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”!

4 Responses to “What is the main difference between Taijiquan and Qigong?”

  1. gregwinder Says:

    http://gregwinder.wordpress.com/
    http://greg.exblog.jp/
    Hello Howard ..
    Nice reply on YaijiQuan and Qi Gong .
    Its good to see you on a blog .. you can be more accessible and relaxed like your classes and lectures .. and because this is public .. I can take the opportunity again to thank you for the many years of valuable teaching and treasured friendship.
    You asked how you could improve your blog .. and I can only say .. just keep doing it and it will grow and change in its own way .. a similar answer that you might give me .. and have done …. which still inspires and encourages me after all these years . Cheers Greg

  2. howardchoy Says:

    Dear Greg,

    I will take yoour advice and chip in a little bit each week, hopefully when I look back in a couple of years time, there is something worthwhile doing. Cheers and you take care and be happy.

    Howard

  3. sebastian.zarzycki Says:

    I remember also that when we’re doing qigong excercises we tend to inhale when we extend our body, so that we gather qi, opposed to sudden exhale in taiji, when we spend this gathered qi and transform it into momentum and force.

  4. howardchoy Says:

    Hi Sebastian,

    That is correct, in Qigong the emphasis is in cultivating the Qi, whereas in Taijiquan the emphasis is on utilizing the Qi for self defense. One is the “Ti” and the other is the “Yong” and the two are inseparable.

    Thanks again for setting up this blog for me, I am having a great time with a new and quick way of getting my thoughts on the web. Hope to see you again soon in Poland.

    Howard


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