Difference Between Tai Chi and Qigong

Tai Chi vs Qigong

China is one of the oldest civilizations of the world and two of its traditions, Tai chi, and Qigong, as internal martial arts leading to development of Qi, the life energy flowing through energy pathways inside bodies of all human beings, are popular in the western world too. Both these martial art forms make use of Chi to make a person stronger both physically and mentally. Both lead to purification of body, character, and mind, cure ailments and lead to longevity. However, because of similarities between the two types of exercise systems, most people remain confused between the two. This article attempts to highlight the differences between Tai chi and Qigong.

Tai Chi

Tai Chi Chuan, or simply Tai Chi, revolves around Qi, or Chi, as it is known to the outside world. This is the life force that drives all living beings and forms the basis of traditional Chinese Medicine system called TCM. This life force flows through meridians inside the body, and whenever there is any interruption to the flow of this energy, the body becomes sick. The practice of tai Chi, or internal martial art as it is called, ensures that Tai Chi flows throughout the body without any blockage and the body of the practitioner of Tai Chi remains healthy.

Westerners call Tai Chi a healing art whereas it is a way of living in China. This internal martial art originated some two thousand years ago, and it consists of a series of slow and circular movements that are believed to remove all obstructions to the movement of Chi inside the body of the practitioner of this ancient art. It includes systematic breathing and assuming postures like Indian yoga, which attract westerners towards this ancient and traditional Chinese medicine system.


Cultivation of health by mastering Qi or Chi is the ultimate aim of Qigong just like Tai Chi. It includes making difficult body postures in much the same way as yogis in India do. The focus of mind while making the postures helps the mind, breath, and energy of the practitioner. The literal meaning of Qigong is life energy work. The ancient Chinese martial art is meant to enable the practitioner to control the life force and benefit physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally. Qigong is a part of the TCM, and it was first published in Yellow Emperor’s Inner canon. This book is regarded as the fountain head of ancient Chinese Medicine System. Qigong is believed to be able to cure ailments to enhance the physical and mental health of the practitioner. Qigong has three forms namely medical qigong, meditation qigong, and martial qigong.


What is the difference between Tai Chi and Qigong?

• Power generated in tai Chi is dense while the power in Qigong is light

• Calisthenics and fluid body movements in tai Chi are advanced and elaborate while, in Qigong, these movements are less elaborate and less deep.

• Meditation in Qigong is much intense and powerful than in Tai Chi

• Qigong is practiced more for its healing powers while Tai Chi is a way of living meant for overall mind and body fitness