Keep to yourself

Instead of seeking attention, consider how to accomplish the opposite.
Be understated and subtle, outwardly boring and unremarkable.
Do not invite interest.

If you are dull, then nobody will notice you or care.



A mystic is a person  who seeks by contemplation and self-surrender to obtain unity with or absorption into the absolute.

It is someone who believes in the spiritual apprehension of truths that are beyond the intellect.


Small san sau: solo

Practicing solo is a must.
Use a door frame for positioning.
A mirror may also be used but is less useful.

Aim for accuracy of posture and positioning.
Make sure that every single movement is structurally correct.
What is your target?
Can you reach the target?
How are you generating power?

Train slowly and thoroughly to avoid making mistakes.


20 years master/disciple relationship

For 20 years Master Waller was the disciple of kung fu master Peter Southwood. 
The bai shi ceremony and tea ceremony took place in 1990.
Master Waller had more than 500 private lessons with Peter and taught in Peter's class (Bradford Yang Style Tai Chi Association) for a number of years.

As a regular guest at Peter's house, Master Waller explored the art(s) at length and had countless debates/discussions/conversations concerning the nature of the internal arts.
Much of our syllabus is derived from Peter's teachings.

Hard work

Learning a martial art is very hard work.
It entails considerable diligence, personal responsibility, time, money, effort.
So, there is no surprise.

Very few people become skilled with any martial art.

Most people paddle in the shallow end of the syllabus, utterly unaware of the depths of the art.
They lack the level of self-discipline, faith, tenacity and commitment necessary.
The student quits before they have even started.
This is no surprise. It is normal, average, and to be expected.


Work, family, leaving the area

There are many good reasons why a student leaves a class.
Legitimate reasons.

Earning a living is paramount in modern culture.
Raising a family may entail a shift in priorities.
Leaving the area speaks for itself.

It is important to explain to your teacher why you are leaving.
But avoid making excuses.


Promoting unwanted tension

If you bring a horizontal wrist in front of the chest, whether facing out, up or down... you will feel immediate tension in the shoulders, chest and back.
The arm muscles will also tighten.

Students who lack good body awareness and physical sensitivity seldom realise that their faulty hand position is making their upper body tense.

Look at the human skeleton: the arms hang at the sides of the body.
Bringing your hand to the front occurs by bending the elbow joint and rotating using the radius bone.
The wrist is vertical/diagonal and the action is linked to the waist, taking place on the horizontal plane.

The horizontal wrist position must be explored thoroughly in order to find and maintain peng, and avoid tension.


Hug a tree

Bringing your hands in front of the body necessitates rounding the arms:
  1. Palms facing towards the body (vertical/diagonal wrist)
    - can be closer
    - find your 70% point
  2. Palms away (vertical/diagonal wrist)
    - require further extension
    - find your 70% point

Feel how the degree of extension and the palm position affects the elbow joint.

If you do not maintain 70% reach, your joint will buckle and that will cause you to tense-up or collapse.
We want the joint to stay open and springy.

Business address

Newcastle Tai Chi
St Andrew's Church
Station Road
NE12 8AW
0750 3604568



Deception is a major theme in The Art of War.
It encourages the martial artist to avoid being showy and obvious in all facets of life.

If strong, appear weak. If capable, appear inept.
Encourage over-confidence and provoke carelessness.

Teaching experience

Sifu Waller has considerable experience teaching tai chi chuan:
  1. Dynamic Balancing Boxing (1999 -2004)
  2. Age Concern North Tyneside (2004 - 2008)
  3. Age Concern Newcastle (2004 - 2011)
  4. Newcastle Tai Chi (2004 - present day)

The Book of The Heart


When do we teach?

Beginners class is Monday 7:00 - 8:30 PM @ Community Hall, St Andrew's Church, Station Road, Benton, NE12 8AW



(i) Welcome

Just turn-up and join-in. There is no need to e-mail or phone in advance.

(ii) Experience

Prior experience is neither expected nor required.
All new starters are treated as
beginners, irrespective of experience.

No spectators

We do not allow spectators.
It is off-putting for students who are training.

(iv) Confusing?

Please note that lessons may seem confusing at first and it could take a few weeks to find your feet.


Delivering jing

You cannot skilfully employ jing if you use too much pressure.
It will only lead to failure and potentially injury.

When resistance is encountered, stop when 4 ounces of pressure is reached.
Too light and you are not sticky.
Too much and you are pushing an inanimate object. And that is not taijiquan.

Understanding 4 ounces will enable you to strike without harming your own body.


Heavy curtain

Pushing a student should be akin to pushing a heavy curtain.
The palm is absorbed and the fabric gives as the force moves the curtain.

The curtain does not anticipate the push.
It is moved by the push, riding the wave of force: connected, sensitive and sticky.

Yielding to a push trains the student not to resist force.

This becomes more relevant when somebody punches you.
If your body does not move when struck, the impact will shock your body and the kinetic energy will channel inside you.


Puppet strings

Visualise strings attached to your head, wrists, knees and feet.
For the moment, be concerned with the head and the wrists... think of being suspended from these points.
Let everything else drape.

Relax the sternum. The lower back. The hip kwa. The back of the knees.

When performing your taijiquan - solo or partnered - maintain this idea of being suspended by strings.
Your arms must feel to float.

Do not confuse this with unfocussed, random movement.
Adhere strictly to the framework requirements, but sustain the buoyant, heavy feeling in the elbows, shoulders, chest and legs.


Tense a bit, relax a bit...

Many beginners resist yielding.
Fear encourages them to persist with tension.
As a consequence, their training remains external and is not taijiquan.

Internal and external do not blend together to produce taijiquan.
The two paths are mutually exclusive.
Whenever you mix internal and external approaches, the outcome is always essentially external.



You cannot continue to use contracted muscle tension and hope to access the skills of taijiquan.
Taijiquan does not involve tensing the muscles.

Tensing your muscles is disconnected.
Only by relaxing, lengthening and relaxing can you connect the body parts together.


Soft meeting

Taijiquan cannot work if you resist force with force. Yang (firm) must encounter yin (soft) in order for balance.

This is not just philosophical, it has a basis in reality and can be illustrated in the class.
Soft meeting is sometimes called 'blending'.

The more strength you use in your taijiquan the longer it will take you to learn the system properly.


Cotton-covered iron

Internal power is commonly referred to as being "cotton-covered iron".
The metaphor suggests a firm centre, surrounded by something softer.
This is the essence of what we are developing in taijiquan.

Using gravity and connection, we build a substantial structure. That structure must also be fluid and adaptive like water. Nothing is softer than water.



Appropriate attire

It is important to wear clothes for class that allow you freedom of movement:

1. flat shoes/training shoes
2. plain T-shirt
3. loose, comfortable trousers


Casual student

Casual students are welcome to attend as often or as little as they like.
They are only required to pay for tuition.
Students who attend casually receive a balanced workout each session but they do not work through the syllabus.

Casual students are guests in our school, but they are not class members...


What play means to you

Can you see the danger here?

If you think that play refers to an opportunity to behave an irresponsible, carefree, childish manner... then you have got the wrong idea about taijiquan.
Play is about immersion in the event itself.

Students who want to talk rather than train (or dance around and act foolishly) are not in earnest.
They are not focused at all.
An inexperienced student cannot talk and train competently at the same time. If they are talking, then they are talking. They are not training taijiquan.