A martial art should already be 'complete'

Unlike fighting, self defence requires the student to finish the opponent off decisively.
There can be no drawn-out combat.

The exponent must be capable of rapidly, spontaneously switching tactics and skills.
Trading blows is time-consuming.
It is necessary to adapt, change and improvise constantly.

Skill in all three areas of combat are necessary: chin na, jing and shuai jiao.
In self defence, the situation is unpredictable and there are no rules.
You must incapacitate the attacker immediately.



Your life constitutes a one-way journey from birth to death. The beauty of life lies in its fleeting nature.
In Japan, the cherry blossom symbolises the poignant realisation that we will bloom for only a short time.
Our mortality should not be ignored.

Rather than pine for more life, be inspired to use what you have, to live it well.
If you consider your life to be passing every day, do you really want to waste it watching television each night?
If you are idle and bored, 'killing time' - ask yourself why? Every moment takes you closer to the end.
Make those precious minutes count for something meaningful. When you die, will you have regrets?


Peter Southwood's tips #4 3 times

High repetition may be a favoured by many martial artists but it can lead to a serious lack of concentration.
The practice can become sloppy and careless.

When drilling any form, martial drill or set, the recommendation is to simply do it 3 times through.
Each time wants to be a little slower than the previous repetition, or a little faster, depending on what you are emphasising that day.


If you are seeking gratification, you will naturally find what you desire, but do not let us call it truth.




Everyone is different.
Everyone has their own agenda.
Some people are easy to work with, whilst others are not.

One student may try hard but continually fail.
Another might be totally lazy but have a knack for the art.
Occasionally, a student neglects their training and blames the instructor for their lack of progress.

An instructor must find a way to help everyone fulfil their potential.



Focus on a topic, learn it and then move onto the next one.
Be patient with yourself.



A complete martial art is not about fighting.
Therefore, the strategies and tactics are geared towards completion of the event.
Force is never blocked.
Struggling is circumvented.
If something does not work, it is immediately discarded.

An entirely different mentality is required.

The student must think about the art as a martial art, not as a sport.
The aim is to evade and escape, not to win prizes or accolades.
The opponent may attack from an unexpected angle, they may be armed, they may not be alone and they will not stop when you have had enough.

Your repertoire must be varied and extensive. Your skills must be honed and comfortable.
Students must use their bodies intelligently and skilfully, employing optimal body mechanics to ensure the best 'effort to reward' ratio.

Form collecting

If all you learn is a lot of forms, you just become a good dancer.   

(James Wing Woo) 


Set realistic learning goals

Each grade involves only a limited number of topics, exercises and drills.
Aim to pass a couple of new items every time you grade.
Look to existing skills.
Correct any mistakes, remove gaps in your knowledge.


Meaningful form

The forms must be made alive and useful.

 (Yang Jwing-Ming)



Most people do not like the idea of exercising every day. They feel cheated because the body deteriorates and ages naturally.

The leisurely-oriented attitudes of modern life is responsible for many of the problems we are now encountering.
We are rearing a world of spoiled, lazy children and child-like adults.
Easy is not necessarily better.

Obesity, depression and mental illness are on the rise globally, as people sit back in their chairs and do less each year.
In some cases - cleaning, laundry, ironing, washing dishes, gardening are all being done by other people.
Time is freed up, but to do what?



Correction requires humility and the earnest recognition that you have much to learn.
It can be tempting to resent your instructor.
After all, they have the skills, they have the knowledge and they make it all look so easy.

But remember; those skills were earned by hard work, money, time and sacrifice.
Skill cannot be given. It must be taken.

Your instructor is giving you the benefit of their own experience.
They are offering numerous opportunities for learning.
Are you stealing their art?



Impatient people push for results.
Yet, who are they really pushing, who is suffering the pressure of their impatience?
They are.

Pushing is a form of exertion.


Most schools have some sort of class etiquette. This may seem a bit stuffy or formal.
Yet, rules are necessary in a class.
It is easy to get carried away. It is easy to be injured or cause injury.

By remaining composed, loose and friendly - safety can be encouraged.
Play, rather than fight.
Aggression has no place in our school.


Your safety, their safety

The advantage of boundaries is that everyone benefits.
You are protected from harm.
Other people are protected from you harming them.

Without clearly defined boundaries, a martial arts class cannot operate safely.


Tai chi

Tai chi is about changing our internal environment so that life becomes a joy to live and not a burden to drag into old age and death. It is about helping your body to let go of the past and your mind to slow down and cease churning. Tai chi encourages your internal focus to shift toward cherishing and remembering all that is wonderful in your life. It predisposes you to look forward to ways to make life better, rather than remembering how unsatisfying it has been.

Most importantly, tai chi gives us the ability to realise a greater human potential in ourselves and to have genuine compassion for others. Tai chi, with its gentle strength, moves us closer to feeling more truly alive.

(Bruce Frantzis)



The role of the instructor in a martial arts class is crucial.
In addition to teaching the class, they often write the syllabus, run the school and decide how to approach the art.
Their personality is imprinted on everything they do.

Unlike a school teacher - who implements someone else's curriculum and follows someone else's rules - a martial arts instructor is more like the captain of a ship.



Being courteous to other people ensures a more pleasant training environment.
People are less prone towards abusive behaviour, swearing or insults.

The slight formality of a martial arts class encourages good character.

You behave with dignity and show respect to people who are placing their trust in you.


Chinese new year preparation is a time for buying new clothes and getting your h



Chinese new year preparation is a time for buying new clothes and getting your appearance tidied up.



Qigong is intended to condition your body, to develop stamina and endurance.
But be wary of trying too hard.

If you find that your body is aching considerably and you feel really tired, you are doing the exercise incorrectly.
Let-go of your tension and relax into the posture.
Imagine that your arms are on strings or resting on something.



When your partner loses his root his mind will be scattered and confused, and this will provide you with a good opportunity to attack.

 (Yang Jwing-Ming)



Beginners wear themselves out training qigong and partner work with too much tension.
Remember to use only the minimal amount of
strength; use only what is necessary to hold your limb in place.
Anything more is wasted.


How does your partner/wife/husband address the instructor?

This is the protocol: non-class members/strangers should call my husband Mr Waller or Sifu Waller (unless they're personal friends).

A partner/spouse/family member of a student should call our instructor "Sifu" - just as a student would - because of the partner/spouse/family member being a class member.

In Chinese culture this is considered friendly because it acknowledges their indirect association with the school.


Disciplinary measures

It is rare for a martial arts school to impose disciplinary measures.
But they do need to exist in the event of misconduct.

If a student becomes unruly and refuses to follow instructions, everyone is put at risk.



It is important to remember that a martial arts class is not modern in nature.
When you enter the training hall, you must leave modern culture at the door.
You are partaking in a tradition that has continued for centuries.