Combat is tiring.
The longer it lasts, the more worn out you will get. 
The more dramatic your combat, the quicker you will tire.

The Art of War advocates a speedy conclusion.


How many people study a martial art or a fighting art?

Out of those people that exercise, how many choose to study a martial art or a fighting art? 
Not many.
Sport is far more popular than martial arts training.
Running, football, the gym, yoga... these more widely practiced.

Not many people study the martial arts these days.

Sifu in the 1980's


Self defence challenges

As the syllabus unfolds, the martial student is eventually required to prove their skill against full-speed, full-power attacks from other students and also from the instructor.
We employ relay attacks and melee scenarios.
Sometimes it is one-to-one.
The attacker(s) may be armed or unarmed.

Our aim is to challenge your nervous system, to put you under pressure, to see if you panic, or if you remain composed.

Nobody will be asked to do anything that is beyond their ability.
By facing an increasingly realistic range of attacks, the student becomes seasoned to violence and is not flustered.


How many people train their internal art correctly?

Although tai chi is widely practiced and popular, not many students are learning tai chi chuan: the martial art.
Most students are training tai chi for health, or as a performance art.

Very few people are engaged in learning the internal arts properly.
Some combat tai chi people externalise the art in order to make it easier to learn. 
But this does not succeed.
Instead, it creates a new art: an external hybrid based upon the idea of tai chi.

Training an internal art correctly - using the principles of the art fully and faithfully - is relatively rare these days.
It requires a lot of hard work, exploration, study, patience and practice.



Thank you for your lovely site... just what I needed to stumble across tonight.



How many people exercise?

Consider all the people you know.
Do many of them exercise?
Of all the people in the world, how many actually exercise?
Humans are pretty lazy and the invention of cars, televisions and computers have made things far worse.


Tao yin

Tao yin refers to a wide selection of stretching exercises designed to improve circulation and boost the flow of energy within the body.
It is commonly referred to as 'taoist yoga'.

The stretches work the legs, back and psoas in particular.


Living the life

If you want to discover the meaning of tao, zen and/or tai chi, it is necessary to remember that these arts were lived.
They were not paraded or preserved.

People lived this way.
They did so unselfconsciously and vibrantly.
It was not a mask or a poise. There was nothing kitsch or contrived.



Before I came to Sifu Waller three years ago I had spent six years at four different classes trying to learn tai chi. 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)


What are the challenges?

There are many, many challenges facing every student.

Those that stem from the art itself are technical in nature.
Most arise within and represent an internal battle that must take place if a student is ever to penetrate the mysteries of the art.

Not everyone will have determination enough to stay the course.


Real human

Taoism has a long history of mystics, alchemists and magicians.
There are many colourful accounts of oddball recluses who studied arcane practices in order to gain great skill and wisdom.

At the heart of the teachings is the desire to attain an altered state of consciousness.
To see the world through different eyes.
Taoists aim to become a "real human being"; in-touch with reality is a tangible, earthy way.
They avoid fame, worldliness and repute; remaining in the shadows, in secret and aloof.

Too old to change

Karate and tai chi are worlds apart. If I was a young man, I'd join your class and ditch karate. 

Sadly, I'm too old to change and I know it.

(Andrew Clarke)

Varicose veins

If you have varicose veins you should not undertake standing (static) qigong.