Tai Chi and Qigong Ė Whatís the difference?

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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 Qigong, 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 Qigong, from which they can access the same benefits, but usually more quickly and easily. The inevitable next question is: Whatís the difference between Qigong 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 Chi Gong.

Qi Gong

Craven Arms and Bramley Qigong treeA Qigong 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 Qigong 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. Qigong 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.

Tai Chi

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 Qigong and let go of your tension

Please contact me to find out more about Qi Gong / Chi Gung workshops in Bramley Hampshire and weekly classes in Craven Arms Shropshire

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