The honest answer to this question is that it has elements of both. Let’s start by making sure we know the difference between taiji and qigong.
Taiji is a martial art that is recognised for its softness, slow yet powerful movements and therapeutic health building properties. It can be described as moving meditation and sometimes shadow boxing. Students learn a series of movements known as a form, which can be a hand form or a weapon form. There are several schools, which have variations of the moves, depending on their applications and forms are often known by the number of moves e.g. Long form might have 119 moves while there are shorter 37 step forms or even 18.
Qigong is a system of, literally, energy exercises. There may only be 5 or 8 moves, as these are generally designed to work with the meridians, which work with the organs of the body. These are repeated 4, 5 or 8 times. This makes qigong moves easier to follow, to learn and to practise for those who don’t wish to make a series study or practice. It is often described as health qigong to emphasise the different purpose from the martial element of taiji. Massage and herbal medicine are also associated with qigong exercises.
Shibashi offers a bridge between the two. There are 18 moves, but as these are repeated usually 4 times and as none of them is physically difficult, it is a very accessible short taiji form, suitable for all ages.
As with all qigong forms, the exercise should leave you feeling relaxed, cleansed and energised and with a big smile on your face!
Because the qi energy will be moving through your body, bringing energy and pushing out toxins, we recommend drinking a lot of water to help eliminate the toxins.