The truth is not some concept, some message or secret. It is everyday reality, all around you.

What is so special about this? Why do people seek the truth?

Reality is not so easy to see.
We are conditioned to want things we do not need, to crave, to be ambitious, selfish, careless and blind.
Our lives are spent chasing ephemeral things that lack any real substance or meaning.

Tao, zen and our approach to tai chi is all about paring away the accumulated nonsense that prevents clear sight.
Instead of seeing what we want to see, we learn to see what is really there.
This may not sound like anything significant but clarity changes your entire existence.


Talk is cheap

The way most people do tai chi, it's not a martial art. They could never use it the way they're doing it. Everything's in their hands, they just fill in the rest with fantasy talk.

(Paul Gale)



If you want to learn tai chi properly, you need a thorough understanding of the art.

Much will be asked of you.

Don't be lazy.



It is common for a student to become frustrated or disheartened. Patience is vital. Your mind and your body is learning something new.

Quite often the problem resides with unrealistic expectations and a limited commitment to practice.

Don't give up at the beginning of your journey.



Another example of compensation is seen in the person who has to have a big house, an expensive car or a large boat to overcome an inner sense of smallness. What is small is his range of self-expression. He may be rich in money, for that is his ambition, but he remains poor in his inner life and in his manner of self-expression.

(Alexander Lowen)



Advanced abilities arise from focussing your time and effort.

No one could reasonably claim high-level skill in a wide variety of arts.
i.e. a heart surgeon is unlikely to also be a neurological specialist.




Relaxation is a condition of ease that arises from feeling comfortable.

You may do many things in order to relax:
  1. Sit
  2. Walk
  3. Read a book
  4. Talk with friends
  5. Spend time with your family
  6. Gardening
  7. Cooking
  8. Eat a nice meal
  9. Watch TV
  10. Socialise

What is relaxing for one person may not be relaxing for another.
It is important to discover ways in which to relax.

You may even choose to do absolutely nothing...


Self defence

Self defence training is the best form of stress management.
Learning how to stand alone against assailants who plan to hurt you is a serious test of nerve.

It is essential to remain calm when faced with a crisis.
Tai chi demands that the student does not tense-up or meet force with force; the system must be applied in accord with what is happening.

The ability to meet such challenges is a major coping skill and demonstrates strong character.

Our students proceed through the self defence syllabus with a grin on their face; nothing is asked of them that they cannot do.
We find that each individual knows when they are ready for a challenge and will ask for it when the time is right.



The most sensible approach to stress may be to adopt a different attitude to coping.

'Coping' is the way in which you handle a situation and has the connotation of being in control.
In reality, our ability to control external events is quite limited.
In tai chi we initially focus upon our own behaviour and consider how we respond.
Later, self consciousness passes and we become immersed completely in the happening.

Rather than seek control, we cope by addressing the underlying concerns of a given situation.
Coping is not easy.
There is no quick fix or easy answer.
Lao Tzu teaches that we should deal with difficulties whilst they are still small.
If it is past that stage, then you need to be calm and patient.
Take small steps.
Go easy on yourself.
Build a strong foundation by sorting out small problems, by creating good habits.