How we treat others says an awful lot about the sort of person we are.

Humanity has a history of
abhorrent behaviour towards everything. We have killed, damaged and neglected without discrimination.

Has there ever been a single year in recorded human history without war?

planet, animals and people suffer.

Third World?

The term 'Third World' is a disgusting attempt to distance Western culture from poverty and despair.
People are
people, irrespective of where they were born.
In a world that has so much
wealth, so much excess and waste - no one should go without food or shelter.

There is only one world.



Many people in the West buy what they want when they want it (within reason).
They overeat, overindulge and worry about losing weight.
Greed is at the root of this.
'Wanting' and 'needing' are not the same thing at all.

Obesity is on the rise in the West, whilst the 'Third World' goes hungry.



Treat someone well. Really help them out. Make them have hope again.

But do not stick around for thanks. Leave the person wondering why you did it but grateful that you did.
Smile and walk away.
A man came to Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to have eternal life?"

Jesus replied, "Go sell everything you own and give the money to the poor."

(Matthew 19)



Without hope, humanity is lost.
We have done so much harm to the world and one another, and so many people suffer each day.

Hope is the motivation that causes a people to act in service of another.
Maybe we can improve things, perhaps all is not lost, there might be enough time left?
The smallest action can have unexpected consequences.

Hope should not be squandered on trivialities: football scores and soap opera plots do not affect the lives of other people.
Pinning your hopes on fantasy, conflict and greed will only cause you harm.

If you have some hope, inspire those in need, those who doubt, those who struggle.
There was once a man and he had two sons.
And to the first son he said, "Go and work in the vineyard."
And the son said, "No."
But afterwards he thought better of it and he went.

Now the man said exactly the same thing to his second son, who said, "Certainly."
But he didn't go.

Now which of the two boys did his father's will?

And what is the meaning of this story?
That there are those who think they are righteous because they say "Yes" to God
but they do not do his will.
(Jesus of Nazareth)



If you give rather than take, you may find that life changes.
You no longer want to be
served, but to serve.

You measure your life by the contribution you make to others, by the quality of your service.

Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.

(Horace Mann)

Horace Mann was not talking about success, trophies or medals, but real things: caring, love, understanding, consideration and inspiration.
For I was hungry, and you gave me food.
I was thirsty, and you gave me drink.
I was a stranger, and you made me welcome.
I was naked, and you clothed me.
Sick, and you visited me.
In prison, and you came to see me.

You may ask: when did we do this to you?
Whosoever does this to the least of my brethren, he does it to me.

(Jesus of Nazareth)



'Samurai' means to serve.

It does not mean
warrior - it has nothing to do with combat. A samurai is a person who lives for more than himself.
How many people do this in today's culture? How many martial artists serve anyone else?

In contemporary society it has become fashionable to serve only yourself.
Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth.
I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother.
A man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.

(Jesus of Nazareth)


Have a heart...


Whether you are a Christian or not, the teachings of Jesus have profoundly affected the world and how we see it.
Our value system, morals and culture have grown from the influence of his teachings.

Humanity has sadly fallen seriously short of realising the heart of his message.



Spirituality refers to the journey of self discovery.
It is concerned with the values and meanings by which people live.

Spiritual practices may include meditation, prayer and contemplation.
These are intended to develop an individual's inner life.
Such practices often lead to an experience of connectedness with a larger reality, yielding a more comprehensive self; with other individuals or the human community.



Peter Southwood once told this story:

An archer happened to be watching an oil seller one day and noted how the oil seller could pour oil from the ladle into a thin-stemmed vase without spilling a drop. This was a stunning feat of accuracy and balance. The archer quizzed the oil seller about it, so the oil seller placed a coin on top of a vase and proceeded to pour oil through the square hole in the centre of the coin. The archer was amazed and wanted to know the secret of this skill. The oil seller could not explain or teach his ability; he just put it down to practice.

The archer spent many years in training and gained a reputation for being a master archer. No one could match his skill. Then one day he retired into the wilderness and never returned.

Some years later, a group of archers came across the master archer living as a hermit in the woods. They were surprised to find that the master no longer used his bow. The archer explained that he no longer needed it. Archery was simply a tool. It had served to point him in the direction of the way. When he no longer needed it, he put it aside.

