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Tai Chi Chuan, Chi Kung, and other Martial Arts

Elements of Power

Essays on the Art and Practice

of Tai Chi Chuan

Christopher Dow

196 pages


Tai Chi Chuan is an art that adheres to natural laws, and its practices and operating principles can be found in myriad objects, activities, scientific fundamentals, and engineering applications.

In Elements of Power, Christopher Dow explores a number of the fascinating connections that can be drawn between Tai Chi and the physical world around us, opening new dimensions to the art. The lessons of Elements of Power can apply to any Tai Chi form, and the book will appeal to anyone—beginner and more experienced practitioner alike—who wishes a deeper understanding of this fascinating and timeless martial art.

Circling the Square

Observations on the Dynamics

of Tai Chi Chuan

Christopher Dow


254 pages


Tai chi chuan is many things: a martial art, a superlative exercise, a mode of meditation, and a method to build internal vitality, strength, and power. Improved health is a result. But what exactly is tai chi? How does it function? What makes it work?


In Circling the Square, Christopher Dow draws on a variety of fields to examine this fascinating movement art, beginning with an analysis of it’s basic physical structure. From there, he delves into how chi, the energy behind tai chi’s legendary power, is generated and then manifested through the movements of the tai chi form to create a gestalt that is greater than the sum of its parts.


Along the way, he evaluates the distinct characteristics of the Thirteen Postures, breathing techniques, the concept and physiology of the tai chi bow, power emission, and a number of other topics of interest to the serious student of tai chi.


The lessons of Circling the Square can apply to any tai chi style, and the book will appeal to anyone—beginner and more experienced practitioner alike—who wishes to deepen their understanding of this fascinating and timeless martial art.

What they're saying about Circling the Square:

"I really enjoyed this book. The author has a wonderful, refreshing quality to his writing and a clear way of expressing his ideas. I have incorporated some of what he is talking about into my own practice and am enjoying some new ways of looking at what I am doing."

—Michael Gilman

2015 president of the International

Society of T’ai Chi Ch’uan Instructors

The Wellspring
An Inquiry into the Nature of Chi

Christopher Dow

154 pages


Since prehistoric times, peoples the world over have believed in a creative force that inspires life. Throughout history it has been known by many names: mana, prana, ka, and chi, to name only a few. Much has been written about this energy and the ways in which it can be strengthened to enhance life and well-being as well as provide the basis for many of the Eastern martial arts, particularly tai chi chuan.


But if chi is real, why is there so little scientific evidence for its existence or for the physiological structures that generate and channel it throughout the body? Moreover, what is the exact nature of chi, and how can it interact with physical reality in the sometimes esoteric ways that are reported?


The Wellspring draws together, for the first time, two significant but disparate lines of scientific research that not only identify the physiological structures that produce and channel chi but that point to the true nature of this mysterious power.

What they’re saying about The Wellspring:

“As a Tai Chi author myself, I appreciate the effort the author put into this small volume. The presentation is well thought out and easy to read, with illustrations for the most important points.”

—Michael Gilman

2015 president of the International

Society of T’ai Chi Ch’uan Instructors

“My tai chi instructor said this was the best book on the science of chi that he has read. If you are going to pick one book to help you understand the concept of chi in the human body, this is it!”

—Dojo Rat

Read Dojo Rat's full review of The Wellspring

What is chi kung?


The words translate as “mastery of chi.” Taken at surface value, chi kung can be called exercise, though it is not exercise of the sort generally found at a health club or spa. In fact, it is a considerably healthier occupation than much of the body punishment that passes for a healthy workout in some of these establishments. As a form of conditioning, chi kung is exactly the opposite of what Westerners usually think of as exercise.


Alchemy of Breath provides an overview of the history and development of this movement art that enhances inner strength and power while helping keep the body toned and feeling alive.

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Leaves on the Wind
A Survey of Martial Arts Literature

Christopher Dow

Purchase Links

The reader of martial arts literature enjoys a unique opportunity to learn from books written by acknowledged masters and experts in their fields. The reader also might waste a lot of time and money on books that are either inadequate, repetitive of knowledge already gained, or just plain bad. But how to know beforehand if what you’re buying is worthwhile? Leaves on the Wind: A Survey of Martial Arts Literature is here to help. In this series, Christopher Dow reviews books on the martial and movement arts, each review categorized by subject to help the reader find the type of book he or she is looking for.

Volume I: Overviews of the Asian Martial Arts & the Martial Arts of Japan, Okinawa, Korea,

& Malaysia (186 pages)

Volume II: Chi Kung, Meditation, Yoga, Archery, Resources, Film & TV, & Booklets &

Pamphlets (200 pages)

Volume III: Overviews of Shaolin & Other External Chinese Martial Art Styles & Weapons

Forms (196 pages)

Volume IV: Overviews of the Internal Chinese Martial Arts, Xingyi & Yiquan, Bagua, Other

Internal Styles, Push Hands & Applications, Wudang Weapons, & Narratives (194 pages)

Volume V: Overviews of Taijiquan & the Taiji Classics (198 pages)

Volume VI: Taijiquan Instruction Manuals (222 pages)

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