A brief explanation of Tai Chi and Qi Gong
People interested in the Chinese internal arts often phone me to ask about learning Tai Chi in Hampshire, Berkshire or Shropshire, having perhaps been recommended by a friend or a doctor to try Tai Chi or Qi Gong, or sometimes even Yoga. The usual aim being to promote healing, good health and wellbeing, to improve balance and most of all to reduce stress. I tell them that, although I have been training in Tai Chi for my own interest for a while now to help increase my understanding of the Chinese internal arts, I donít teach Tai Chi, but I do teach Qi Gong, from which they can access the same benefits, but usually more quickly and easily. The inevitable next question is: Whatís the difference between Qi Gong and Tai Chi then?
Hereís an extremely simple explanation aimed at being as helpful as possible, rather than covering every possible difference between Tai Chi and Qi Gong.
A Qi Gong practice will comprise a set of individual movements, with each movement being repeated a number of times, thus allowing you, particularly if you have never done anything of this sort before, to learn Qi Gong more quickly and, therefore to benefit sooner. So, in the Dragon and Tiger Qi Gong set that I teach most, there are only seven movements, and even these can be broken down into more easily learnt components. This allows people just starting to have a much easier path into the Chinese internal arts and to start to derive all the health and wellbeing benefits almost immediately. Qi Gong has a history going back some 1,500 years (for Dragon and Tiger Qi Gong, although it's been around for some 4,000 years in various forms), yet itís extremely relevant in countering todayís high-stress world.
A Tai Chi form comprises a large number of movements in a continuous sequence. Itís usually necessary to learn and embody a lot of choreography, prior to being able to add much in the way of internal content from which the most beneficial health benefits can be derived.
Seeing ĎChií in Tai
Chi might make you think of Qi and its alternative
spelling ĎChií, the Chinese word for internal energy
and remind you of videos you may have seen of
elderly Chinese people doing beautiful, graceful
movements under blossoming cherry trees in Chinese
parks. However, Tai Chi originated as an extremely
effective martial art. Itís full name, Tai Chi
Chuan, means supreme ultimate fist and it was
developed somewhere within the past five hundred to
one thousand years, although its precise history is
obscure. There are a number of well-known styles,
including Chen, Yang and Wu. Personally, I have
briefly studied Wu style Tai Chi, but I am currently
training in the Yang style of Yang Cheng Fu with Paul
Cavel. Today, most Tai Chi
taught in the west is for health purposes, although
it is always good to be able to find a teacher with
a deep enough understanding to be able to show the
martial applications of the movements.
For a really detailed explanation, go to The Difference between Tai Chi & Qigong by Master Bruce Frantzis from his book Tai Chi Health for Life.
Allow yourself the time to discover Qi Gong and let go of your tension