Is there a difference between Tai Chi and Tai Chi Chuan?
In my opinion, Yes and No.
Tai Chi vs. Tai Chi Chuan
Many people, myself included, refer to Tai Chi Chuan as Tai Chi. Tai Chi can be a short nickname for Tai Chi Chuan. For example, the name Jim is a nickname for James.
Tai Chi Chuan, known as the "supreme ultimate fist," is a Chinese martial art. Tai Chi Chuan is a mindful series of individual martial Qigong movements. When these movements are applied can be an effective form of self-defense. These Martial Qigong movements seamlessly flow together. Each posture has an expansion and a relaxation. The flow of energy passes through the body. It is essential to be centered and in correct alignment. You use your mind and imagination to direct the energy through your body. The movements begin from the earth, expand in all directions, and are released. When you relax, new energy flows down the body into the ground. Just as a person pushing, pulling, or lifting weights needs to be grounded. Tai Chi Chuan must be rooted and use the earth. Tai Chi Chuan must also harmonize Yin and Yang.
Tai Chi can be a form that lacks all martial applications and most of the health benefits. Tai Chi can be a form of mindless exercise. It is essential to learn from a competent teacher. Otherwise, your Tai Chi form could fall into this category.
Make sure you are learning Tai Chi Chuan. If it is Tai Chi Chuan, it will be okay to refer to it as Tai Chi.