Office life

Office life is fraught will a variety of health problems that stem from air conditioning, fluorescent lighting, flickering computer monitors, lack of fresh air and apathy.

Sitting at a desk all day is not good for your body and working at a computer is worse; especially a laptop.


You & the computer

The computer serves you, not the other way around.
Sit so that the monitor and keyboard are directly in front of you.

Make sure that the monitor is not too close.
You should not have to
stretch to use the keyboard or twist your torso to any degree.

When you feel bored, tired, restless, stiff or have sore eyes - get up and take a
If your employer will not allow you to get up, find out your rights.
The more tired you get, the more you neglect your body and poor posture will only tire you further.

Do not ignore your body; you need it beyond the


Martial tai chi

Karate or taijiquan?

Karate is an effective, dangerous martial art. But it is very different to taijiquan.
When you train taijiquan as if it were karate, you are no longer training taijiquan, you are training karate.

If you want to be good at taijiquan, you must train taijiquan.
You must utterly adhere to the taijiquan principles and every text/treatise/book inspired by taoism.

Whole-body movement

Your entire body - from the feet, legs and waist to the fingers - must work like a unit, and move as if threaded together, like a soft whip.

 (Yang Jwing-Ming)


Fasting is a traditional method of eliminating toxins and gaining spiritual clarity.
 But it must be approached with caution.

 How you begin a fast, how you break a fast and what you do during (or don't do) during a fast are all considerations.
 Fasting affects your body in quite significant ways.
 If you are interested in fasting, then do some research beforehand; find out if it is the right approach for you.

 During your fast, drink filtered water, avoid driving and try to rest.


Training for the first time

The main consideration is this: go slow and easy.
Do not push anything.
Do not force anything.

Allow things to happen nice and slowly.
Developing coordination, balance, martial insights and sensitivity will take time.



Rachel handles the registration of students in class and undertakes a limited degree of tuition.

She makes many suggestions pertaining to the organisation, procedures and practices in class.
Rachel is responsible for locating venues, filming, answering e-mails, running the Newcastle Tai Chi blog and YouTube pages.

Her creative input has resulted in many positive changes for the school.


How to become a lineage student:

  1. 3rd dan black belt
  2. At least 6 years of unbroken training with a given instructor
    - this should include both public & private classes
  3. Bai shi ceremony
    - the student makes a pledge in which they commit to preserving the art, training hard and learning all aspects of the curriculum
    - other conditions will also be met (relative to instructor/school)
    - the instructor embraces the student as part of their own family
  4. Study & practice
    - the real work now begins, with the lineage student training very hard to learn the remaining syllabus material
    - this period of study and tuition usually continues for the remainder of the instructor's lifetime


Martial arts have always been taught for money.
The instructor needs a certain income to sustain the school, pay hall rental and their own fees.
Some people teach part-time whilst others teach professionally.

Typically an instructor founds a school or is appointed by a governing body or a chief instructor.
The instructor has a lot of responsibilities.

It is important to respect that the instructor is running a small business.



When fighting an opponent who feints, stay calm, don't respond.
If your opponent is in range it doesn't matter whether the attack is a feint or not,
just step in and attack.
(Lau Kim Hong)



Being sifu is all about responsibility.
The role of instructor demands a very serious dedication to the art and an ongoing commitment to the students.

A martial arts class needs to have clear boundaries and a code of conduct.
Sifu is the person who ensures that these are adhered to.

They are also responsible for delivering the syllabus.
In some cases, sifu may have written much of the syllabus themselves.



Many excessively bounce around learning the next 'new' form or movement set without ever extracting the real internal value from any of them.

 (Bruce Frantzis) 




A sifu must be capable of doing/applying all aspects of the art taught in the classes.
Their skills must transcend those of every student in the school.

Theoretic knowledge is not acceptable.

Heavy weapons

The sabre and straight sword are actually quite heavy to wield.
Students are recommended to start with a lighter weapon.
This may entail buying a fairly cheap sword to start with; perhaps even a wushu weapon.

Once experienced, you may want to buy a better sword.

One way of developing strength is to practice the staff form and stick drills with an oak stick.
This must be approached carefully to avoid the risk of strain or injury.
Rest tired muscles and avoid speed.
Slow, controlled movements are best for strength-building.


Chu King Hung


The philosophy of using soft against the hard was originated from Lao Tzu. It is from this concept that tai chi chuan was created.

 (Yang Jwing-Ming)


Baguazhang is hard work

Students new to bagua may find it to be surprisingly hard work.

This is to be expected.
Tai chi is also similarly difficult, but with tai chi it is possible to introduce the art much more progressively, allowing time to grasp the basics and move on.

With bagua, there are no basics as such. Bagua has no beginners level.

Mother palms, direction changes and palm changes are the basics.
Everything else is the hard stuff