What is the difference between Chi Kung and Tai Chi?

It might be easiest to say that Chi Kung (Qi Gong, Chi Gung and other spellings) is the mother of Tai Chi.  Or that Tai Chi is a branch of Chi Kung and it uses similar concepts though Tai Chi is taught in much longer forms.  Tai Chi Forms, or choreographed sets of movements, are learned to create relatively long routines, these can be 24, 42 and even 88 movements long.  Tai Chi forms include movements that originate in kung fu, though they are now so far removed that even experienced martial artists would struggle to recognise them and identify their uses for combat.

Chi Kung is known to have been used for thousands of years.  There are even cave paintings dated as 7000 years old that show some of the postures.

Chi Kung means something like ‘working with energy’, but I quite like the translation of ‘life-energy cultivation’ as that’s how it feels to me.  It is a combination of postures and movements that coordinate with your breathing and is done in a meditative state of mind.  Often an instructor will give someone one movement to repeat for a very specific ailment.  For general health and the cultivation of spirituality a set of 8 movements are combined for a daily routine.  With Kung Fu Living you will learn 7 different Chi Kung forms, a Foundational one, (that does not mean it is limited in its benefits) an Intermediate one and 5 Advanced forms that are designed to compliment the Advanced forms of Tao Te Kung Fu as each one focuses on each of the elements.  These sets of 8 movements are often referred to a Brocades, as Chinese brocade typically has 8 strands of thread.

The benefits have been clinically shown in many studies.  These benefits include:

  • Reduction in anxiety, persistent stress and panic attacks.
  • The initiating of the sympathetic nervous system, which includes a reduction of cortisol, adrenaline, blood coagulant.
  • Improvement in peristalsis, the digestive system, blood sugar levels and lowers blood pressure.
  • Increases the efficiency of the immune system by up to 200%
  • Allows for greater communication from the unconscious mind, improving what people often refer to as intuition, but is simply better conscious awareness of details otherwise unobserved.

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