Interview with Violet Li from “Violet Li Tai Chi”

One of my goals with Qialance is to connect with other Taijiquan and Qi Gong enthusiasts around the world. And I like blogging. Obviously I had to create a list of the Top 15 Tai Chi Blogs! But I want to go further and learn more about those bloggers. So I hope you are just as curious as I am because I interview them. And this is the talk with Violet Li from Violet Li Tai Chi.

Some of you may know her as the journalist behind the Tai Chi Examiner. Because that platform was bought and she could not write there anymore, Violet decided to start her own thing. I am glad that she continues to share her well researched articles with us. She actually won the Best Media Award at the World Congress on Qigong, Tai Chi, and TCM in 2016!

Violet, could you please tell us a bit more Violet Li Tai Chiabout yourself?

I tried Tai Chi in my teenage years. But I did not find it attractive then. However, I started to learn it serious about 17 years ago. My knowledge and skills took off seven years ago when I started to take private lessons directly from Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei, a 11th Generation Chen Style Lineage Holder.

Which style are you into and why?

I learned Qigong and Tai Chi from many grandmasters of multiple styles. But I study Chen Style Tai Chi most. Chen Style is more rigorous and complicated. So it is more fun to practice it.

What is the biggest benefit you get from your practice? 

I was extremely weak physically from childhood. As a working mother of two children and a traveling husband, I constantly felt exhausted. With Tai Chi practice, I gain so much energy and I am more physical flexible then ever.

Most importantly, the practice of Tai Chi makes me rethink the value of life and it also offers me a different way to view my relationship with the nature, universe, family, and friends. I feel a lot more calm and content.

Additionally, four years ago I used Qigong and Tai Chi to cure myself from a serious shoulder accident without surgery, shots, and physical therapy.

I am also a mother of two children and I can totally confirm that my Tai Chi practice is really crucial for my sanity! And it’s good to hear that you could use your experience to help yourself heal.

Which piece of advice would you give a beginner in Taijiquan?

Find a good teacher. Learn Tai Chi Chuan not just the forms but also the philosophy and principle of it by reading.

Who are or were your most important teachers?

Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei and Grandmaster Effie Chow.

Is there any teacher or master you would like to learn from in the near future?

I consider myself privileged and fortunate since I am a journalist and I have the opportunity to meet and interview some of the greatest minds and masters of our time.

Is there a book you recommend? One you often like to pick up and refer to?

The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi even if people do not practice the art.

(Actually, Violet wrote an article about why everyone should read The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi. You can read it here.)

Thank you Violet for this interview and for your enduring promotion of Tai Chi and its benefits!


If you want to read more from Violet Li have a look at her homepage here!

Happy Qi!



“What is Qi?” Various answers to a simple question

Basically as soon as you start with Qi Gong or Taijiquan, you are confronted with the Chinese word “Qi” (氣 or simplified 气, also Ch’i). And of course you will ask: what is Qi?

What is Qi answered with quotes by QialanceI guess every teacher and practitioner has his or her own definition of Qi. In the West, it is often translated as “energy” or “vital force”. But there is more to it.

If you have a look at a dictionary, these are the possible direct translations for Qi:
gas / air / smell / weather / to make angry / to annoy / to get angry / vital energy / qi

And beside the direct translation Qi is tied into Chinese philosophy and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Actually you can find many websites filled with (personal) elaborations and explanations of what is Qi.

Instead of giving just another personal answer, I searched for definitions online and in books. Go through them and I am sure you’ll get a better understanding of what is Qi. And I hope you’ll find a definition that suits you and your practice.

“What is Qi?” anwered with quotes

“Qi: a resource so essential it is impossible to define or translate. Qi is not only energy but also the quintessential foundation of the universe.”
The Healing Promise of Qi page vi & vii

“Ch’i is in everything that is alive. If it doesn’t have Ch’i, it is no longer alive, it will wilt.”
There are no secrets page 98

“Qi, (also qì or ch’i; gi in Korean, and ki in Japanese) in traditional Chinese culture is an active principle found in any living thing. Qi literally translates as “breath”, “air”, or “gas”, and figuratively as “material energy”, “life force”, or “energy flow”. It is the central underlying principle in traditional Chinese medicine and martial arts. It is comparable to concepts of prana in Hinduism, pneuma in ancient Greece, mana in Hawaiian culture, lüng in Tibetan Buddhism, ruah in Hebrew culture, and vital energy in Western philosophy.”
Wikipedia: Qi

“Many people talk about vital Ch’i energy, the life force, and think it’s enveloped within us. Really, it’s just an extension of the ultimate source of energy which comes from the cosmos. We are part of that – the macrocosmos and the microsomos.”
Talking about Acupuncture page 17

