Tai Chi and Chi Gong. What Is the Difference?

Chi Gong: Chi gong is thousands of years old. It is sometimes described as Chinese yoga and is the ‘mother’ of tai chi. Chi gong is one of the classic four pillars of Traditional Chinese Medicine; the others are acupuncture, herbal medicine, and massage. Its movements are simple, healing, strengthening and promote relaxed, deep breathing.

Tai Chi and the Martial Arts:

Tai Chi is thought of as an internal martial art because the exercise originated as a form of self defense. This form of chi gong evolved during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 a.d.) in China. The slow, beautiful, flowing movements require concentration to learn and increase awareness of internal energy. The discipline of tai chi inspires spiritual growth, and is sometimes described as a moving meditation.

Kung fu is an external martial art and a form of chi gong. A precursor to karate, it is a popular modern martial art form that focuses on physically and emotionally controlling an opponent.

The Similarities:

Chi gong, tai chi and kung fu all encourage the flow of life-force energy and promote strength and flexibility.

The Spellings:

Chinese is a tonal language that is difficult to translate, and it has sounds that do not occur in English. Thus, chi gong is sometimes written as qigong or chi kung. Tai chi can also be written as taiji, taiqi or t’ai chi.

How Can I Learn?

Public classes are taught at Yo San University and other educational institutions. If you would like to contact one of our certified Chi Institute instructors, you can find a list at the Tao of Wellness, online at www.chihealth.org and at the Yo San University bookstore.