We must treat the
taijiquan this way. It is the means, not the end.


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.



When a beginner starts class, we offer various exercises designed to explore the nature of internal power.
Students consider connection, sinking and rooting, along with the other qualities.

One of the exercises involves testing the innate stability of their posture.

Inevitably, the student does not really 'get it'.
When their posture is tested, they tense-up, they claw their toes, they fight back, they adjust.
This defeats the point of the exercise.

We are testing 'innate' strength, not how well a person can react, adjust, retaliate...


Gift vouchers

We issue gift vouchers for various amounts:

• Two beginners class lessons @ £15
• Four beginners class lessons @ £30
• Joining fee @ £40*

They are valid for 12 months.


  * 25% off the joining fee until end of February 2013. Winter joining fee is £30.


Heavy feet

Some people walk with an impossibly heavy step.
They slam their weight down with some gusto; making every step loud.
This strange practice is extremely bad for the body and harms the joints.

Oddly enough, most of the people who do this are small in stature.



The world is not fair.
People are not given equal opportunity in life.

Did you have any say as to where you were born?
How you were raised?
How well you were nurtured, supported, financed or educated?

Some things in life are simply beyond our control.



It is common for athletes to over-develop their bodies in order to perform their given activity. The side-effect is often chronic muscle tension.

(i) Female athletes

Many female athletes re-shape their bodies to suit their chosen sport.
A ballet dancer trains a body that suits the feminine aesthetic standards of ballet.
Runners, rowers and gymnasts produce an end product is virtually indistinguishable from that of a man.

(ii) Martial artists who undertake body building

Body building can distort the human skeleton and impede the smooth movement of the joints.
Martial arts students who undertake body building often find themselves locked into a hunched-over fighting stance.

This may indeed help them in their given art, but is redundant when eating dinner, watching TV or speaking to someone in a shop or at work.


Equal opportunity

Although many things in life aim to offer equal opportunity, this is seldom accomplished in practice.

Consider: a job is advertised and you apply for it.
Your CV, cover letter, presentation, appearance, interview skills and abilities are entirely suited to the job.
Does this mean that you will get it?
There may be a preferred candidate.
Somebody interviewing you may simply not like the look of you, or you may not be who they had in mind.
Another candidate might offer better skills than you.

Unfortunately, many things in life are down to luck. You take a risk, a chance
. There are no guarantees...


Nothing beats practice

Practice what you were shown. Get good at it.
 If the quality is good, you will be shown more.
If you demonstrate an attitude of consistent, ongoing improvement, you will taught relative to the ability you demonstrate.

Master Waller does not play favourites.
He helps those who struggle and challenges those who are gifted.


Martial arts uniform

A new starter in any martial art loathes wearing a new-looking suit because its new appearance echoes their own inexperience.
They seek to make the outfit look worn-in and used.

If an instructor wore a new uniform, the uniform would look fine.
It's not the uniform that is the issue, it's the individual.
An instructor carries themselves in a particular way - irrespective of attire - and a new starter can't emulate this.



The anthropologist Desmond Morris observed how men in the early part of the 20th Century carried themselves in a very stiff, upright manner.
Steps were brisk and sharp.

By contrast, men in the later part of the 20th Century adopted the rolling gait of the saddle-sore cowboy.
The popularity of cowboy films during the 1950's and 1960's led to a widespread mimicry of the exaggerated machismo exuded on-screen by cowboy actors.


Fast-track targets

Setting yourself targets is worthwhile but not for everyone. Realistic learning goals can help a fast-track student focus their training.

Look at your progress page and determine what you need to work on and get through it.
Ask for tuition in class, attend the relevant workshops, read the appropriate books or web pages.

But do not be silly. Everyone has limits.
Your mind may want a black belt in 4 years, but maybe your body lacks the coordination or you have not set the necessary time aside.
Be patient.
Be realistic.

Do what feels right for you...



Students often comment that they lack the willpower to train hard. This is a misconception.

(i) Work

You go to work in order to earn money. If you could earn money without going to work, you would.
So, the act of going to work (for many people) is reluctant.
This requires willpower.
You recognise that work pays for your food, shelter, belongings and quality of life.
Therefore you have self-discipline: you acknowledge the purpose of going to work and you go.

