As teachers, directors and coaches we move between conscious and unconscious use of language with different levels of awareness of its impact. Ideas and images are transformed into movement through a process of ‘ideokinesis’, where how you think your body works changes how your body works. This mattering discourse can become naturalised within different movement practices and, as such, its political resonance and liberatory potential is side-lined. This article seeks to understand how language matters in movement teaching. What types of language are produced in the movement space and why? How does pedagogic language open up or close down the possibility of a liberatory practice and how might we define this? At this cultural moment, when the complexities of identity politics have been brought into sharp focus, it seems vital to hold our pedagogic language to account.