Page Header Logo Journal of Movement Arts Literacy

White Crane Spreads its Wings and Snow Rabbit Digs the Earth: Kinetograms of Contrasting Styles within Chinese Martial and Meditative Arts of Taijiquan (T’ai Chi Ch’uan, 太极拳) and Qigong (Chi Gong, 气功)

Keith McEwing


Taijiquan is a Chinese martial art that developed in the 17th century from a base of traditional forms from earlier centuries. Now widely practiced internationally, it is promoted as gentle exercise, as self-defense and as movement meditation with significant health benefits. Qigong, consisting of similar movement but intended entirely as a health benefit, has been practiced for considerably longer. This paper discusses the advantages of having Taijiquan sequences or forms recorded with Kinetography Laban/Labanotation over other various memory aids for learning the martial art. It explains the basic principles of Taijiquan and how these can be best captured in the notation system, addressing some major challenges and providing excerpts of the Yang Style 24 Hand Form. It also covers the five family styles of Taijiquan (Chen, Yang, Wu (Hao), Wu and Sun) and how Kinetography Laban/Labanotation can be used for the comparison of these styles. It mentions identifying variation in different practitioners of the same style or form and recording Qigong into movement notation.


Taijiquan; Qigong; Martial Arts; Kinetography Laban; Labanotation

Full Text:



  • There are currently no refbacks.