Tai chi training is not like this.

(ii) Enjoyment

If you enjoy doing something, and have a genuine enthusiasm for it, you do not need to be persuaded.
You do not need self-discipline.
Does a thirsty man need to be persuaded to drink water?

(iii) Your idea of what training constitutes

If you see tai chi training as being akin to the gym, you are still a novice.
There is no strain, no forcing involved in tai chi.
The exercises are not strenuous or painful.

Weight training, cycling, swimming or any other sport - they drain your energy.

(iv) Internal training

Qigong, tai chi and baguazhang are not easy, but instead of tiring you out, they have the opposite effect.
Your body feels nimble, agile, relaxed and comfortable.
Your skeleton is not distorted by body building and your system is not addicted to endorphins.

The exercises sharpen the mind, increase acuity and calmness. The nerves are smooth and the emotions settled.



The ideal is to make as much progress as you can whilst your youth, lifestyle and family situation offer this opportunity.
Typically speaking, the older you get, the slower your progress will be.
This is to be expected.

A 40 year old may have the patience and the life experience to appreciate tai chi but a 20 year old has the drive and the stamina to pass the belts.
As people age, they struggle to learn and they struggle to change.

Run in your youth. Walk in middle age.


If you can, do...

The beginner and intermediate grades lay the foundation for the art.
It is prudent to work hard to get through these grades.
They teach the forms, the weapons and the skills.

The deeper you penetrate the syllabus, the more powerful your skills will be.
If you can run, do not simply walk.


What's the rush?

Every student is expected to proceed at their own pace.
We accommodate all ability levels.

However, if you possess the skill and the inclination to practice, then why dawdle?


Don't ask

Asking to be treated as a fast-track student is pointless. Master Waller has no interesting in hearing your proposals. He wants results.
In other words: 'put your money where your mouth is'.

If you believe yourself to be a fast-track student, then act like one. Lofty ambitions require work.
Prove yourself.


How do I qualify as a fast-track student?

Qualification is straightforward:
  1. Pass the 3 beginners belts quickly
  2. Attend as many Tuesday classes as you can
  3. Attend as many class workshops as you can
  4. Complete questionnaires punctually
  5. Complete assignments punctually


Can I become a fast-track student?

Master Waller welcomes any student who wants to be treated as a fast-track student.



New starters @ £7.50

We offer two beginners classes in Newcastle:
Doors open at 6:45 PM

If you want to try the class, there is no need to e-mail in advance.
Just come along.

We welcome adults of all ages.
Prior experience is not expected. New starters are treated as beginners.


Actual food

Humans were never meant to eat packet products saturated with additives, flavouring, preservatives, sugar and salt.
These unnecessary chemicals harm the body.

Is a chocolate bar food?
Does it have any nutritional value whatsoever?

Eat real food; rather than processed or artificial products.
If the food did not come off a tree, a field or out of the ground, you may want to reconsider eating it.

The consumption of meat has been associated with many health problems, so try going without.
The term 'meat' includes poultry and fish.


Fit to use

Master Waller believes that the weapon must be appropriate and suitable for the student.
Sticks are always sawn to fit the users height.
Swords must be manageable in weight and of a correct length.

If the weapon is not right for the user, there is a risk of injury.



Connection is literally the process of uniting body parts.
It is the most basic and simplistic concern.
Instead of moving your arms via the shoulder or relying upon local muscle strength, you 'connect' the arms to the back and move via the torso and legs instead. Maintaining connection when performing different tasks is a major undertaking for the new student.
It is not enough to do a movement.
You must move in a whole-body manner.

The hardest part of this requirement is to remain relaxed but not floppy, flaccid or crumpled.



People often confuse the image with the reality.
A person feels afraid and works hard to project an outwardly tough persona.
They shave their head, lift weights, get a tattoo and strut.

This pantomime remains unconvincing.
Nobody is fooled.
Not even the fearful individual.

Fear is something you learn to live with. It cannot be glossed over with a 'macho man' image.


Why bother?

