Home >> China & Oly Mov >> Culture & Art

Wushu Glossary

2003-11-27 11:02:00 COC Website

    LEITAI (pronounced as "lei-tai,"), literally "ring," refers to an improvised stage set up by a man of exceptional strength in ancient times who declared himself unbeatable and ready to take on anyone for a duel.

    QUANSHU (ch'uan-shu), literally "fist art," refers to a barehanded exercise in martial arts. Formerly called jiji, shoubo, bian, shiquan, dataozi, quanfa or baida, quanshu became a martial art in the form of routine after the Song Dynasty (960-1279). Among other things, changquan (long-range boxing), nanquan (southern-style boxing), taijiquan, xingyiquan (form-and-will boxing), baguaquan (eight-diagram boxing) and tongbeiquan (through-the-back boxing) are getting popular with wushu enthusiasts.

    FANGSHENGQUAN (fang-sheng-ch'uan), literally "animal-imitating boxing," refers to barehanded exercises imitative of the movements of animals such as houquan (monkey boxing) and tanglangquan (mantis boxing).

    YINGGONG (ying-kung), literally "hard skills," refers to the extraordinary feats in which the practitioner can stand incredibly hard blows given to various parts of his body. Such feats can only be developed through systematic, specialized training.

    TAOLU (t'ao-lu), literally "routine," refers to a main form of wushu practice. Previously wushu routines were usually made of two, four, six, eight or 12 sections but none of them had commencing and closing forms left out of it. To meet the needs of competition, new routines have been compiled, which, retaining the structure of traditional ones, set the time limit upon performance -- some for 80 seconds and others (chiefly traditional routines) for 60 seconds. Routines are classified compulsory, optional, traditional and sparring.

    LIUHE (liu-he), literally "six harmonies," refers to the three internal harmonies -- between mind and will, will and qi (vital energy), and qi and strength -- and the three external harmonies -- between hands and feet, elbows and knees, and shoulders and hips. It may also be interpreted as coordination of the eyes, mind, will, qi, strength and skill.

    BAFA (ba-fa), literally "eight methods," refers to the techniques executed with the hands, eyes, trunk and feet as well as the display of spirit, qi, strength and skills. A highly accomplished martial artist is said to have fists that strike out as fast as meteors, eyes sparkling like lightning, waist as flexible as that of snake, gaits that seem to glue his feet firmly to the ground. Besides, his performance is characterized by a display of martial spirit and consummate skills, good control of qi and smooth application of strength.

    SANLU (san-lu), literally "three parts," is a traditional term used by Chinese martial artists who divide the human body into three sections, each of three parts. The upper section, otherwise known as "shangsanlu," includes the shoulders, neck and head. The midsection, also called "zhongsanlu," consists of the lower abdomen, upper abdomen and chest. The lower section, also named "xiasanlu," is made of thighs, knees and shanks, including ankles.

    JIN (chin), literally "force," refers to the strength exerted by a certain part of the body (e.g., the hand) acting in coordination with other parts of the body (e.g., the legs and the waist).

    LI (li), literally "strength," refers to the force generated by certain body parts.

    NANQUAN BEITUI (nan-ch'uan pei-t'ui), literally "southern fist and northern leg," is so named because southern-style boxing lays stress on vigorous punches with the fists while northern-style boxing is characterized by long-range movements of the legs.

    WUGONG (wu-kung), literally "martial skills," refers mainly to the basic skills of wushu. It is also used to describe fighting skills demonstrated in traditional Chinese operas.

    CUNJIN (ts'un-chin), literally "inch strength," refers to an abrupt application of explosive force with the hand in wushu performance. It is so called because you start applying the explosive force only when your hand has come very near the target of attack. When mixed with slow, gentle moves, cunjin actions add to the rhythm of wushu exercises.

    TINGJIN (ting-chin), literally "feel out a force," means using the sense of touch to find out the direction, magnitude and intention of an incoming force.

    DONGJIN (tong-chin), literally "get wise to a force," means taking an effective counter-move, either offensive or defensive, against an incoming force as soon as it has been "felt out."

    DINGZIBU (ting-tsu-pu), which may be translated as "T-word step," is a stance formed in the following way: Stand upright with soles of both feet flat on floor, and with the heel of one foot brought into contact with the great-toe flexor (about midway between tip of great toe and heel) of the other foot so that the two feet are perpendicular to each other. A left (right) T-word step is formed with the left (right) foot placed in a sideway position. In a stance of this kind, the weight of the body should rest on both legs.

    DINGBU (ting-pu), or "T-step," is a stance in which both legs are bent into a half-squat position, with one foot flat on floor and the heel of the other foot lifted up, toes resting on floor beside the great-toe flexor of the supporting foot. A left (right) T-step is formed with the toes of the left (right) foot resting on floor. In a stance of this kind, one should squat down deep enough to bring the thigh of the supporting leg to an almost horizontal position, with upper body erect and lower back relaxed.

    GONGBU (kung-pu), or "bow step," is a stance in which one foot is placed in front of the other at a distance of two or three foot lengths. The front leg is bent so that the tip of the knee is vertically above the tips of the toes, which may either point forward or be turned slightly inward. The rear leg is straightened, with toes turned slightly outward. Both feet should be set flat on floor, with a transverse distance of about 10 cm between them. The torso should be held erect, chest out and buttocks drawn in.

    MABU (ma-pu), or "horse-ride step," is a parallel stance in which the feet are placed shoulder-width or about three foot-lengths apart, soles flat on floor and toes pointing forward. Both legs are bent so that the knees are vertically above the tips of the toes. Weight is equally distributed between the two legs. In nanquan, the feet are placed wider apart and the squat is so deep that the thighs are in a horizontal position. When taking the horse-ride step, one should hold the torso erect and keep lower back relaxed, buttocks tucked in, heels of both feet thrust outward, tips of knees turned inward.

    YUNSHOU (yun-shou), literally "wave hands like clouds," refers to a widely-used movement in taijiquan practice. It should be done as follows: Stand upright with hands in front of chest. Move hands one after another in an inward and outward arc at an even speed. When one hand gets to the outermost side, it should be turned at once with palm side facing downward, no higher than eyebrow level. Meanwhile, move the other palm in an arc towards chest with palm facing chest. The movement should be done with the waist as the axis and continuously.

    PANJIAZI (pan-chia-tsu), literally "coiling frame," is also known as "lianjiazi." It means that in taijiquan practice all forms are done in order and without interruption.

    CHANSIJIN (ch'an-su-chin), literally "twining power," refers to a main strength-exerting way. As taijiquan expert Chen Xin says, "Whether a taijiquan practitioner can master the real essence of the art largely depends on how he can employ this method on his body."

    YONGYI (yung-yi), literally "use of will," means that movements should be controlled with will when practice takes place.

Related Story

Find an athlete