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What is chi? (qi?)

Qi. What in thundernation is all the hubbub about? And just how DO you pronounce that? "Kwee?" "Kee?" "Kwai?" "Is that French or something?"

Well, it's Chinese, for one thing. Just to make it easier for you, it's also spelled 'chi.' There, better?

Qi, pronounced 'chee,' no matter how you spell it, is the core of the Chinese cultural perspective on the human conditon. The Vedic traditions (Yoga people) call it Prana. Carl Jung called it essence. All of the cultures of the Earth that respect the human condition as part of the whole have a name for it. For Americans, the easiest translation to begin with is Life Force. Consider it the permeating energetic push that causes your heart to beat, seeds to sprout towards the sun, dogs to bark, and the sun to shine. In fact, the Chinese word for deceased literally means No Qi. Bummer.

The redundant spelling is due to the Chinese adapting their character based written language to the alphabet we most recognize. Their first technique is called Gade-Wiles, and gives us Kung Fu, Chi Kung, and Chi. The current and official system in called Pinyin, and those same words are now Gongfu, Qigong, and Qi. That's also why Beijing and Peking are the same city!


Last tweaked December 17, 2005. All contents copyright BaoRen Qigong, 2003. It ain't worth the karma, my friend.