Imagine that you have a large amount of work to do and you give it to 1 member of staff...
Now, consider sharing that same amount of work amongst 100 members of staff?
Instead of 1 staff member working extra hard to do the job, 100 people are working together.
The job will be done more quickly and each individual has less of the overall responsibility for completing the job.

Conventional muscle use involves a limited number of muscles being assigned to a given task.

Whole-body power entails all of your muscles being used together.
Consequently, the task feels less strenuous and is more easily fulfilled.



Brian is studying taijiquan.

1. When did you start Newcastle Tai Chi?

I started the class as far as I am aware in 2005.

2. How old are you (approx)?

I’m 38 years old.

3. Why Newcastle Tai Chi?

Well to be honest I lived in Wallsend and was looking for a tai chi class local to give a go and this one sounded the best.

4. What is good about the school?

The school has a friendly approach to the art and let’s people take things as slow or as fast as they would like. Whether that is for health reasons or to learn taijiquan.
Master Waller’s skills are immense and it is a privilege to be taught at such a high level.

5. Has it affected your day-to-day life?

It has certainly affected my way of life physically and psychologically. I had suffered from a hip problem for years and it hasn’t bothered me for years now. I believe this is because I have trained my posture correctly through the exercises taught by Master Waller.
Also I see the world differently now, a lot calmer and relaxed...

6. Do you study taijiquan with the school? (if yes, what do you think of it?)

The taijiquan training is intense and not for everybody but if you put the time in you will quickly become skilled in an art that is an extremely effective self defence mechanism.


Neigong is concerned with whole-body movement.
This is distinct to how most people normally move in that every body part should be involved in every movement.
Accomplishing this is not easy.

As a child you possessed whole-body movement, but as an adult you have lost it from a lifetime of bodily misuse and bad habits.


Neigong qualities

Having gained a crude sense of connection, a student may feel like a robot.
This is not correct.

The aim is to move freely, comfortably - in an agile, supple, flowing way - without ever losing connection.
How is this accomplished?
By incorporating subtle yet sophisticated concerns into how you move.

These neigong qualities serve to unite the body in a manner that is not awkward or clumsy.

The body mechanics of the internal martial arts are significantly more sophisticated than those of the external martial arts. 

(Bruce Frantzis)


Constant correction, revision and progress

Refinement is ongoing.
There are no plateaus or stopping points.
Students are challenged every lesson to hone their existing material and learn new skills.

Regular challenges aid the student in recognising the worth of what they have learned.


Refinement of character

In traditional Chinese culture, tai chi chuan was seen as a means for refining character.
It enabled the individual to balance all aspects of their being.

The challenge of learning tai chi removes conflict, macho urges and aggression.
A student learns how to move in a graceful, balanced, harmonious way and maintain composure at all times.


Technical skill

Technical skill can refer to the accuracy of your form, the refinement of your combat drills and the study (and incorporation) of neigong qualities.
However, there is more...

'Technical skill' also refers to specific combat insights/tactical skills that require considerable training and practice to master.
These are not taught in the beginners class.
A beginner focuses only on the basic pattern/outline.


John passed Blue belt (part 2)

Since April this year, John has passed 6 belts.


Martial sets and form application represent the first steps toward a refinement of the more abstract-seeming taoist and tai chi principles.
They offer a degree specificity without narrowing the scope.
The syllabus eventually dismantles every martial set and form application, increasing the potential once again.

We must continually take the abstract and consider specific applications, and then return again to the abstract.


Martial sets

Every martial set and partnered drill is taught in the same 5 stage way as form: the student moves from coarse to refined as their practice and skill develops.
The key to progress lies in awareness.

A beginner may feel that a set is comfortable and familiar.
This is fine initially.
But, as the student becomes more adept, they will realise that the pattern is not entirely correct.

New starters @ £7.50

We offer two beginners classes in Newcastle:
Doors open at 6:45 PM

If you want to try the class, there is no need to e-mail in advance.
Just come along.

We welcome adults of all ages.
Prior experience is not expected. New starters are treated as beginners.



A new class can be a confusing, intimidating experience.
You quickly realise that you know nothing about tai chi, or about the syllabus ahead of you.
Recognising this brings a sense of relief.
There is no need to 'get a handle on things'.

