Recently, I was asked, what is the difference
between Chi Kung, Tai Chi and Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan)?
The following explanation may help.
Chi Kung is the training of energy and mind using form, breathing and mind
focus to generate energy flow. It is practised twice daily for good health,
overcoming chronic illness, vitality, mental clarity, longevity and a deep
relaxation and spiritual joy.
Tai Chi is what we sometimes refer to as Tai Chi dance. Students learn
beautiful form but have no concept of generating energy, combat application,
internal force or mind training. Some teachers ask their students to pretend
they are under water and flow with it to get a ‘sense’ of energy. So there is
no direct experience of energy flow. It is a lovely class for those who just
wish to have fun and
meet new people but are not serious about training genuine Tai Chi Chuan.
Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan), in our school, is an Internal Martial Art. From the
first moment, it is a training of energy and mind, so it is also high level Chi
Kung. Students go from a state of stillness (Wu Ji) to movement (Wu Wei).
There is no need to practice some physical Chi Kung patterns to ‘warm up’.
Taijiquan is Chi Kung but has combat application. Each of the movements in genuine Tai Chi
Chuan is for self defence.
Wahnam Taijiquan is of course an Internal Martial Art and my respected Master
believes that it
is the closest to what Zhang San Feng practised in WudangMountain all those centuries ago, in the 13th century to be
exact. He was a Taoist priest, who had learned Shaolin Kungfu in the Shaolin temple. When he
went to WudangMountain, he composed Wudang 32 pattern long fist after witnessing a fight
between a snake and a crane, and from there came a softer version of Kungfu,
which later developed into Taijiquan. It is interesting to note that Zhang San
Feng first learned Shaolin Kung Fu, then Shaolin Chi Kung and then meditation.
He was the first to put all three together, hence the first Patriarch of Taijiquan.
How lucky we are to have followed in his legacy.
Wahnam Taijiquan places emphasis on form but it is not the most important part.
The important element is energy and mind training, internal force and combat
application. It is from the internal force training and combat application that
we attain the highest spiritual development contrary to many people’s
Our combat training is systematic and fun. It trains
the six harmonies of jing, chi and shen and feet, body, hands. Students attain
great mental clarity, courage, personal development, character building,
vitality, compassion, self defence and wisdom as well as fitness and good
health.. All students are happy and laughing leaving a class, their hearts and
minds are open and full of joy with a zest for living, compassion and kindness.
Wahnam Taijiquan offers a rare opportunity, even to those who have been
practising just external Tai Chi forms to experience internal force and to
apply their forms effectively against Boxers, Kick-Boxers and other Martial
Arts. The combat training is not only NOT rough, but actually enjoyable. It is
an excellent way to experience the Tai Chi Chuan principle that without being rough and using brute strength,
combat is very effective.
Students do not just come on our courses to merely learn how to USE Taijiquan
for combat, they leave the courses with the ability to APPLY Taijiquan for
combat. There is a big difference between learning how to use Taijiquan for
combat and still not be able to do so, and actually using Taijiquan for combat at the course.
Wahnam Taijiquan is a complete internal martial art. It is taught
systematically helping students to realise its potential more easily. We do not
wait for many years to learn internal force or combat application, they are
introduced from Level 1 in a progressive manner. It is fun and it works.