Qigong vs. Tai Chi, Do You Know the Difference?

Qigong vs Tai Chi  (Do you Know the Difference)?

Qigong vs Tai Chi. 

Can you tell me do you know the difference?

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Many people have asked me this very question. The question proves that this subject is confusing to most people,  since both Qigong vs Tai Chi share similar traits. 


A great member of my internet community recently asked me to explain the differences between Qigong vs Tai Chi from a comment in one of my posts.

Here was his comment:

“Kaju, how does Qigong differ from Tai Chi? I ordered a DVD a few years ago that incorporated both, and I never started it so I don't know even if there IS a difference! Great Courses put them both onto one DVD: I desperately need both! Thanks for keeping up with this, Kaju.......

I promised this member I’d write a future post about this subject.

If you’ve read my posts over the summer, you will know this subject has great relevance with my current weekly Eastern medical treatments I am receiving by the eminent Dr. Lee for my sporadic bradycardia and separately for my focal hand dystonia  which has plagued me for over 10 years.

Let me see if I can share some light on this subject in this article.

I am one of the very fortunate ones.  With the eminent  Dr. Lee who I remain in constant contact with, I have a wonderful authentic sensei who I can always rely for a consult.

Qigong vs. Tai Chi sensei

During one of my recent visits with Dr. Lee, I asked him some of these most complex questions.

Here are some of the outstanding answers Dr. Lee provided me regarding the differences between Qigong vs Tai Chi.

There are affiliate links within this post. What this  means is that if you decide to purchase anything through one of my links, I'll be rewarded with a small commission at absolutely no extra cost to you. This small commission helps me run and maintain my website.

Qigong vs. Tai Chi, Dr. Lee explains

Dr. Lee Explains

The eminent Dr. Lee who is an octogenarian has studied with the great Chinese Masters in many disciplines, and is using a unique combination of all to treat my maladies.

However, there are actually 3 relevant components at play here:

He went on to explain the differences between Qigong vs Tai Chi, and also added the related Shaolin Martial Arts, although some of the differences are very subtle and quite convoluted.

Qigong vs. Tai Chi movements

 The word Qigong's literal meaning is "the exercise of the energy (chi)". It is a non-martial art. Qigong is composed of both static meditation and moving meditation. 

Qigong literally means "the exercise of the energy (chi)" and is a non-martial art. It can be composed of bothstatic meditation and moving meditation.

It is a holistic system of coordinated body posture and movement, breathing, and meditation used for the purposes of health, and spirituality.

In Qigong, the “chi” is emphasized and expressed, which is the exercise of a flow of energy through the body.

Qigong can be viewed several different ways: it can be  viewed from the perspective of exercise, health, philosophy, with following several main principles emerging concerning its practice:

  • · Intentional movement: careful, flowing balanced style
  • · Rhythmic breathing: slow, deep, coordinated with fluid movement
  • · Awareness: calm, focused meditative state
  • · Visualization: of chi flow, philosophical tenets, aesthetics
  • · Chanting/Sound: use of sound as a focal point

A soft gaze, expressionless face, firm footing, relaxed muscles, slightly bent joints, and motion over the center of gravity are Qigong's ideal physical components

Five Animal Play

The "Five Animal play" is a set of Qigong exercises developed during the Han Dynasty mimicking the movements of the tiger, deer, bear, monkey and crane

Qigong vs. Tai Chi, static meditation

Qigong vs. Tai Chi:  Tai Chi

Tai Chi (Tai Chi Chuan) is an internal Chinese martial art practiced for both its defense training and its health benefits. It is composed of a series of movements that are practiced as health exercises good for balance and to relieve stress.

However, with Tai Chi the "energy" component is not stressed.

Although Tai Chi is a series of movements practiced as a health exercise, while internal energy moves inside the body, that same internal energy (”chi”) is not stressed.

Shaolin Martial Arts

Shaolin Kung Fu

Shaolin Kung Fu is one of the oldest, largest, and most famous styles of kung fu. It is an external martial art that combines Zen Buddhism, and martial arts emphasizing combat skills and was originated and developed in the Shaolin Temple in Henan Province, China over a 1500-year history.

Tai Chi (Tai Chi Chuan) is a series of movements that is considered an “internal martial art; it is practiced as a health and balance exercise for the relief of anxiety.

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Tai Chi is considered an internal martial art that is practiced independent of breathing; whereas Shaolin Kung Fu is considered an external martial art that highly stresses breathing and combat skills.

Yes, I agree the differences are very convoluted and confusing, so coming up  is a my Summary of My Final Points.

Qigong vs. Tai Chi, here is the conclusion

Conclusion:  Qigong vs Tai Chi

In Conclusion as to relating to "Qigong vs. Tai Chi, what are the differences?" I give you the Summary of My Final Points.

For good measure, I also will leave you a summary here of my final points on Shaolin Kung Fu, which is related to Qigong.


  • Non-Martial Art
  • Exercise of Internal Energy (“chi”)
  • Breathing and Meditation
  • Moving and Static meditation

Tai Chi

  • Internal Martial Art
  • Health and Balance Exercise
  • Independent of breathing
  • Internal energy not stressed

Shaolin Kung Fu

  • External Martial Art
  • Zen Buddhism
  • Highly Stressed breathing
  • Combat skills
Qigong vs. Tai Chi for physical, mental, and spiritual benefits

I hope this article has helped to clarify some of the differences between Qigong, Tai Chi, and Shaolin Martial Arts, and the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits each offer.

Check out my #1 recommended program right here.

Please feel free to make your comments and ask any questions.

About the Author

KAJU is the band leader and founding member of OFF THE HOOK, one of the premiere dance party bands in the New York Tri-State Area. After contracting a mysterious hand disorder, Kaju now writes to help other musicians and artists deal with disabilities. Currently he is a Full-time Affiliate Marketer and 1-on-1 mentor at Wealthy Affiliate, a community that can help anyone start an online business without prior experience. This is where he teaches others how to make a great passive income. Read more about his story here!

  • Monica Bouteiller says:

    I’m a fan of Tai Chi. I studied the Taoist for a little of 3 years and after that, I took private lessons on the Yang Style.

    I went to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada to learn the Yang Style which I feel is better than the Taoist.

    Are you familiar with the Yang Style Tai Chi? I’m wondering which one would you recommend? The Yang Style Tai Chi or the Qigong?

    Thank you and I look forward to your response.


    • Kaju says:

      Hi Monica,

      Thanks so much for your great question, I am only familiar with the Qigong and Ta Chi as I have outlined in the article.
      So I really cannot comment on the Yang style.

      I would love to hear more about that Yang style from you however. And also place a bit of research into this myself.
      Or perhaps ask the eminent Dr. Lee to discourse further about these other styles. Excellent topic you have started!


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