A Brief History Of The Word Qigong

Have you ever wondered why some people use the word Qigong, whilst others use Chi Kung?

Have you ever seen words like: Qui gong, Chi Gung and Chi Kong and wondered if they’re all talking about the same subject?

If you have, this post was written just for you.

And if you haven’t, well, you’ll still learn something of interest =)

Now then, back when I wrote my first book: Shaolin Chi Kung in 2008, you’ll notice that I favoured the Wade-Giles ‘Chi Kung‘ version instead of the Romanized: ‘Qigong‘.

But today I use Qigong pretty much all the time.


Well, to be blunt far more people search for Qigong online than they do for Chi Kung. And as I’m a professional Qigong teacher, i.e. I make my living from teaching Qigong then it makes sense for me to set up my ‘stall’ in front of the most traffic.

Sure, I could write Qigong/Chi Kung all the time, but that’d grow old real quick.

So are Qigong and Chi Kung the same?


Qigong is a recent term used for the Chinese energy arts. In the dim and distant past it would have been called Nei Gong.

Now hold on tight grasshopper, because what follows makes my head spin and I’ve been exposed to it for many years.

Let’s go, I promise to do my best to make this as simple and as clear as possible…

You see Nei Gong is only half of the story.

The other half is Wei Gong.

Wei Gong and Nei Gong are the two groups that the legion of Kung Fu force training arts are usually divided into. Where:

  • Wei Gong is used to refer to External Force Training arts. Wei Gong trains Jin, Gu and Bi or muscles, bones and flesh. It utilizes techniques such as stretching, hitting objects or using weights.
  • Nei Gong is used to refer to Internal Force Training arts. Nei Gong trains Jing, Qi and Shen or essence, energy and spirit. These arts utilise techniques like: Zhan Zhuang, meditation, Dynamic Qigong exercises.

I’m sure you can see that the type of Qigong I teach fits into the Internal Force Training, Nei Gong group.

Now if you factor in the different dialects, e.g. Mandarin Chinese and Cantonese Chinese (the dialect most used by Chinese in the West) and allow for human error you can quickly see why there are so many different ways of referring to the Chinese energy arts.


Whatever spelling you prefer to use when writing about your Qigong practice:

Qigong, Chi Kung, Nei Gong, Qui Gong, Chi Gong, Chi Kong or something else – it’s not something worth getting your knickers in a twist over.

What you want to be concerned about is whether what you practice brings you the results you want.

If it doesn’t, chances are you’re practicing Qigong form only. Like I said yesterday, there’s nothing evil about Qigong form, it’s just mostly a waste of your precious time, energy and money.

So If you want to learn Qigong the way I teach it, here’s your next stop:


Enjoy your practice!

Kindest regards


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