Learning tai chi

Our school of tai chi adopts a taoist approach to learning; there is no rivalry, competition, anxiety, winning or losing.

Whilst there is a detailed syllabus and a clear method of development, students are free to proceed at their own pace.


Removing strain

Tai chi is concerned with the physics of relationship.
It aims to balance the body moment by moment.
Placing the body in the optimal position for strength at all times is a major concern.

An unbalanced body is a clear indication of poor physical awareness and is the first thing to be addressed in a tai chi class.
The careful practice of good body habits leads the student to avoid strain and damage.
Each new neigong reduces the risk of injury.


Calm mind, calm body

An agitated mind will not allow you to rest.
Being emotionally upset will also deny you rest.

You must be willing to put matters aside and stop, without worrying about things left undone.
Once your concerns are set aside, you can relax.

Rest is the end of all activity. Unless your motion ceases, you will not find rest.

Baguazhang: throws


Natural range

Our approach to tai chi works safely within your natural range:

If you move a limb away from your centre, the support decreases the further away it goes.
Experiment with your arms and legs - stretch them away in various directions...
In each instance there should be distinct boundary points where a subtle but tangible strain occurs and increases with the degree of movement.
You may not notice this initially; finding your natural range takes patience and sensitivity.


Be sensible

We ask that you disclose any medical problems before starting tai chi lessons so the practice can be tailored to suit your requirement and reduce the risk of discomfort or injury.
Should you have a condition that you think may affect your ability to perform tai chi, please consult a doctor.

Your tai chi teacher is not a medical practitioner.



Tai chi classes are a safe place to be.
In a relaxed, friendly atmosphere you feel comfortable letting down your barriers and being yourself.

Partner work and one-to-one training will encourage you to be calm and feel at ease.
In a stressed, busy life it can be nice to unwind and look after yourself for a change.


A balanced life

The system is designed to re-balance both mind and body, allowing them to move as one.
As a person becomes more balanced, their health naturally improves.

Balance is fundamental to tai chi.

To live a balanced life, all aspects of your existence must work together.
Food, drink, sleep, sex, work and your relationship with the world around you are all equally significant.

Without awareness, life can become hurried and stressful.
The emphasis in tai chi is upon enjoying yourself and being happy with who you are and how you are living your life.


Beyond the medical

It is easy to think of tai chi study in terms of how it improves your health, but tai chi is far more than treatment.
Exponents typically find that the benefits of the study extend to all aspects of their lives.

People look at things differently. They change how they live. Priorities change.


Adapt, change & improvise

Our school motto is simple: Adapt, change & improvise.

It captures the essence of (applied) tai chi and baguazhang, and encourages an open, flexible attitude to life.


Cultivating darkness

When you address the reality of human nature, the dark side becomes far less corny and much more serious.

We all have the potential for 'evil' acts. It is a part of who and what we are.
The danger lies with cultivating this part of ourselves.
No matter how strong we think we are, these emotions are not to be trifled with.


Repressed feelings

The dark side of martial arts training speaks to the less savoury aspects of your character.

You may be sick of being ignored, taken for granted, abused by a society that does not care.
You may feel marginalised, insignificant and weak.
You may want revenge on people who have 'wronged' you.
You may have experienced an unpleasant childhood.
You may have been bullied.

Martial arts training might seem to be an answer.
But the answer does not lie with violence. It lies with getting to know yourself. It can be found through understanding rather than reacting.


Emotional turmoil

Should you seek to harness your emotions, to channel their anger, fear and aggression into their martial art?
That is entirely up to you.
Harnessing your emotions may well add power to their skills but it comes with a price.
'Negative' emotions harm the body.
Strong emotions should be used sparingly, if at all.
When hostile emotions consume you, the intellect is ignored and primitive urges take control.

Tai chi does not embrace negative, strong emotions. It advocates a calm nature.

A calm, composed person sees a lot more and is far more responsible for their actions.
They come to terms with their fear and they learn how to avoid becoming upset.


The wrong way

Competitive martial arts are essentially sport, and sport is usually concerned with victory, with winning.
Sport differs from self defence.
In self defence the onus is upon escaping, not upon winning.

When victory is your aim, you become callous in your desire for success.
You may be prepared to tread on others as you 'climb the ladder of success'.
Ambition and desire have then tainted you.



A tai chi student needs to have good character. They are held to a higher standard than other people.

Courtesy, manners, politeness and honesty are standard. Moral conduct and restraint are also expected.
It is important to take responsibility for what you are learning and show consideration to others who are less fortunate than you.

These may sound like old fashioned values but the martial arts tradition is an ancient one; and its values have proven their worth over the centuries.

Right conduct, courage, benevolence, respect, honour and self discipline are all a given in our classes.



When a student leaves the class, they typically need to justify it to themselves.
Rather than be honest, the individual blames the teacher, the art, the syllabus, the atmosphere.

In most cases, the teacher sees the seeds of their discontent months ahead.

If the student is keen, they are likely to seek out tuition elsewhere.
But this seldom happens.



In tai chi classes where everyone copies the teacher, it is easy to believe that you have made progress.
The whole class work together and nobody is asked to take responsibility for themselves.
This is not learning.
Nobody is actively participating in their own development.

Learning is an interactive process between teacher and student, between classmates, between the student and the tai chi material itself.



What breaks most people is the rigidity of their own opinions.
They cannot cope with situations that question the validity of strongly-held views and feelings.

Our classes are designed to free your minds of preconceptions concerning tai chi, strength, physics and self defence.

Not everyone likes to let go of their opinions. It must be done freely.
Most people have no wish to let go and prefer to maintain the illusion of control.

Opinionated people seldom attend a sufficient number of lessons to understand the nature of tai chi.
They quit with little more knowledge than they started with.