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Wherein I claim, "Tai Chi ain't so ancient!"

"What's the difference between Tai Chi and Qigong?" (Except, three years ago, when I was a panelist at the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine's 2nd Annual Symposium on the Potential of Chinese Medicine, there was actually plenty of robust debate on whether or not there is any difference at all!) You can, of course, get as wonky as you want with these matters— #WonkyAsYouWant —but I like to stick with the way it was originally presented to me, back in 2011-2012, when I was training with Roger Jahnke, OMD, through his Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi.

  • Tai Chi has come to refer (mostly) to a carefully-prescribed sequence of self-defense moves (108 traditionally), as established by five clans in China, beginning maybe in the 16th c. CE. (Origin stories, er, how to say?, vary widely.) I like to say, "as 'ancient' goes in 'Ancient China,' Tai Chi ain't so ancient." (Euphonics!) It takes about 2 years to learn one of the 108-move forms, and that's if you're working it daily. (That's what I was first told; that was my experience in learning the Yang-style 108-move form back in 2012-2013.)

  • Qigong, on the other hand, refers to an incalculable number of energy healing practices that are truly ancient, as they pre-date written language in China. There are thousands of individual exercises and thousands of forms (assemblages of exercises). Most Qigong exercises are performed with many repetitions in a stationary posture, whether standing or seating; they are usually bilaterally symmetrical. Kinda trance-inducing. (In contrast, Tai Chi involves the coordination of arms and hands, legs and feet, all moving at different paces and in different directions — albeit in slow motion—as the practitioner fends off imaginary opponents coming from all around. Fancy. Complicated.) (And yet, it is remarkable how trancy it can get, once you have some familiarity with the sequences.)

My certification is as a Teacher of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi, which is to say, I have been authorized to mix 'n match! I like to keep things simple enough that the practice is immediately accessible, while adding just enough fancy stuff to gently challenge. Some participants in my online sessions began with me in 2011. Longevity, to be sure, though we "ain't so ancient" either! Please attend, as you are able. Also, I would especially appreciate help "populating" (as we say in the trade) my new, in-person, ***FREE*** Tai Chi classes on Fridays, 11:00AM, at M.E.N.T.O.R.S. Community Center, 10200 S. Main St., Los Angeles 90003. If you know anyone who lives and/or works in the area, please steer them my way!

All info for the M-F online Qigong + Friday in-person Tai Chi offerings are here: Please come and/or send folks! For the password, write LAGNIAPPE Ask me about my recently re-worked strawberry pot in the courtyard.

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