Relax and go with the flow.
Get used to being in class.
Pretty soon, the unfamiliar becomes familiar, the preliminary skills are comfortable and you are making steady progress through the syllabus.


A beginner only learns one form: the Yang Cheng Fu slow form.
It takes 10 belts worth of practice to achieve a reasonable reproduction of the form.
But it is still riddled with faults.

The 6 experienced belts teach one new form per belt, along with a wide range of additional material.
These new forms draw principles and postures from the initial form and enrich the practice.

In terms of the Yang Cheng Fu form, the intermediate focus is primarily upon understanding the meaning of the postures.
The student must apply every posture martially.



Having watched movies, YouTube, the news or read things... new students often have certain notions concerning combat.
They want to know how to deal with multiple opponents, with knives, with this or that scenario.

This is to be expected.

In truth, most new starters have trouble standing or moving in a balanced manner.
Their bodily awareness is poor and their nervous system dysfunctional.
A lifetime of bad habits stand in the way of progress.

There are 3 beginners belts.
These focus on unlearning bad habits, using the body in a more healthy, effective way and becoming composed.
At this level of ability, combat is irrelevant.
There are more immediate matters to attend to.

Actual combat is reserved for intermediate-level students and beyond.

Refining the pattern

Once the pattern has been crudely memorised, the student cannot consider it 'completed' or 'learned'.
This is simply too naive.

Working through the 5 stages will drastically change the pattern.
The sequence of postures (moving patterns) will not change, but the way in which they are performed will continue to change for as long as you train tai chi.
Do not stagnate.

If you videotaped your form during your early weeks of practice, and then filmed it again periodically you should see significant changes occurring over time.
Over the course of many years the form will evolve.
If this does not happen... you are not making any progress at all.


Structured learning

Students who seek to learn tai chi earnestly join the school.
As a school member they are taken through a highly structured syllabus that has clear learning goals.
Their progress is closely monitored by the instructor.

Something new is taught each and every lesson.
Regular assessments ensure that the student is constantly developing and refining their tai chi practice.


There are 5 stages to learning any form:
  1. The pattern
  2. Internal strength
  3. Application
  4. Shen
  5. Natural
With the advent of tai chi sport forms emanating from modern China, many modern practitioners never proceed past stage 1.
Indeed, few people even realise that there is more to form than the outward show.

The sad part about this is that the pattern is essentially incorrect unless augmented by the other 4 stages.


Partner work

The initial partner work is very straightforward. It addresses balance, footwork, physics and playfulness.
Students rediscover how to have fun and work sensibly and safely with other people

Partner work is important because it allows students to receive biofeedback: genuine, tangible results.
i.e. This way works and this way does not.

Column 1, 2 & 3

Students are given a qigong/neigong ticksheet when they join the school and this is used throughout their training.

Column 1 is
just about the crude pattern.
It is the outline of the exercise, with no real refinement.

Column 2 is explored in the blue belt syllabus.
his is about accurate, controlled performance and learning to incorporate neigong qualities.

Column 3 occurs in the 5th dan syllabus.
Every exercise is a whole-body movement; smooth, efficient, optimal.

This ticksheet represents a crucial yardstick for individual progress.
Only by working through the columns can the exercises be honed and ultimately understood.



People begin to learn the first tai chi form sequence.
Patience and persistence are required.
You must gently persuade your nervous system to cooperate with your intentions.

Everyone is allowed to work at their own pace.


Every qigong exercise is studied crudely at first, in order to gain simplistic coordination.
This enables the student to move the body in a gross way.

Tendons and ligaments are stretched and basic connection principles are introduced.
Significant attention is placed upon alignment, positioning, structure, balance, mobility and good body use.
Optimal usage is encouraged.
Every action should be natural, comfortable and not exaggerated.



New students are taught a simple range of qigong exercises designed to increase strength, coordination and relaxation.
The exercises are not strenuous or unduly tiring.

There is no pressure and no real expectation of progress.
You simply do what feels comfortable for you.

The onus is upon bodily awareness, biomechanics and recognising how the body is used in tai chi.


What is different about Newcastle Tai Chi?

• Professional
• Quality of tuition
• Depth of understanding
• Fully-differentiated syllabus
• Range of skills available for study
• Comprehensive martial application


Starting a class is quite a challenging experience.
You undoubtedly you have all manner of ideas and expectations...

