Yang Style Taijiquan Postures List

Yang Chengfu demonstrates Raise Hands (提手上势)

Here is a complete list of postures in the traditional form of Yang style Taijiquan.

Since Taijiquan was first introduced to English speakers as “Tai Chi,” many of the original Chinese posture names have generated more than one translation. Some were meant to be literal, others more evocative. The most popular translations are given here.

Each “posture” consists of one to four distinct movements, sometimes even more.

This sequence is counted differently by various schools. For example, “Separation Kicks” contains a kick to the right, then to the left; some teachers call this one posture, others two postures. The same form is thereby identified as containing 85, 103, and 108 postures. Counting methods used by Fu Zhongwen (“85 form”) and the Yang Family (“103 form”) are both included below.

Due to the length and complexity of this form, it is occasionally split into three sections. These sections are delimited by the “Cross Hands” posture.

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Fu #English中文PinyinYang #
1Preparation预备Yùbèi1
2Beginning起式Qǐ shì2
3Grasp the Bird’s Tail揽雀尾Lǎn què wěi3
4Single Whip单鞭Dān biān4
5Raise Hands and Step Forward提手上势Tí shǒu shàng shì5
6White Crane Spreads its Wings白鹤亮翅Bái hè liàng chì6
7Left Brush Knee and Push左搂膝拗步Zuǒ lōu xī ǎo bù7
8Play the Pipa手挥琵琶Shǒu huī pípá8
9Brush Knee and Push (3 times)搂膝拗步Lōu xī ǎo bù9-11
10Play the Pipa手挥琵琶Shǒu huī pípá12
11Left Brush Knee and Push左搂膝拗步Zuǒ lōu xī ǎo bù13
12Step Forward, Parry, Block, and Punch进步搬拦捶Jìn bù bān lán chuí14
13Apparent Closing如封似闭Rú fēng shì bì15
14Cross Hands十字手Shí zì shǒu16
 Second Section   
15Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain抱虎归山Bào hǔ guī shān17
16Fist Under Elbow肘底捶Zhǒu dǐ chuí18
17Step Back and Repulse Monkey (3 times)倒撵猴Dào niǎn hóu19-21
18Diagonal Flying斜飞式Xié fēi shì22
19Raise Hands and Step Forward提手上势Tí shǒu shàng shì23
20White Crane Spreads its Wings白鹤亮翅Bái hè liàng chì24
21Left Brush Knee and Push左搂膝拗步Zuǒ lōu xī ǎo bù25
22Needle at Sea Bottom海底针Hǎi dǐ zhēn26
23Fan Through Back扇通背Shàn tōng bèi27
24Turn Body, Chop with Fist转身撇身捶Zhuǎn shēn piē shēn chuí28
25Step Forward, Parry, Block, and Punch进步搬拦捶Jìn bù bān lán chuí29
26Step Forward, Grasp the Bird’s Tail上步揽雀尾Shàng bù lǎn què wěi30
27Single Whip单鞭Dān biān31
28Cloud Hands (3 times)云手Yún shǒu32-34
29Single Whip单鞭Dān biān35
30High Pat on Horse高探马Gāo tàn mǎ36
31Right Separation Kick右分脚Yòu fēn jiǎo37
31Left Separation Kick左分脚Zuǒ fèn jiǎo38
32Turn Body and Kick with Heel转身左蹬脚Zhuǎn shēn zuǒ dēng jiǎo39
33Brush Knee and Push (2 times)搂膝拗步Lōu xī ǎo bù40-41
34Step Forward and Punch Down进步栽锤Jìn bù zāi chuí42
35Turn Body, Chop with Fist转身撇身锤Zhuǎn shēn piē shēn chuí43
36Step Forward, Parry, Block, and Punch进步搬拦锤Jìn bù bān lán chuí44
37Right Heel Kick右蹬脚Yòu dēng jiǎo45
38Left Strike Tiger左打虎式Zuǒ dǎ hǔ shì46
39Right Strike Tiger右打虎式Yòu dǎ hǔ shì47
40Turn Body, Right Heel Kick回身右蹬脚Huí shēn yòu dēng jiǎo48
41Twin Fists Strike Ears双峰灌耳Shuāng fēng guàn ěr49
42Left Heel Kick左蹬脚Zuǒ dēng jiǎo50
43Turn Body, Right Keel Kick转身右蹬脚Zhuǎn shēn yòu dēng jiǎo51
44Step Forward, Parry, Block and Punch进步搬拦锤Jìn bù bān lán chuí52
45Apparent Closing如封似闭Rú fēng shì bì53
46Cross Hands十字手Shí zì shǒu54
 Third Section   
47Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain抱虎归山Bào hǔ guī shān55
48Diagonal Single Whip斜单鞭Xié dān biān56
49Part the Wild Horse’s Mane (3 times)野马分鬃Yě mǎ fēn zōng57-59
50Grasp the Bird’s Tail揽雀尾Lǎn què wěi60
51Single Whip单鞭Dān biān61
52Fair Lady Works at Shuttles玉女穿梭Yù nǚ chuān suō62
53Grasp the Bird’s Tail揽雀尾Lǎn què wěi63
54Single Whip单鞭Dān biān64
55Cloud Hands (3 times)云手Yún shǒu65-67
56Single Whip单鞭Dān biān68
57Snake Creeps Down下势Xià shì69
58Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg (2 times)金鸡独立Jīn jī dú lì70-71
59Step Back and Repulse Monkey (3 times)倒撵猴Dào niǎn hóu72-74
60Diagonal Flying斜飞式Xié fēi shì75
61Raise Hands and Step Forward提手上势Tí shǒu shàng shì76
62White Crane Spreads its Wings白鹤亮翅Bái hè liàng chì77
63Left Brush Knee and Push左搂膝拗步Zuǒ lōu xī ǎo bù78
64Needle at Sea Bottom海底针Hǎi dǐ zhēn79
65Fan Through Back扇通背Shàn tōng bèi80
66Turn Body, White Snake Darts Tongue转身白蛇吐信Zhuǎn shēn bái shé tǔ xìn81
67Step Forward, Parry, Block and Punch进步搬拦捶Jìn bù bān lán chuí82
68Grasp the Bird’s Tail上步揽雀尾Shàng bù lǎn què wěi83
69Single Whip单鞭Dān biān84
70Cloud Hands (3 times)云手Yún shǒu85-87
71Single Whip单鞭Dān biān88
72High Pat on Horse, Piercing Palm高探马穿掌Gāo tàn mǎ chuān zhǎng89
73Cross Kick十字腿Shí zì tuǐ90
74Step Forward and Punch to Groin进步指裆锤Jìn bù zhǐ dāng chuí91
75Grasp the Bird’s Tail上步揽雀尾Shàng bù lǎn què wěi92
76Single Whip单鞭Dān biān93
77Snake Creeps Down下势Xià shì94
78Step Forward, Seven Stars上步七星Shàng bù qī xīng95
79Step Back, Ride the Tiger退步跨虎Tuì bù kuà hǔ96
80Turn Body, Lotus Kick转身摆莲Zhuǎn shēn bǎi lián97
81Bend Bow, Shoot Tiger弯弓射虎Wān gōng shè hǔ98
82Step Forward, Parry, Block, and Punch进步搬拦锤Jìn bù bān lán chuí99
83Apparent Closing如封似闭Rú fēng shì bì100
84Cross Hands十字手Shí zì shǒu101
85Closing Posture收式 还原Shōu shì, Huán yuán102-103

