Frequently Asked Questions
This DVD most effectively combines the benefits of Tai Chi and Qigong. (see other F.A.Q.’s below for definitions) There are lower quality DVDs available. This DVD is a comprehensive healing system. Others are often incomplete and unintegrated, requiring you to buy multiple DVDs, which still don’t create a cohesive program, because they were not designed to work together in an integral way. The creator, Mark Johnson, is one of the most qualified and innovative Tai Chi and Qigong researcher/practioners in the world. He has been studying and teaching these healing movement arts for over 40 years, which makes him one of the most experienced American teachers alive. He has designed a very easy to learn and effective program based on these many years of practical experience. The production itself is very high quality, filmed in high resolution in natural lighting, in a spectacular, natural setting. Combined with careful, thorough instruction these factors all make TAI CHI FOR EVERYONE a superior and useful addition to your life and well-being.
“Qigong”(pronounced “Chee Goong”) is a Chinese term that covers a wide spectrum of energy cultivations. “Qi” means any invisible, powerful energy, and “Kung” is the power and achievement that comes from years of constant practice. Therefore, a Qigong master is anyone who has gained mastery over their internal energy. Any energy cultivation that involves the coordination of your mind intent, breathing and postures (moving and still) is a “Qigong”, and there are hundreds of Qigongs. There are two main classifications...“internal and external” The internal or soft styles are Tai Chi, Shing I and Ba Gua. The external or hard styles are different Kung Fu styles.
Qigong has its origins in prehistoric China, and evolved first as a medical practice then as a spiritual practice and then as a martial art. They all started with simple movement and breathing techniques. They slowly evolved into the Animal Frolics, Dao In, The 8 Treasures, 8 Pieces of Brocade, Bone Marrow Washing, and much later, Tai Chi Chuan, Hsing I, and Ba Gua. A few specific Qigong sets available today are called the Wild Goose, Flying Crane, and the Swimming Dragon. Mark teaches a specific set of Qigong exercises called the 8 Treasures, They are a very powerful and sophisticated set of 32 moves that are used as a foundation for Tai Chi.
Concurrent with the healing movements of Qigong was the discovery of acupuncture points and the meridian system of the body. These gave rise to medical Qigong, which utilizes the same principles as traditional Chinese medicine (only without the use of needles),and is becoming more accepted and popular every day. Along with health maintenance through movement and medical Qigong, spiritual Qigong was introduced to China by Buddhist and Taoist adepts. Those methods involve mostly standing and sitting meditations that move the Chi through certain “Chakras” or energy centers of the body for the purpose of attaining enlightenment or Immortality.
Qigong/Tai Chi is a style of Tai Chi movement that is based upon the meridian system used in acupuncture and Chinese medical theory. Most styles of Tai Chi are grounded in Martial application, especially any Tai Chi Chuan style, because "Chuan" means "fist". The most popular styles of martial Tai Chi are the Chen style, the Yang, the Wu, the Hao and the Sun style. All of these styles were named after the family that originated them. Qigong Tai Chi, on the other hand, was founded by ancient Taoists, and those styles are actually precursors to the family styles. Three of those ancient styles were introduced into this country by Taoist Master Ni, Hua Ching. They are called Gentle Path, Sky Journey and Infinite Expansion.
So why are Qigong/Tai Chi in particular, and Tai Chi in general so popular these days? And why do millions and millions of people worldwide practice Tai Chi every day? It is because those who do practice every day have a longer, more active life than those who don't, and their health potential increases dramatically. Other exercises dissipate your energy, while Tai Chi accumulates it, leaving you feeling refreshed when you finish. The slow, dance-like speed of Tai Chi creates balance, flexibility and calmness. With an emphasis on deep breathing and using mental imagery, Tai Chi integrates your mind with your body, and is very effective at relieving stress.
Many studies have shown Tai Chi to be extremely effective with slowing the effects of aging, increasing balance and reducing falls, reducing stress, minimizing the effects of diabetes and increasing the potential for preventing strokes and extending life. The fact that it is now encouraged by HMO's and Kaiser Permanente (mostly due to public demand) shows its effectiveness.
Another thing to consider is the fact that Tai Chi is practiced by over 180 million people daily. This makes Tai Chi the most popular form of exercise on Earth. ’Tai ‘ means Great, ‘Chi ‘ means Energy, and ‘Gung’ means Practice: These exercises are key to better energy and health. It is part of the 4,000 year-old system of Traditional Chinese Medicine practiced in China and now recognized by the U.S. National Institute of Health's Office of Alternative Medicine as an important method of Alternative Health Care. Three quarters of the medical schools in the U.S.A. have included Complimentary Alternative Medicine programs in their basic curriculum and some have set up departments to incorporate Tai Chi into their research. The main conclusion from many studies is: Tai Chi helps the body heal itself.
Another advantage is that Tai Chi is available to everyone, regardless of ability, age, belief system or life circumstances. Imagine this: 21st century-school children learning the health enhancement and self-healing techniques of Tai Chi as part of their PE class; office workers taking Tai Chi breaks, just as they do in China and Japan; seniors participating in gentle movement with breathing exercises to enhance balance and quality of life; care givers embracing a personal practice and finding renewal in their service to others; spiritual aspirants using Tai Chi to enhance their meditations and Tai Chi practice being instituted into prisons as a means to reconnect with life. Remember, society also benefits when an individual or a group of individuals assumes responsibility and takes action for their own health and healing.
Many forms of exercise dissipate your energy, leaving you tired and hyper at the same time. The slow, gentle, dance-like movements of Tai Chi accumulate energy while calming you down, allowing you to feel refreshed when you finish. Tai Chi creates an awareness of and influences dimensions of our being that are not part of traditional exercise programs. Most exercises do not involve the meridian system used in acupuncture nor do they emphasize the importance of adding mind intent and breathing techniques to physical movements. When these dimensions are added, the benefits of exercise increase exponentially.