In reality, the main concern initially is just to have an open mind. Be prepared to learn new things, and shed a great many bad habits

The pattern

Students begin by learning the 'pattern'.
This is a crude rendition of the exercise or form and serves to familiarise the student with the approximate shape of the movement.

The student is expected to practice the pattern until the movement becomes easier.
When the pattern has been remembered adequately, refinement can begin.



Students always begin large.
The arms are extended quite far from the body and the weight shifts and waist turns are large.
Sweepings arcs are necessary.

This gross stage of learning is unfortunately necessary.
Subtlety, grace and intricate nuances would be utterly wasted on the student.
Even if they could see the detail, their body has yet to possess the biomechanics required to perform the task correctly.


Bodily awareness

The cultivation of bodily awareness is paramount.
For the average student it can take a couple of years before the individual begins to recognise good and bad body use.
This is just the beginning.

Removing the old habits and acquiring new ways of standing and moving is the real challenge facing the student.
It is an ongoing concern.


Getting it right?

Students occasionally ask: "When will I get it right?" or "Is this right?" after only a few short months of training.
This may seem like a reasonable question. 

Unfortunately, the student is yet to realise that they are missing about 99% of the syllabus.
Given that there is still so much to learn, how can even the most simple exercise be correct?
Everything must be refined.
Again and again and again and again.



A new starter tends to have very tense muscles and limited flexibility in the hip and groin.
Elbows and shoulders are lifted, and the knees bent deeply instead of the hips.
The back is commonly stiff and rigid.

With this mind, the student cannot hope to be ambitious.
And yet they frequently are.
It is common for a student stumble through a form without the slightest grasp of alignment or relaxation, and then ask to learn something more challenging.
A polite response is necessary.


A false start

When a new starter begins class they bring with them all manner of baggage:
  1. Physical tension
  2. Bad habits of body use
  3. Emotional issues
  4. Preconceptions
  5. Fear
  6. Very poor bodily awareness
  7. Poor balance
  8. Poor coordination
Usually the student is completely unaware of these impediments. They engage in practice without allowing for these problems.

This situation is anticipated by the instructor and the student is taught relative to their capacity to learn.
In most cases this means that the tuition is extremely basic, with only a gross outline being offered.


Form postures

Form is the tool used by tai chi and baguazhang to teach the student how to find and practice optimal alignment.
The extensive variety of form postures challenge the student to find the best possible 'pattern of movement' for each posture.

Learn how to align yourself well throughout each and every form.
This is an activity best undertaken at home, through lengthy practice and contemplation.
In class, ask other students to pressure test your individual form postures.

Sifu hates computers

Sifu used to work in IT, and now only uses the computer to update his website or for marketing his school.
To him, a computer is a tool not a toy.

He finds computers to be twitchy, unreliable, expensive and time consuming.

You will never find him with an iPad, iPhone, Blackberry etc.

He absolutes loathes computers; they serve as a necessary evil, and are only used to promote his business.
Social networking, twitter, facebook, blogging... business use only.

Every frustrating second spent on the PC is time that could be better spent interacting with real people, training, walking outside or the million other alternatives.



The connected network of body parts must move as one unit, but not in a rigid, robotic manner.
A significant degree of play in the joints is required if you desire the ability to release energy.

Do not let the framework become a rigid cage.
Your body must act as a conduit for the the expression of kinetic energy.
Use your mind to establish groundpath.

Joining the school

If a student is seeking to learn the art more thoroughly, they need to join the school.
Joining the school costs £40 and enables the student to fully explore our in-depth tai chi syllabus.

Members of the school:

• attend regularly
• work methodically through the syllabus
• are taught, assessed and corrected frequently and consistently by the instructor



First steps

Very few people ever advance beyond the initial beginners belts, regardless of martial art.
How come?

Progress requires effort, patience, time and a commitment.
In modern society, people are reluctant to invest in acquiring any real skill.
Our culture has become facile.
It is easier to skim the surface than to commit to a lengthy, open-ended course of study and hardship.

Casual students

A casual student is a person who has not yet made a commitment to the school, or to their tai chi practice. They come and go as they please.
They are welcome guests in our school.

