If you are interested in Taijiquan and Qi Gong, maybe even teaching it, you most likely think that you are preserving these wonderful ancient arts. Continue reading, because I think you’re not doing enough of what is necessary to keep these arts for future generations.
First, lets talk about preserving an art. Think about a beautiful 400 years old painting or a 2000 years old ceramic pot. How would you preserve it?
You could say “let me just put it in my kitchen cabinet. I will take care of it. When I die my kids inherit it and they will pass it on to future generations!”
Or you could have a look at the current state of the art preservation, conservation, and restoration. These are some of the things that modern technology allow currently (source):
- air conditioning to control temperature and humidity
- light control (because ultraviolet light is the most damaging for paintings)
- chemical poultices, gel technology, and ion-exchange resins as cleaning methods, reduction of salt deposits, and consolidation techniques for wall paintings
- using synthetic materials to adhere ceramic shards together
And then there is of course the digital world. You can do online tours in the Louvre in Paris , the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C. , the Deutsche Museum in Munich etc.
And most likely you agree that using at least some of these techniques and technologies will help to preserve the art for future generations.
So now lets talk about Taijiquan and Qi Gong. If you read this article you most likely call yourself a preserver of these ancient arts.
How do you do it?
You learn from your master. And practice in groups and on your own. You read books. Sometimes you google “meaning of wuwei”. Maybe you even take part in online discussion or forums.
That is all really well. Because it is necessary to move to keep these moving arts alive. But is that really enough? Will that preserve these Chinese arts? I am not so sure if that will be enough.
I know a lot of people say: “Well, but the world needs relaxation now more than ever and people will come and find out about Taijiquan and Qi Gong. Then they will practice it”.
Ok, let’s just have a look at Google trends: how often do people search for YOGA vs Qi Gong vs TAI CHI (sorry it’s in German. But the numbers are worldwide since 2004! You can play with it yourself at Google Trends.)
Ouch. Seems like all those people looking for relaxation are looking for Yoga. Qi Gong and Taijiquan become less and less important! (Disclaimer: Yoga is a wonderful art. But I really like diversity and would love to see Taijiquan and Qi Gong become very popular, too.)
Thus I come to the conclusion that it is really important that we, as the Taijiquan and Qi Gong community, think about how we preserve our moving arts. And coming from an online world, I would like to start with just here:
- Do you read or write a blog and share your knowledge online?
- Do you learn or teach online?
- Do you connect with enthusiasts all over the world?
- How often do you use your mobile phone and do you use it for Taijiquan and Qi Gong?
Maybe you feel like you are too small a light to share your experience publicly. But looking at the Chen and Yang families etc. does not necessarily make it better. Do they have blogs? Online classes? How engaged are the grandmasters and their disciples in the online world? I think they could do much more.
That’s actually one of the reasons why I write this blog. You know, I am not a grandmaster. I am a normal Taijiquan and Qi Gong enthusiast. But still, I want to reach out to bloggers and enthusiasts and teachers all over the world. I want to participate in online Qi gong schools. I want to share my experience and help other practitioners.
Because I think this is the future. Because I want to preserve Taijiquan and Qi Gong for the future.
What about you? How do you preserve these arts and ensure that future generations will benefit from it?
Hi. You are right, there is big problem of perception about taijiquan. It is too often looked to 3rd age practice.
My teacher said “yes it is 3rd age practice but on the condition that you start young”. He himself started around 5 years old and said to have become master (though he hates the word) around 50 years old. He is now 88 years and still can do wonderful lotus kick.
That being said, it is the internal arts, not just taijiquan that can help make good advertisement. Youngsters can start with hsing-yi, then move onto bagua zhang around 40 years old and still keep taiji as background practise until around 60, they find these are all the same art!
What about we also talk plainly about spiritual enlightenment? (neigong, neidan, …) Doing it through internal arts is much more efficient that yoga meditation, you need 5 minutes with dragon stuff to get the same result as 3 hours with full conscience mediation!
I should start a blog when I have time!
yes, I think people perceive these arts as something that is for old people. But that should mean that interest in Taijiquan and Qi Gong should have increased, because societies (at least in the west) are getting older! But still, most people look for Yoga if they are interested in doing something relaxed for their body or something spiritual.
