Recently one of my students alerted me to research in medical journals about the use of Qigong against Covid. I was surprised to see that the Qigong routines named in the research articles were identified only in Chinese (Pinyin), even in those articles published in American based journals. This fact made me think further about the need to transmit Chinese terminology to the people I teach in Taijiquan and Qigong.
I recognized from the start that there a number of Chinese terms that you have to know to be considered well-trained in Taiji and Qigong societies. Wuji, Ma Bu, Qi, Qin Na, Sung, Dan Tian, Shen, Gong Fu, to name a few. To those, I will now add the Chinese names of the forms I teach: Ba Duan Jin, Liu Zi Jue, Si Ji Gong, Doing that will deal with the problem of recognizing the routine when you see it written in Pinyin.
Then there is the question when you hear it said, or more importantly when you try to say it. I have had a few native Mandarin speakers in my classes. One would repeat things I tried to say in Mandarin in her native Mandarin, that is with the correct tones. This is much more of a challenge for those of us who aren’t native speakers, but I think I need to do it for the sake of at least my serious students, those who wish to become teachers. I won’t require that everyone learn how to say the names correctly because it is not necessary for everyone. I can get the tones from my Oxford Chinese Dictionary.
Finally, there is the question of knowing how to recognize the Chinese written characters. I can recognize a few. But I think that learning the characters is a bridge to far for most of us.