Notes

3. “Grasp the Bird’s Tail” refers to the sequence of Wardoff, Rollback, Press and Push. This posture is also translated as “Grasp the Sparrow’s Tail.”
4. The “whip” in “Single Whip” evokes a long pole or yoke carried across the shoulders and back; not a flexible leather whip.
5. Also translated as “Lift Hands Upward.”
7. “Brush Knee and Push” is more literally translated as “Brush Knee Twist Step.”
8. The “pipa” is a Chinese musical instrument, similar to a guitar or a lute. Also translated as “Hands Strum the Lute”.
12. Also translated as “Advance Step, Deflect, Parry and Punch.”
13. Also translated as “Like Sealing, As If Closing.”
18. Also translated as “Flying Obliquely.”
24. Also translated as “Turn Body and Strike.”
30. Also translated as “High Mounted Scout.” This evokes a infantry scout on horseback, looking down on a battlefield from elevation, using one hand to keep the sun out of his eyes while holding reins with the other.
41. Also translated as “Twin Peaks Strike Ears.”
52. The “shuttle” in “Fair Lady Works at Shuttles” refers to the traditional fabric weaving tool. Also translated as, “Jade Maiden Threads Shuttle.”
57. Also translated as “Squatting Single Whip.”
73. Also translated as “Cross-Shaped Legs.” “Cross” here refers to 十, the Chinese ideogram for the number 10.
79. Also translated as “Retreat Astride Tiger.”
80. Also translated as “Turn Body, Sweep Lotus.”

Fu Zhongwen Tai Chi Video

Master Fu Zhongwen began learning Yang family Tai Chi when he was just nine years old. Fu worked tirelessly to perfect his teacher’s skills, repeating the form more than ten times each day. Among Yang Chengfu’s disciples, Fu is recognized as a faithful inheritor and peerless exemplar of the art.

Demonstration by Fu Zhongwen’s assistant instructor, Xie Bingcan:

Looking Forward Together

This video shows the Yang form in the forward direction, so that you can face the screen as you practice.