Tai Chi Chuan or Taijquan?
Chi Kung or Qigong?
Chi or Qi?
Hsing-I Chuan or Xingyiquan?
These are the same words but are spelled differently because initially Chinese words where romanized according to the Wades-Giles system. In the 1980's the transliteration was switched to the Pinyin system. Today you may see a combination which may vary from author to author. Hence, the confusion.
What is Taijiquan? "Taiji" refers to the duality of the universe depicted by the famous symbol of yin and yang. That symbol is called the Taiji symbol. It's half black with a white dot and half white with a black dot. It symbolizes a dynamic state of interdependence, transformation, and balance. Taiji refers to the primal condition of the universe after it split into two from the primordial Oneness. It is often translated as the "grand ultimate or grand terminus". "Quan" refers to fist or force and martial arts. Taijiquan was originally known as Cotton fist.One story is that the originator of Yang style Taijiquan, Yang Lu Chan, was such an invincible pugilist that his art was renamed Taijiquan to indicated his superlative achievement.
The vast majority of people who practice Taijiquan today do not use it as a martial art. Most practice it as a flowing set of mindful movements which reduce stress, increase well-being, balance and a long list of scientifically verified benefits.
To study the martial aspects of Taijiquan is becoming a little more popular in America than it once was.To actually
use it effectively in real martial arts contests is rare and would require very intensive mental, physical and energy training for years.
Taijiquan is a masterpiece. Woven within it is Qigong, the physics of effortless movement, a through and gentle exercise system, Meditation, Inner Alchemy, the study of Yin and Yang within oneself as well as with others and more. It is deeply influenced by Taoist philosophy, i.e. the philosophy of being natural and harmonizing with Nature.