I read an article recently about qigong, which is definitely connected to tai chi in both philosophy and practice.
Qigong is an aspect of traditional Chinese medicine that involves the coordination of different breathing patterns with various physical postures and motions of the body. It's often taught in conjunction with Chinese martial arts, where the focus isdirecting the body's energy to facilitate all physical actions.
Qigong relies on the traditional Chinese belief that the body contains a natural energy field generated and maintained by the natural respiration of the body, called qi. ("Qigong" literally means "breath work.") Tai chi is one category of qigong practice.
Here's an excerpt from an article I read on Healthy.net, about Qigong:
"Qigong is one of the four pillars of traditional Chinese medicine: Acupuncture, Massage, Herbal Medicines and Qigong. Of these, Qigong is the one that can be most easily self initiated. Both massage and herbal remedies can also be done as self care, however, Qigong is the mother of Chinese self healing. Patients who use Qigong faithfully need less medication, less acupuncture and heal faster.
The word Qigong breaks into Qi and Gong: Qi = vitality, energy, life force, Gong = practice, cultivate, refine; Qigong = to cultivate and refine through practice one's vitality or life force. The Chinese believe that the primary mechanism that is triggered by the practice of Qigong is a spontaneous balancing and enhancing of the natural healing resources in the human system. Over thousands of years millions of people have benefited from these practices believing that improving the function of the Qi maintains health and heals disease."
I have already suggested to the Powers That Be here that they expand this category to be called Tai Chi/Chi Kung (or Qigong). This is because Chi Kung is the broader practice of which Tai Chi is a part, and I think it would be good to have more discussions about Chi Kung in general. Thanks for posting this.
Thanks for sharing. From my understanding, Qi Gong dates around 4000 years ago primarily as a health system, whereas Tai Chi evolved from around 400 years ago as a fighting and defence system that used Qi Gong practices for internal power. Generally in the West we practice Tai Chi for the health benefits rather than a martial art. We could say that Tai Chi practiced purely for health is a Qi Gong practice. When you add in martial theory and applications, it becomes Tai Chi.
Master Frank Allen of the Wu Tang Physical Assocation in New York wrote an interesting article on the difference between Tai Chi and Qi Gong, covering the history of Tai Chi as a martial art: