Black belt does not mean 'instructor'

Gaining a black belt does not mean that you are ready to teach. Not at all.
There are 10 dan belts to pass in our syllabus.

Being an instructor is altogether different to simply attending classes. Not every black belt student is capable of being an instructor.



Various sport activities emphasize strength, endurance and speed. Development of muscle control rather than skeletal balance takes precedence. Gaining speed at the expense of mounting tension, is too often the goal.

(Liz Koch)



One of things that characterize the most mentally healthy among us is their great taste for mystery and their profound curiosity.
  (M Scott Peck)


How can I become an instructor?

We welcome anyone who wants to become a tai chi instructor.

You need to be an excellent communicator and to be genuinely interested in other people and their wellbeing.


Begin well

Look at the requirements for each belt and work towards gaining those skills.
Become responsible for your own progress.
What do you need to do to make it happen?

Set realistic learning goals, such as acquiring one new movement, exercise or skill each week.
Make sure that you are diligent.
But be careful not to force yourself.

Determine how much time each day you can manage to train.
Be realistic.

Aim to read a webpage, a page from a tai chi book each day.
Get into new habits of learning.


Mindful behaviour

Mindful behaviour is considerate.
It is not phoney or contrived; it involves taking responsibility for your own conduct and being sensitive to the consequences of your actions.
This is accomplished through intuition rather than planning or psychology. 
Total immersion in the moment enables a person to act without thinking, to move without hesitation and to choose without seeming to.

To be mindful, your attention must cease to be directed upon yourself.
It must face outward and feel the nature of your relationship with everything else.
You move as one with those around you; there is no division between you and another.


Last night @ Hatton Gallery

We met some really nice, friendly, enthusiastic people at Hatton Gallery last night.
People came and trained with us for as long as they wanted.

All manner of skills were introduced at a basic level.

Marc and Andy did a great job helping out.


Hatton Gallery - Saturday 19 May only, 7 - 11pm

Slow down and relax!

Take a moment from the bustle of The Late Shows and chill out at the Hatton Gallery.

Help to create an origami installation, watch a slow-motion dance performance evolve during the evening, have a go at tai chi, or enjoy a few healthy drinks from the Thérapy Bar.


Tai chi tasters @ Hatton Gallery

The Hatton Gallery in Newcastle are offering an event on the evening of 19th May as part of the Late Shows 2012 (

The Late Shows take place across a series of venues, and the idea is that people spend around 20 minutes at each venue before moving on to the next. The theme, in contrast to the Olympics, is 'As Slow as Possible'.

The Hatton Gallery plan to include a slow motion dance performance, an origami artist, and a tai chi demonstration.

10 minute tai chi taster sessions available: 7:30 - 10:30 PM.



Advanced level practice signifies the completion of the external to internal journey, but not the end of the training itself.
There may be no new forms, exercises or drills to learn, but the process of learning does continue.

The tai chi now looks far less obvious. Everything is subtle and understated.


Expert (higher dan)

An expert must work through 3 dan belts with the aim of internalising their tai chi.
These difficult grades require an immense amount of practice, culminating in the student passing the 10,000 hours of practice threshold.
Only after 10,000 hours can the student potentially lay claim to being an 'expert'.
Again, there are no shortcuts.

Now, the body should be integrated, flowing, and be moving in accord with the internal principles at all times.


Experienced (lower dan)

The first 3 black belt belts require the student to show a developing degree of internal progress.
New forms are learned, along with applications and more in-depth principles.
Neigong is now explored deliberately and consciously.

The student is still largely external at this stage but is making notable inroads towards the internal



The 10 coloured belts are primarily concerned with starting the journey from external to internal.
Students are usually very external in their attitudes and body use.

Rare moments of internal skill may emerge as their practice continues, but no beginner can claim to possess a comprehensive grasp of the internal at this stage in their learning


Collecting forms

Form collecting is a modern habit which arises when a student is unwilling to commit the necessary practice and patience to mastering one style of tai chi.
In short, the student gets bored.

A form is a complete record and repository of the system.
It contains every strategy, skill, movement required to gain a good sense of the art.



Some schools stylise the form in order to aid learning.
Unfortunately, this can lead to long-term mistakes and misconceptions.

We do not stylise any form movements.


Slow down

It is necessary to slow down in order to see what is happening in our lives, with our bodies, with our thoughts.
Many of the tai chi chuan exercises are performed slowly in order to increase awareness.
We learn to notice the hidden, the small, the subtle.