Drop-in/casual students receive a healthy, balanced workout every time they attend.
They explore a limited (but enjoyable) selection of material from our syllabus.

The emphasis is upon fun, stress relief and relaxation.


Put your money where your mouth is

Martial arts classes offer a degree of clarity not found in everyday life.
Your words and your deeds must become one.
If you talk big but don't practice, you will flounder against an attack.

The reality of your situation is tangible.
Theory and observation mean nothing against a punch, kick or grapple.
You can't avoid a knife by simply reading about it or watching a YouTube clip.


Come and try the class.

Taster sessions cost £7.50.



Membership serves a very simple purpose: it keeps the school open and running.

A casual student comes when they feel like it and expects the class to be there.
By contrast, a class member
ensures that the class is open by making a commitment to the school.


When I first looked at shuai jiao it was fascinating. The bio-mechanics enabled an unexpected degree of manipulation and control. At that stage I had no real sense of it's potential.

Years later, I share the same loathing and fear of shuai jiao as the other intermediate students.

With experience comes realisation; Sifu's shuai jiao is very, very serious and offers no opportunity for recovery or safety. As the attacker I'm totally at the mercy of the defender - praying that they're  friendly and considerate. Which thankfully they are!

Sifu's demonstrations of more flowing shuai jiao application are very intimidating. He finds applications within countless form movements and self defence opportunities, and employs them spontaneously: switching, combining and adapting as the need arises. His bagua shuai jiao is particularly scary!


New starters @ £7.50

We offer two beginners classes in Newcastle:
Doors open at 6:45 PM

If you want to try the class, there is no need to e-mail in advance.
Just come along.

We welcome adults of all ages.
Prior experience is not expected. New starters are treated as beginners.


Review your performance

It can be quite challenging to look at your own performance and ask whether or not is was any good.
Many students can be quite harsh on themselves and demonstrate unrealistic expectations.
Others have the impression that they are already skilled and are looking for confirmation of this.

Recognise that are no doubt making countless mistakes.
Accept this.
It is OK.

Even if the instructor were to offer a list of corrections, you may not yet be capable of addressing the points listed.
This is to be expected.
Understanding takes time.
Go easy on yourself.

You need to look at your performance in simple terms.
Note obvious errors.
Correct these as well as you can.

There is no need to be judgemental or overly critical.
You are where you are.
You are only as good as you are.


Boot camp


The purpose of a workshop is to explore one single topic for 90 minutes.
This allows for plenty of detail and a significant amount of practice.

Working in a small group enables Master Waller to offer a greater degree of detail and corrections.


Yoga & tai chi?

How do yoga and tai chi compare?

Here is a very simple way to explain the difference: in tai chi, you relax to stretch; in yoga, you stretch to relax. Tai chi emphasizes stretching through sophisticated dynamic fluid motions rather than by holding static postures. Yoga tends to use more extreme stretches than tai chi and some postures lock the joints and arch the back, which never happens in tai chi. These poses can be difficult for those with back or joint problems.

(Bruce Frantzis)



People do not like to think of themselves as being a beginner.
There are all kinds of social stigmas attached to starting anything new.
The idea of being a novice is unappealing.

However, there is no getting around the fact that every journey must start at the beginning.


Sifu's tai chi chuan applications and self defence skills are formidable, but his bagua is far, far better. His bagua is utterly unnerving for the attacker.



Why can't we teach everything in one night?

Each belt contains a lot of drills and skills. 
Regular repetition and practice is vital. 

If we taught every belt on in the regular evening class, students would not get to train the material to an adequate degree.
The basics would become sloppy and the quality would deteriorate.



The bagua session was absolutely great. Sifu explained it at a really basic level, but more to the point, it all made sense and was an amazing fit with the tai chi. I really feel it opened up a whole new way of looking at the internal arts, and am looking forward to putting it into practice. Sifu's ability to apply bagua moves is first rate, not only making it look easy, but allowing you to do it yourself during the lesson. Although I didn't want to start another martial art, I'm really glad I did.


Boot camp

We offer period boot camp training opportunities in order to push students somewhat out of their comfort zone.
Intensive training sessions cover a lot of material.

