Wushu Vocabulaire / Woordenboek

No matter what you study, it’s always helpful to familiarize yourself with the vocabulary of the subject sooner than later. The same goes for Wushu. If you’re determined to learn about Wushu (techniques, history, etc.), it helps to learn about Chinese Culture and Language. If you want to learn Chinese pronunciation, it helps to learn Pinyin (Chinese Phonetics) first.

As for Wushu related vocabulary, here’s a good starting point:

Basic concepts:

English Pinyin Chinese Remarks
Wushu Wǔshù 武术  
Tai Chi Tàijí 太极  
Qi Gong Qìgōng 气功  
Kung Fu Gōngfū 功夫  
Form / Set Tàolù 套路 Refers to the forms / sets of movements we practice
Basics Jīběngōng 基本功 Refers to the basic movements one must continuously practice to perfect the techniques.
School Xuéxiào 学校 This is the literal meaning of school. you can also use this when talking about an elementary school or any other type of educational institution.
School / Clan Ménpài 门派 This refers to the type of school and the style they practice. A few examples of well-know clans are Shaolin, Wudang, Emei (Bak Mei) and Cai Li Fo (Choi Lee Fat)
Gym / Dojo Wǔ guǎn 武馆  
China Zhōngguó 中国  
Chinese language Zhōngwén 中文  
Chinese people Zhōngguó rén 中国人  
Chinese culture Zhōngguó wénhuà 中国文化  
Northern Styles Běi quán / Cháng quán 北拳 / 长拳  
Southern Styles Nán quán 南拳  



In Chinese culture, the way you address someone can be complicated and depends on what your relation with them is, their age, their position within a lineage, the level of respect you want to express and many other variables.

Each school copes differently with these terms and etiquettes and we encourage everyone to respect and adapt to the culture and etiquette of their own school or environment.
At our school, we prefer a bit of a modern approach. We have students from many different countries, cultures and backgrounds, so acceptance, inclusiveness and mutual respect are important here. Therefore, you can just call the teacher Laoshi (老师), which means exactly that: teacher. It’s a respectful yet friendly way to address this person, without establishing a complex hierarchy with which you implicate a certain degree of respect or skill. We’re all people and we’re all here to help one another.

I won’t bother you with the full extent of this subject (you may do your own research), but here are a few useful terms to learn when you first start your martial journey:

English Pinyin Chinese Remarks
Teacher Lǎoshī 老师  
Coach Jiàoliàn 教练  
Master Shīfù 师傅 、 师父 师傅 is a general term that expresses respect towards someone who practices a certain profession. You can use it with anyone (from a car mechanic to a cook or a Wushu teacher), to show that they’re a respected specialist. It’s never good to call yourself a Shifu though.

师父 Is used to refer to your ‘personal master’, someone who has accepted you as their disciple. The pronunciation is the same as the above term, but the character 父 means father and this term is therefore used to describe your master as a sort of father-figure.

Your master’s master or father Shīyé 师爷  
Your master’s wife Shīmǔ 师母  
Your older Kung Fu brother Shīxiōng 师兄 “Older” doesn’t refer to age here, but rather how long someone has trained with this Shifu. Your Shixiong can therefore be younger than you.
Your younger Kung Fu brother Shīdì 师弟  
Your older Kung Fu sister Shījiě 师姐  
Your younger Kung Fu sister Shīmèi 师妹  
Disciple Túdì / Dìzǐ 徒弟 / 弟子  


Body Parts & Techniques:

English Pinyin Chinese Remarks
Fist Quán Da Quan (打拳) = Hitting with the first or fighting, Bao Quan (抱拳) = making/holding a first
Palm Zhǎng Tui Zhang (推掌) = Puching with the palm, Chuan Zhang (穿掌) = Piercing with the Palm
Leg Tuǐ  
Foot Jiǎo  
Knee Xīgài 膝盖  
Arm Gēbó 胳膊  
Elbow Zhǒu Ding Zhou (顶肘) = Elbow strike
Punch / hit  
Jumping Tiào  
Balance Pínghéng 平衡  
Fast Kuài  
Slow Màn  
Horse Stance Mǎ bù 马步  
Bow Stance Gōng bù 弓步  
Crouching Stance Pū bù 仆步  
Empty Stance Xū bù 虚步  
Attacking Gōngjí 攻击  
Defending Fángshǒu 防守