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The Four Tools of Qigong & Tai Chi

     Since tai chi can be considered a complex form of qigong, the four tools that we use in qigong are also the tools utilized in tai chi.  Many teachers and masters call these tools by various names: baskets, rivers, and other analogous terms but the tools themselves are all the same.  Regardless of the style, tradition or lineage of a tai chi or qigong practice, they all share the same four tools:  Breath work, Specific Positions, Visualization and Self-Massage.  Some techniques utilize all four tools at once (like DaMo's 18 Muscle/Tendon Changing Classic).  Other techniques utilize only one of the tools at a time (like Shi Shi Hu breathwork).  Any combination of these four tools is possible within the various systems of chi arts.