The whole point of meditation is not to follow the path laid down by thought to what it considers to be truth, enlightenment or reality. There is no path to truth.
The following of any path leads to what thought has already formulated and, however pleasant or satisfying, it is not truth.
It is a fallacy to think that a system in daily life for a few given moments, or the repetition of it during the day, will bring about clarity or understanding.



I have just returned from hospital and whilst there the physio asked about my tai chi lessons with Sifu Waller, how often I did it etc. He told me there was nothing further he could show me that would be better than the exercises I showed him from class and doesn't want to see me again for two months. He said it was ideal, slow yet dynamic and was happy for me to use it as my only ongoing therapy to finish my recovery. I have asked if he would mention Sifu Waller's class to some of his patients and he has agreed to do so. My point is, how can you possibly put a price on that? You can't. £6.00 per week for improved health, wellbeing and a stronger body. It wouldn't even buy a tub of "magic cure-all" we so often see in Health Food Shops these days.



Workshop/drop-in/taster sessions

Companies sometimes like to offer a drop-in session or workshop where people can have a short taste of tai chi.
It may be just a 10 minute workshop or an hour session.

We offer a stimulating range of activities:
  1. Qigong
  2. Balance
  3. Connection
  4. How to relax
  5. Biomechanics
  6. Mind/body unity
  7. Optimal body use
  8. Tai chi form practice
  9. Playful partnered games
  10. Neigong feats of strength
People are encouraged to join-in and try things out for themselves, rather than just watch.


Regular feedback

Students are evaluated every 12 weeks. Sifu offers advice, corrections, tips and pointers.
If you understand the fundamentals of your grade well enough, you can move up to the next belt.

Your grade represents where you are in the syllabus,


The word 'meditation' is widely used to mean a variety of things.

Many people imagine that meditation means sitting in a crossed-legged position and listening to your breath.
Such practices or methods are not meditation. They serve to encourage meditation.

Meditation is not a method or exercise; rather, it is the condition of presence.

It is important not to mistake the menu for the food.



Before I came to Sifu Waller three years ago I had spent six years at four different classes trying to learn tai chi chuan. None of them had a syllabus of any kind. Most were offering tuition of the simplified 24 step Yang style tai chi, with no self defence and no regard for the health of knees or back. The classes were for one hour only and cost about the same as ours.

(John Bell)


Shedding the insincerity

People are not so keen to shed all the rubbish they have accumulated.
The image. The reputation. The opinions. The viewpoint. The politics. The money. The possessions.

However, the very things that we hide behind and cling to so desperately are the very things that blind us from reality.

You don't empty the mind just to lobotomise yourself; it's not mindlessness.

You empty it so that it can be refilled by what you're experiencing. It's empty of the chatter, it's empty of the neurotic anxiety, it's empty of preconceived notions, it's empty of opinions, it's empty of politics, it's empty of social conventions, and if you empty your mind of all that, it's a cleansing process.

Then you can allow it to be filled by the true experience of what you're doing.

 (Paul Gale)


Indoor students

The deeper meaning beneath the superficial is a recurrent theme in traditional Japanese culture. In the art of garden design, it is actually given a name, hiegakure, which means "that hidden from ordinary sight." The average shlub strolls through a Japanese garden gawking at the sights, entirely unaware of the paths beneath his feet. To the connoisseur, however, these same paths offer a lifetime of study and appreciation. Here the paths are smooth, hurrying one along. There, the stones are rough, irregular, or stepped, causing the visitor to slow down, something planned by the garden's designer, who may have wanted visitors to pause at a certain point.
(Dave Lowry)


The Pavement Arena by Geoff Thompson

The Fine Art of Japanese Food Arrangement by Yoshio Tsuchiya

Stop doing

You do not need to look, listen or reach out of yourself to experience the moment.
The information comes to your body unbidden. You see, hear and feel automatically. Involuntarily.
It is not necessary to do anything. Instead you need to stop doing.

Doing is led by the mind, whereas awareness is passive.