Students focus on building up internal strength and looking at a wide variety of subjects at length.

Blue John


Your expectations

Most students who study tai chi are looking for something easy.
They do not want to do the work.
This is fine.

Be honest with yourself and take from the class what you want.


Pros & cons

Every situation has its pros & cons.
Most relationships that endure over a lengthy period of time tend to have more pros than cons.
Even a job that you hate puts food on your table and a roof over your head.

When something ends, people often choose to dissect it and consider all the bad points.
They twist and turn in frustration.
This is understandable.
But what about the good things?


Exuberant play


Can the instructor perform every form at a stage 5 level?
Can they mirror every form?
Can they apply every form?

If not, why not?
Knowledge and experience must be thorough and comprehensive.
If an instructor claims to be teaching self defence, then the applications need to be very effective against a wide range of unrehearsed attacks.
Talk is cheap.



Many beginners assess their position in the syllabus from the perspective of their own inexperience and imagine themselves far more advanced than they are.

A beginner only addresses a very small percentage of the syllabus. Until they can demonstrate skill in a small range of activities, it seems naïve to keep asking for more. Imagining yourself to be skilful is merely naivety.




As part of our ongoing healthy eating we thought to try normal green tea instead of de-caff.
The theory was that it might have better health benefits, and be more potent.

Well, we had one cup and wow! it was terrible:
- headache
- tight temples
- mild palpitations
- upset stomach
- irritability

Caffeine isn't something you can tinker with.

We both felt awful (for quite a long time) after just one cup of caffeinated green tea.
Most people have caffeine-laced drinks from choice.
They seek the side-effects, the buzz etc.
This is addiction, and clearly quite unhealthy.

That was our one and only cup of caffeine.


Forgive others

Learning how to let-go of negativity and forgive others is an incredibly challenging task.
Setting aside the burden of bitterness and anger may seem unsatisfying.
Yet it will free you from the responsibility of carrying it with you for the rest of your life.

Look directly at a situation that upsets you and consider it fully.
Be honest about how it makes you feel.

Now, seek to find the good parts, and reflect upon them.
Aim to be generous and honest about how and why they were good.
Then move on... 



Some modern classes do not have grading or even a methodical syllabus.Students just turn-up and train whatever they want.
This is bizarre.
It goes against virtually every teaching model practiced in the world today; whether piano, maths, reading or a martial art.

e.g. A child starts school with rudimentary language skills and they are taught the alphabet, then spelling, grammar etc.
This process continues throughout their entire education; the layering of skill, the exploration of the nuances.
No child starting school is capable of discussing Dostoevsky with the teacher.

Learning must be incremental and progressive.
You cannot just 'pick and choose' what to learn in an internal martial arts class.

The art is way too complex to be approached haphazardly.



Eating is not a leisure activity.
We need to eat in order to survive.
What you eat directly affects your quality of life.
The term 'diet' quite literally refers to your eating habits.

Food is how we consume the chemicals required to enable our bodies to function.
Our choice of food affects the immune system, mood, nerve and muscle responses.

John has passed blue (part 1)

John has gone and passed another belt: blue (part 1). This is John's 5th belt in just over 6 months.

This is superb progress and illustrates how good attendance, home practice, watching class DVDs and doing the work really pays off.

Be inspired.



Leave all that bitterness, pettiness and bad feeling behind.
You are causing your own pain.
Close the door. 
Forget all about it.

Live free of the burden of anger.


What we teach

Our students are required to undertake an ongoing extensive course of study.
We address physical, psychological and emotional development:
  1. Change
  2. Analysis
  3. Attention
  4. Listening
  5. Mirroring
  6. Initiative
  7. Principles
  8. Creativity
  9. Reflection
  10. Meditation
  11. Adaptation
  12. Perception
  13. Composure
  14. Spontaneity
  15. Observation
  16. Perspective
  17. Improvisation
  18. Interpretation
  19. Contemplation
  20. Proprioception
  21. Spatial awareness
  22. Theory & practice
  23. Emotional awareness
  24. Breaking things down/reverse engineering
In addition to the more obvious physical training, our students are required to study the website thoroughly and select books from the reading list.

We offer quarterly questionnaires and comprehensive assignments for more experienced students.