“Qi is energy in the very broadest sense possible. Qi is universal. Qi embraces all manifestations of energy, from the most material aspects of energy (such as the earth beneath your feet, your computer, and flesh and blood) to the most immaterial aspects (light, movement, heat, nerve impulses, thought, and emotion).”
Source (University of Minnesota)

“Qi, Wade-Giles romanization ch’i (Chinese: “breath,” or “vital energies”), in Chinese philosophy, the ethereal psychophysical energies of which everything is composed. Early Daoist philosophers and alchemists regarded qi as a vital force inhering in the breath and bodily fluids and developed techniques to alter and control the movement of qi within the body; their aim was to achieve physical longevity and spiritual power.
Neo-Confucian philosophers of the Song dynasty (960–1279 ce) regarded qi as emanating from the Great Ultimate (taiji) by way of li, the dynamic ordering pattern of the world. This tradition, whose ideas predominate in traditional Chinese thought, held that qi is manifest through yang (active) and yin (passive) modes as the Five Phases (wuxing; wood, metal, earth, water, and fire), which in turn are the basic processes defining the cosmos.”
Source (Britannica)

Then there are of course many quotes from Taijiquan Chen style (e.g. here). I like this one:

“Qi is usually translated into English as ‘vital energy’ or ‘life force,’ although its literal meaning is ‘breath.’ … Qi exists in the human body without form, color or substance. The ancient Chinese likened it to fire, and early Chinese pictographic characters depicted it as ‘sun’ and ‘fire.’… It is perhaps more easily understood in terms of an electric current.”
Chen Style Taijiquan page 44-45

And now a quote from the Yang family:

“The meaning of Chi is simply, life! Life is due to the coming together of Chi, and death is due to the dispersion of Chi. It is a force promoting the activity of the human body.”
Source (Yang family)

Now you have read through many definitions of what is Qi. They are all slightly different, but in the end they all talk about 氣.

If you want to know even more about the Chinese character of Qi, it is composed of two character:

气 = qì which means steam; vapor

米 = mǐ which means hulled or husked uncooked rice

Nowadays, in simplified Chinese, you can use only 气 for Qi, but you’ll probably still see 氣 more often.

Happy 氣!



Learn how to “Practice like a Master: Daily”

Just imagine this: during a class your Taijiquan teacher says: “As I told you last week, this Qi Gong exercise is so important, you should practice it daily for 10 minutes. Who of you did it?”
Awkward silence.

Do you want to be the one who confidently says: “I did. I PRACTICE LIKE A MASTER: DAILY!”

Then this eCourse is just the right thing for you. Over the next 40 days you will get 10 lessons with printables, tools and a lot of motivation to get YOU into the habit of doing Taijiquan and Qi Gong every day. Do you want to get your step-by-step-guide?

YES, I want to practice like a Master: SIGN ME UP

I created that course because I struggled with practicing daily myself. I applied many tools, tricks & techniques. I poured everything I know into this eCourse.

Everything is tried and tested and works! With this eCourse you will easily learn to practice for the next couple of weeks (maybe even months!) and your Taijiquan and Qi Gong skills will increase significantly.

I will guide you through all the best practices to create your habit. It’s like “create a habit for dummies”!

And before I reveal how much this eCourse costs, I ask you this: how much do you pay monthly for Taijiquan and Qi Gong lessons: 50? 100? And that additional workshop every once in a while: 150? 250?

How much of that sticks? How much more would it be worth to you and your personal development if you practiced daily?

Now find out at which price you can get the most out of your Taijiquan lessons and Qi Gong workshops if you PRACTICE LIKE A MASTER: DAILY!

Have a look at the price of this eCourse

Who should NOT sign up for Practice like a Master: Daily?

Do you practice around 6-7 days per week?

If yes, you are doing really well already! I know most people have “troublesome” days when it’s harder to practice than on other days. For me those days are the weekends when the kids are around all day. (Actually I cover how to deal with troublesome days in “Practice like a Master: Daily”). But I am sure you can practice every day if you want to, you’re already that close! Just go and practice on the missing days, too.


Are you happy to stay at the Taijiquan / Qi Gong level you currently are on?

If yes, then continue what you do. But if you want to reap the full benefits of Taijiquan and Qi Gong, you might want to practice more. And daily. Like a Master.


How do you feel when your teacher looks you in the eyes and asks: “Did you do this exercise at home?”

If you say confidently: “Sure, I did that exercise every day and enjoyed it!” – well done!
If you have this nagging feeling and try to look somewhere else because you did not practice it, have a look at “Practice like a Master: Daily”. I will help you to make that feeling go away and to be proud that you practiced. Daily.

eCourse Practice like a Master:Daily by Qialance