Reading List

Reading List by Tony Morton

I recommend these books on the basis that they have all been very useful to me. It is not really possible to know Tai Chi by reading about it but the study of the principles and underlying philosophy are important in helping us to understand what it is we are learning through the form.

The philosophy of Tai Chi is founded on Taoist and more latterly Buddhist philosophy and it has common origins with Zen Buddhism. I must be clear that Tai Chi has no religious context although it is spiritual in origin. I would recommend that everyone learning Tai Chi should read
Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, I particularly like the translation by Martin Palmer

In a similar vein, but from a very different origin I think that
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are very useful as the philosophy is equally applicable to Tai Chi as well as Yoga and I like the translation by Alistair Shearer, titled Effortless Being

There are few books that help us to understand the essence of Tai Chi rather than the practicalities. Two I have discovered and find useful are
Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain: Essence of Tai Ji by Al Chung-Liang Huang
Breathing Underwater by Margaret Emerson
also, although but not about Tai Chi, I recommend
Cheng Hsin The Principles of Effortless Power by Peter Ralston

There are some great writers who explain the Taoist practice, practicalities of movement, sequences and exercises:
The author I started with and still find the most accessible is Master Lam Kam Chuen
The Way of Energy
Chi Kung The Way of Healing

For great detail and unquestionable expertise the books of Mantak Chia are excellent. There are so many and just a few are
Awaken Healing Energy Through the Tao
Awaken Healing Light
Iron Shirt Chi Kung
Golden Elixir Chi Kung
Chi Self Massage: Tao of Rejuvenation

I also think that The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing by Kenneth S Cohen is excellent.

Other authors and books I have found particularly useful
The Tao of Health Sex and Longevity by Daniel Reid
Guarding the Three Treasures by Daniel Reid
The Complete Book of Zen by Wong Kiew Kit
Chi Kung for Health and Vitality by Wong Kiew Kit
Qigong for Health and Vitality by Michael Tse
Qigong by Danny Connor with Michael Tse

I would also like to recommend Jason Chan’s books, while not specifically about Tai Chi or Chi Kung are founded on a deep knowledge of energy and its applicability for spiritual awakening.
The 7 Principles for Radiant Living
The Radiant Warrior Path
and also my own book
Active Willingness – A Course in Spiritual Awakening which provides Chi Kung, meditation and other tools to support spiritual growth.

I have bought so many of these books and many others from The Tao of Books which can be found at