We are often asked about the relationship between Qi Gong, Kung Fu and Tai Chi. Very briefly, all three are united in their use of the life force, called chi or qi, which is called prana in the yoga system.
The vedic school of yoga uses asanas and pranayama to build and collect the energy of prana (chi) and the Chinese schools, based on the same vedic science, use qi-gong–a sequence of moves or poses linked with deep breathing– to attain the same goals. In both India and China there are martial arts based on using the energy of prana or qi for fighting. In China, the “soft” form of this martial art, which conserves the chi, is called Tai Chi and the “hard” form, which directs the chi as a weapon, is called kung fu.
Please note that there are many variations in names and spelling and much overlap between these divisions. In addition, there are over 1000 different forms of Qi Gong in China. At Jiva Ananda Yoga we emphasize the use of a form of Medical Qi Gong called “Lift Chi Up, Pour Chi Down” that was developed by Dr. Pang Ming in China, as a basic daily practice, just as we emphasize a short daily set of yoga asanas. You can spend a lifetime learning different qi-gong moves, but, as a practical matter, its the form that you can do every day that will bring you real benefit.
Learn a short simple form for daily practice, then add what you have the time and inclination to do extra.