Making progress

Column 3 is not taught.
You arrive there through long years of daily home practice.
If you can practice the simple qigong/neigong exercises at this level, you can make any movement this way.

Column 3 training takes place at the experienced-level.

Until then, you just need to work on moving in an accurate, connected, consistent way.
Adhere strictly to the tai chi principles.


Flowing or flawed?

Some beginners make the mistake of trying to make their form flow.
This is absurd.
It always (without exception) leads to disconnected movement.


Starting form

Beginners focus upon the pattern, the outline of form.
This is hard enough to learn.
Where to face, how and where to put the feet, what the hands are doing...

But this is not really form. It is a vague, sketchy shell.


Finding out for yourself

Figuring things out for yourself is an important component in learning.
An intelligent mind does not have to be 'told'.

You should have the capacity to make connections and associations, have insights and discover things for yourself.


Girls don't lose out

External martial arts such as karate, ju jitsu, wing chun or kickboxing are all about strength and speed.
Strength is pitched against strength and the stronger, faster person usually wins.
This means that women often lose out.

Tai chi was designed to be a soft martial art. Strength is circumvented. They rely upon sensitivity and gravity rather than brute force.

Our classes ensure that you know what 'self defence' means and how to use your body effectively in difficult situations featuring multiple opponents (and ultimately armed attackers).

We will not patronise women in our school.
If you are not pulling your tai chi together, we will tell you.


Self defence

Our school aims to address self defence without resorting to undue violence.
Violence against violence can lead to further escalation.
We simply desire to evade conflict and escape unharmed.

There is no ego involved, no desire to win or claim a trophy.
We learn how to incapacitate the attacker smoothly and easily. Then we walk away.



Neigong (internal power) will make your body strong without the need to exert yourself.
Mild, regular exercise is what we advocate.
Little and often.

With commitment and patience you will find that your fitness level improves massively and you learn how to use your body in a more powerful way.


More harm than good?

It is widely-known that martial arts schools can have a positive effect upon the lives of young people.
However, some martial arts practice can lead to long-term injuries.

Sifu Waller's wife Rachel studied tae kwon do as a child and gained her black belt in her early teens.
She now has clicking joints.

Training involving locked joints, weights and high impact can be harmful to a young body.



The self defence approach taught by Sifu Waller aims to incapacitate the attacker.
We are not interested in 'beating' anyone up or winning contests.
Self defence is all about escaping injury, not causing it.

If you can escape without inflicting pain, that is good. You have nothing to prove to anyone.
Self defence is not about payback or vengeance.


Over 40?

When training in the martial arts, you need to take your age into account.
It is a major factor.
If you are 40, it is unwise to undertake a system that relies upon strength, speed and fitness.

Tai chi favours the older student.
The subtle skills of the art require a mature, disciplined, patient mind.
You focus upon physics, the application of pressure, sensitivity, rhythm, timing, balance and intention.

Instead of wearing yourself out, you feel energised, relaxed and confident.
You have a low risk of injury in tai chi, although bumps and bruises will occur in a self defence class.


My tai chi class isn't that expensive...

Most tai chi classes are not combat-oriented.
They offer what is essentially a keep-fit session.

Martial arts practice is not the same as tai chi for health & fitness exercises.



Beyond the high-minded values of bygone days there is a simplicity at the root of respectability.
It is called the 'golden mean'.

The Greeks are credited with the articulation of the golden mean; although taoism, Buddhism and Christianity teach this too.
It was the middle way between the extremes of deficiency and excess.

The rule is simple: if you want to be respectable, treat others with respect.



Respectability has nothing to do with wealth.
It is about the quality of your interaction with those around you.
Treating other people with courtesy and consideration; being well-mannered and even-tempered are all indications of respectability - providing you are genuine.

Integrity and fairness, generosity and modesty; these are more respectable than having a well-paid job and a large car.

Tai chi chuan exponents

You may encounter many different people in a tai chi school.
The martial path has 6 tiers:
  1. Student
  2. Lineage disciple
  3. Instructor
  4. Expert
  5. Master
  6. Grandmaster
Every practitioner begins at the first level.
Levels 2-6 require a much deeper degree of commitment and practice, and will not suit most people's lifestyle.
It may be useful to determine what level an instructor has reached.



I have trained with many instructors including yourself where I know that I want what they have (Peter Young, Chris Chappel, Master Ma, Mikhail Ryabyko, Wai Lum Choi, Alex Kozma, etc).

However, you have a training method that works and have students with real abilities.
This is very rare in the internal arts.
Thanks again.




Life presents us with countless situations that test our mettle.
We have the opportunity to behave in a variety of different ways and make a whole range of choices.
How and what we do stem from who we are.

Our actions reflect what sort of person we are.


Seeing the now

Imagine measuring the length of the UK coastline...

We use a mile-long ruler. The initial measurement is 7000 miles approximately.
However, the length of the ruler meant that a lot of the detail was missed.
So, we decide to use a smaller one.

We use a foot-long ruler. Now the coast is 7760 miles long.
By including the details, the in-between bits, the measurement has increased.

Clearly, if we used an inch-long ruler, the length would increase still further.

Can you see the point? The closer you look, the more detail you find.
Lao Tzu said that you can know the whole world without ever leaving your room.
If you want to truly come to terms with your tai chi, cease form collecting, cease striving and competing.
Searching far for what what you already have is futile.

Look at what is right in front of you. But do not force it. Be passive. Let the information come to you. See it.