This condition of absolute presence will emerge without effort if you allow your mind to stop seeking, forcing and straining.
Just be.
Let your awareness grow. Notice things. Be curious. Be alive. Be alert. Let-go.



The early stages of training are important.
The beginner is building the foundation for their entire art.
What could be more exciting?

A new starter is exposed to all manner of new insights, movement principles, structural and strategic concerns.
They are offered a bewildering range of considerations.

It is the beginning of a different kind of learning.
Much of what you believe to be true will now be challenged.
You must unlearn.
Set aside your expectations, opinions and bad habits.


Attention skills

A student’s ability to attend to incoming information can be observed, broken down into a variety of sub-skills, and improved through properly coordinated training. We train and strengthen the three primary types of attention:
  • Sustained Attention: The ability to remain focused and on task, and the amount of time we can focus.
  • Selective Attention: The ability to remain focused and on task while being subjected to related and unrelated sensory input (distractions).
  • Divided Attention: The ability to remember information while performing a mental operation and attending to two things at once (multi-tasking).


Class members

Taking private lessons and/or training with an instructor for many years does not make you an 'indoor student'.

If a class member wants an indoor relationship with the instructor, the process is quite formal.
The student must become a 'lineage student' and this entails meeting certain criteria and fulfilling specific obligations.


What is condition?

Consider this situation:

You decide that you are unfit and you commit to a 3 mile daily walk every morning.
On the first day when you complete the walk, you are out of breath and your limbs are shaky.
After two weeks you can finish the walk without losing your breath and you feel pleasantly energised.
Eventually the walk feels too easy and you look to try a more challenging route.

Your friend joins you on the walk because they too want to get in shape.
They finish the walk exhausted and marvel at your stamina.

What has changed?

The walk is just as hard. You need to use just as much energy to complete it.
Yet, your body has grown stronger.
More efficient.
You can undertake the hardship of the walk without undue difficulty.

This is what condition means.
Increasing your strength, stamina, endurance and fitness.
Compared to somebody who does not undertake daily training you will be far more capable of sustained exercise.

Chill out

Tai chi is an excellent way to encourage staff to relax and unwind during the busy day.
It reduces stress, improves health and generates a sense of well-being.

The atmosphere is informal, fun, relaxing and calm.
We offer the opportunity to explore the art without pressure or judgement.



Most people in the world who are training tai chi lack most of the skills on the list.
Commonly they possess only 3 areas of skill:

  1. Qigong
  2. Form
  3. Sensitivity exercises
If you lack an understanding of neigong and application, then the form is merely an outline/pattern... akin to dance.


The ability to store and recall information:
  • Long-Term Memory: The ability to recall information that was stored in the past. Long-term memory is critical for spelling, recalling facts on tests, and comprehension. Weak long-term memory skills create symptoms like forgetting names and phone numbers, and doing poorly on unit tests.
  • Short-Term / Working Memory: The ability to apprehend and hold information in immediate awareness while simultaneously performing a mental operation. Students with short-term memory problems may need to look several times at something before copying, have problems following multi-step instructions, or need to have information repeated often.


Backpacks - capacity & comfort

When you buy an across-the-shoulder/messenger bag/man bag, the capacity of the bag suggests that the bag can be filled with quite a lot of gear. Indeed, a messenger bag can be filled with a comparative amount of gear to a backpack.

So what? 

A backpack is essentially a mini-rucksack and as we all know, it is not all that difficult to carry quite a heavy rucksack with ease. The key lies with design. The functional, ergonomic design of a rucksack enables the human body to lug a heavy load with no adverse side-effects.

What about messenger bags?

The design suggests that it can do the same job as a rucksack/backpack. After all, a messenger bag has an equivalent capacity... Yet, the design is flawed. If you carry anything more than a threadbare amount of gear, it'll harm your body. The bag is sold on the basis of convenient access. You don't have to remove the bag to get inside.

I have clicky shoulders from years of taekwondo and Sifu is always encouraging me to be careful with how I 'use' my body. I'm very cautious when using an across-the-body bag. If I'm shopping; supermarket or town, or walking anywhere, I use a backpack.


