concept meaning Supreme Ultimate, represented by the circular bright/dark yin-yang symbol, that commonly refers to the martial art taijiquan.


(太極拳, t’ai chi ch’uan) – Literally Supreme Ultimate Fist, this term refers to any one in a category of internal martial arts forms that are traced back to the form of martial arts practiced by the Chen family in Ming Dynasty China, and is attributed to the mythical Zhang Sanfeng.

Twenty-Four Forms Taichi

A widely popular form of simplified taichi that was created and standardized by four Taichi teachers who were brought together by the Chinese Sports Committee in 1956.  Derived from the longer forms of Yang Taichi known to the public at the time, the 24-forms set is a good moving meditation that gradually develops good health.

Universal Post

A standing meditation exercise attributed to Yiquan originator Wang Xiangzhai that has been practiced by Guang Ping practitioners since Kuo Lienying.

More about Universal Post as an element of good Taichi training.

Yang-Style Taichi

A category of forms of taijiquan attributed to Yang Luchan.


(意拳, yi ch’uan) – A martial art developed by Wang Xiangzhai that involves a significant amount of standing meditation practice.


(站桩, chan chuang) – Meditative exercises associated with qigong or gongfu, especially internal martial arts, that are practiced in a still standing position.  Among the various activities associated with gongfu, standing meditation (or zhuanzhuang) is the simple in form and among the most challenging to practice for significant durations due to the amount of patience it can require.  Standing meditation is also believed by many to be a more directly effective activity for deriving benefit than moving forms.

Contact Michael for personalized instruction in classical taichi.