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Demystifying Tai Chi Terminology

What does Tai Chi mean?


Means "Great" or "Infinite" "Never Ending"



Literally means "breath".  It also means "life" or "energy source".  Chi ends when we stop breathing as does our life. 


The greek translation of "Chi" is "pneumo" which means Holy Spirit. 


Cultivating Chi brings health and spiritual growth. 


Put Tai and Chi together and you get "great life".  Who doesn't want that?!


Tai Chi Juan, Tai Chi Chuan, etc. are all the same thing: Tai Chi.



QiGong (pronounced "chi-gong") is a simplified Tai Chi style that focuses on individual movements rather than a flow of movements.  These Qigong movements are meditative in nature, create Qi flow and should also adhere to Tai Chi principles.  


Tai Chi falls under the umbrella of QiGong and is considered a more complex type of QiGong. 


QiGong is simple and beautiful.  It is not made up of a string of forms, but rather a set of individual movements for each movement's health benefit.  Because of this, it is easy to learn.  Read more about Qi.  

Tai Chi "Form"

Tai Chi is a set of learned movements in a set sequence.  Each movement set is made up of several 'forms'.  Just as a paragraph is made up of sentences, so is a Tai Chi set made up of a string individual forms in a prescribed order.  They are always in the same order. 


If you learn the Yang Style 24 Form you could go to China and join in with anyone doing the Yang Style 24 Form even though you don't know anyone!  That is one of the beauties of Tai Chi.  It unites us through a common repertoire of movements. 

Yang, Chen and Who?!

You might hear people saying, "I do Yang Tai Chi" or "Wu Style Tai Chi".  This can be intimidating if you don't know what they mean! 


There are different styles of Tai Chi just as there are different dialects of English.  Each style grew out of a family heritage of Tai Chi in China.  For instance Chen Style Tai Chi came from the Chen family. 


Some styles of Tai Chi include: Yang, Sun, Chen, and Wu.  Read more about these styles HERE

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