Lineage candidates

We are looking for these qualities in a potential candidate:

• Combat skills
• Good attitude
• Passing belts quickly
• Competence with form
• Twice-weekly attendance
• Evidence of home training
• A serious commitment to training
• Assignments completed punctually
• Enthusiasm with shido-geiko responsibilities
• Studying both supreme ultimate fist & 8 trigrams palm


Health & safety

Dr Paul Lam emphasizes the importance of understanding what you are doing with your body during each movement in tai chi.

For example: knowing the difference between pelvis and hips will spare your knees considerable discomfort.

It is not enough to feel relaxed. Your body must be used with awareness.



No humans command it;
it is even by nature.

(Lao Tzu)


Cigarettes & alcohol

Addictive substances are used to prop people up.

A student once commented that after a few weeks of tai chi chuan he’d stopped drinking altogether. No effort was involved; he just didn’t feel like it anymore.

He remarked, “Happy people don’t drink.”


Test your teacher

If your tai chi chuan teacher has groundpath, you should be able to put your hands on their arms at any point during practice and ‘bounce’ their structure.

When they are halfway through form, ask them to freeze. Then test their posture. Is it substantial? Is it stiff? Are they tensing-up against you?

Be vigorous. Feel for gaps and weaknesses.

They should be springy like elastic, yet internally connected. They should feel relaxed but strong, with absolutely no conscious effort required.

If your teacher crumples in a heap or pushes back into you, find another instructor.


“It’s all in the hands,” the man assured me after watching my tai chi chuan form. He seemed quite confident that tai chi chuan was all about moving your hands around.

It isn’t.

Movement is generated by the feet, directed by the waist and comes out of the hands. Or feet, shoulder, elbow, whatever…

If you think it’s in the hands, you’re either not looking closely enough or the demonstration is lousy.

Some teachers fuss about hand positions, and whilst these are important, they are secondary to the feet. A subtle change in hand position will only make a mild difference to form whereas incorrect foot alignment can actually damage the knee joint.

‘Faulty sensory appreciation’/‘sensory mis-appreciation’ can mean that you think that the insides of your feet are parallel or that your knee is pointing in-line with your toe... but when you look down, this is not the case at all.

Tai chi chuan isn't just in the feet any more than it’s all in the hands, but the feet are a good place to begin.