Difference between Tai Chi and Tai Chi Chih

Key difference: An apparent difference between Tai Chi and Tai Chi Chih is that the former includes a discourse on martial arts, whereas Tai Chi Chih is an absolutely non-violent discipline.

The term Tai Chi, means the “supreme ultimate fist”. It is a discipline devoted to achieve unity and harmony between the mind and the body of a person. Tai Chi is highly influenced by the Taoist and Buddhist monasteries, and first originated in China. The basic tenets of Tai Chi include self-defense and maintenance of one’s health. The health here refers to the physical and also mental fitness of a person, which is why Tai Chi comprises of three important modules namely: health, meditation and martial arts.

The fundamental premise of Tai Chi is to be responsive and aware of the opponent’s vital energy, also known as ‘Chi’. Tai Chi teaches a person to anticipate and react to the opponent’s moves and movements, without instigating any on one’s own. It is the knowledge of using an opponent’s vital force to one’s advantage. Keeping this in mind, Tai Chi involves the practice of slow movements, which enable a person to learn the art of balancing himself/herself in all conditions, and also eliminate the risk of falling.

Tai Chi Chih means “knowledge of the supreme ultimate”. It was first founded in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1974, by Justin Stone, who breathed his last in 2012. Popularized through word of mouth and its practitioners, Tai Chi Chih is taught and practiced in countries like the US, Canada, France, Italy, New Zealand, Zimbabwe, Namibia, etc. According to some reports, Tai Chi Chih as a fitness discipline has brought about not only physical and mental health benefits, but relief from stress and certain other disorders as well.

Basically, Tai Chi Chih is a series of a pose and 19 movements, which when performed together in sequence, helps in restoring the skewed physical and mental balance of a person. Tai Chi Chih being based on the traditional Chinese culture, advocates the cultivation, circulation and balancing one’s ‘Qi’ or ‘Chi’, which is said to be the safe deposit of a person’s energy. All the movements and exercises prescribed under Tai Chi Chih are aimed at the development and distribution of this energy to all parts of the body. It is also noteworthy that Tai Chi Chih is a completely non-violent practice. It doesn’t promote attack and defense, which is why it lacks the martial arts aspect.

Nevertheless, Tai Chi Chih more than compensates by providing physical and mental stability, as much as Tai Chi does.

Comparison between Tai Chi and Tai Chi Chih:


Tai Chi

Tai Chi Chih


“Supreme Ultimate Fist”

“knowledge of the supreme ultimate”



Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA


Achieving internal and external stability.

Achieving physical fitness by aiming at mental fitness.


It is a soft and hard martial art form.

Tai Chi Chih is not at all a martial art form.

Other aspects

Health, meditation apart from martial arts.

Physical fitness, strengthening the muscle structure, etc.


Slow and rhythmic

Series of 19 movements and a pose.

Basic tenets

Mental and physical oneness

Control over mind and body.

Image Courtesy: bmataichidata.com, etsy.com

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Just a FYI: Your table lists Tai Chi Chih as being founded in Mexico, the post however says Albuquerque, New Mexico (which is part of the United States).

Hi Mike, Thank you for pointing out that error. It has been fixed now. Thanks.

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