Only an expert should teach

Being a tai chi teacher is more than just talent.
You need to put in the work.
This is why there is an instructor training course for would-be instructors.

An expert must have at least 10,000 hours of practice behind them.
Dr. K. Anders Ericsson found that this was true of any art; whether tai chi, dancing or playing the piano.

You should only seek to become a tai chi or baguazhang instructor when you are an 'expert'.

Gaining strength

Once the obstacle of a new challenge has been surmounted, your body adapts and the exercise feels to be easy.
It becomes familiar and the difficulty fades.

Care must be taken to maintain the quality of the movement.
Considerable ongoing refinement is still necessary - and always will be.
There are no plateaus.

You must continue to challenge your mind and body.
The syllabus will present countless new obstacles.
Each one will cause you to falter, re-think how you are practicing the art, and then work around the problem.

This journey will require considerable tenacity. And humility.

Logic and reasoning

The ability to reason, form concepts, and solve problems using unfamiliar information or novel procedures. Deductive reasoning extends this problem-solving ability to draw conclusions and come up with solutions by analyzing the relationships between given conditions. Students with underdeveloped logic and reasoning skills will generally struggle with word math problems and other abstract learning challenges. Symptoms of skill weaknesses in this area show up as questions like, “I don’t get this”, “I need help…this is so hard”, or “What should I do first?”



Give things up. Do less. Go to bed earlier. Apply less strength in your daily life. Stop pushing. Stop taking stimulants.

In a film called ‘The Game’ a man has everything he believes to be important taken from him. Finally stripped of everything, he gives in. He quits.

Only then does he realise the freedom of it.


Know your stuff

In order to instruct, you need something to teach.
You require subject knowledge.

Begin as a new starter
and work your way through the syllabus.

Auditory processing

The ability to analyze, blend, and segment sounds. Auditory processing is a crucial underlying skill for reading and spelling success, and is the number one skill needed for learning to read. Weakness in any of the auditory processing skills will greatly hinder learning to read, reading fluency, and comprehension. Students with auditory processing weakness also typically lose motivation to read.


Good use

Operating with good use could be described as doing everything with the minimum possible muscular effort. We want just enough tension in the muscles for them to do what is required at any given moment, no more and no less. 'Maximum output from minimum muscular effort' would be one definition of the most efficient use of the body.

(Glen Park)

Keeping it real

Every jing is the product of the way in which you move your body.
By turning the hips, flexing the spine, shifting the weight and adjusting the limbs - you produce an outcome.
There is nothing spectacular about this.

Students should be wary of talking about 'qi'.
Can you prove that qi produced the outcome?
Perhaps there is a more simple, straightforward reason?


Visual processing

The ability to perceive, analyze, and think in visual images. This includes visualization, which is the ability to create a picture in your mind of words or concepts. Students who have problems with visual processing may have difficulty following instructions, reading maps, doing word math problems, and comprehending.


Indoor, but not lineage

Family members are always offered the inner teachings.
This makes them an '
indoor student' but not necessarily a 'lineage student'.
To become a lineage student they must undergo the bai shi ceremony and make the formal pledges.


Learn how to teach

There are 3 instructor grades in our school:
  1. Level 1
    - training takes place during the 3rd dan syllabus
  2. Level 2
    - training takes place during the 6th dan syllabus
    - 10,000 hours of practice required

  3. Level 3
    - training takes place during the 7th dan syllabus
Having completed each level of instructor training, the student is given a certificate qualifying them to teach our syllabus.



Bear Arms

Bear Arms offer a Price promise, whereby they'll match the price of any bona fide competitor.
Well, they are true to their word, so we recommend them for swords.

Processing speed

The ability to perform simple or complex cognitive tasks quickly. This skill also measures the ability of the brain to work quickly and accurately while ignoring distracting stimuli. Slow processing speed makes every task more difficult. Very often, slow processing is one root of ADHD-type behaviors. Symptoms of weaknesses here include homework taking a long time, always being the last one to get his or her shoes on, or being slow at completing even simple tasks.