What is the main difference between Taijiquan and Qigong?
August 2, 2008
The easiset way to answer this question asked by Henry Fong is to look at the meaning of the Chinese characters in the names. Lets start with Taijiquan.
The character “quan” means fist and the Chinese generally would say: “da quan” or “lian quan”, that is to say hit with the fist or train with the fist. In another word, “quan” has the meaning of being a martial art. Since “Taji” refers to Yin and Yang, so Taijiquan in essence is a martial art using the principles of Yin and Yang.
“Qi” in Qigong refers to the Vital Qi that keeps us alive, and “gong” means a skill or an exercise, so Qigong in essence has the meaning of an exercise or a skill that cultivates the Vital Qi in our body.
Therefore one is about the cultivation of the Vital Qi and the other is about using the fist for self-defense. But the two are not separate things, because withour cultivating the Vital Qi, we cannot be efficient in using the fist, that is why the Chinese has a saying, “If (we) train the fist without the excise (to nourish the Qi), then it will be (an) empty (task) for the rest of our life.”
The problem is nowadays very few people do Taijiquan as a martial art, they do it as a Qigong instead, so gradually we have forgotten the true meaning of Taijiquan and mistaken it as another form of Qigong. One of my old teachers use to say, “What they do is Taijigong and not Taijiquan”!