Yes, start a blog! And tell me when you do, so I can read it!
You are so right. I realize that people know nothing or very little about Qigong,
I have started working with a psychologist in order to bring this art out of the dark and help peolple in need.
As a Qigong teacher and most of all practionner I realise that we are holding a treasure and it is our mission to spread it. That is one of the reasons why I have started a blog, only a couple of months old. To share and preserve. I am sorry, it is in Spanish, but here is the link
Good article, Angelika
thank you for your comment. Yes, there are still so many people who don’t know what Qi Gong is. I actually have the dream that one day I wouldn’t have to explain anymore what Qi Gong is.
Your blog looks interesting, unfortunately I do not speak Spanish!
Unity of Branding. Yoga = Various styles of Hatha Yoga in popular culture. Qigong aka Chi Kung, Qi Gong, Also Tai Chi, Taiji, Taichi, taichichuan, taijiquan, Tai Chi Chuan etc etc. How can you make a google search term comparison when Yoga has one well recognized name and Qigong/Taiji have a dozen or more variations? I call BS on your results Angelika Fritz unless you actually did search comparisons which conglomerated all the above terms (maybe not easy or possible for you?). However, whether your stats are valid or not it speaks to the problem of unity of branding Yoga has it. Tai Chi, Chi Kung does not. I remember my first Chi Kung teacher calling his practice Taoist Esoteric Yoga. This is an ongoing marketing issue which many have struggled to answer.
I agree that the naming & branding is a big mess. And obviously it would be easier if we could all agree on one term. However, I think that’s not going to happen any time soon.
As to the numbers and the graph: I decided to exhibit only Tai Chi and Qi Gong vs. Yoga because they are the biggest searched for terms. According to Google Keyword Planer, these are the numbers how often each term is searched for in English, worldwide, per month:
Tai Chi 100k-1mn
Tai Chi Chuan 10k-100k
Qi Gong 100k-1mn
Chi Kung 10k-100k
If you want to get deeper into these numbers, feel free to do your own analysis. Google Trends and the Keyword Planer are both free tools.
However, I wanted to give a wake-up-call that we, as the Taijiquan & Qi Gong community should know that there are MILLIONS of people searching for a solution, searching for relaxation, spirituality etc. And I just think that many of those people would benefit from the Chinese arts.
Unity of branding could be one way to go, simply making the arts more visible (online and offline), another.
I finally found the English version of qialance.com. Wonderful post. Thanks for your thoughts on my blog. I appreciate very much meeting you in cyberland. PS:
Yes, I … Do read or write a blog and share my knowledge online.
Yes, I … Do learn or teach online.
Yes, I … Do connect with enthusiasts all over the world.
Yes, I … Often use my mobile phone and for going over a Taijiquan and Qi Gong form.
Tim Richard, Durango Tai Chi and Dragon Journal
yes, it is so great to meet like-minded people not only in real life but also online! And I am excited to see where this journey will lead us.
Good questions! I really only started teaching taichi since January 2017, but as a student of taichi i am active since 1995. I am still searching for ways to promote taichi as a wise and beneficial martial art, but it is difficult. I think an important explanation for the popularity of yoga is that it recently also is promoted by India. Whereas taichi is not high on the list for promotion Chinese culture by communist China (who persecuted taichi and taichi masters immediately after the revolution in 1949)
Another explanation is that taichi is mostly done by serious, committed practitioners, who are not very much part of the mainstream culture in industrialized countries. Whereas many actors and moviestars are doing and promoting yoga. A third factor is that taichi is really about training both body and mind in becoming soft and gentle, and going inward, looking at yourself. That is very challenging, and takes a lot of patience and effort. Not many people feel like taking time to do that.
So in my blogs on my Dutch taichi4you.wordpress.com website I try to address taichi from the mental point of view: how to gather the courage and motivation to start learning and practicing taichi. I do mention the main principles of taichi, but so far i do not go into taichi detail in my very short weekly blogs.
Let me know what your thoughts are!
Warm wishes, Ans (or Ann) de Vries