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.


Forgive yourself

We usually have a significant part to play in every relationship and situation we encounter in life.
Sometimes we make good decisions.
Other times we make bad choices

This is part of what it means to be human.
Don't beat yourself up.
Recognise your own humanity, your imperfect flawed, natural self.
Then move on... 


Independent or interdependent?

There are some fundamental differences of culture between East and West.

In the West, the independence of the self is prized as a commodity - resulting in a variety of social manifestations.
In the East, interdependence is emphasised: harmony, working with, working together and being part of something beyond the self.

American proverb: “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.”

Japanese proverb: “The nail that stands out gets pounded down.”

 (Jeanne Tsai)

 It would be naive to romanticise this, but clear differences of attitude do exist.

 The experience of tai chi chuan in self defence follows the latter course, not the former. Despite this, individual expression is necessary - to avoid unpredictability and to make the art your own.



Once upon a time there was a Chinese farmer who lost a horse; it ran away.
 All his neighbours came around that evening and said, "That's too bad."
 And he said, "Maybe."
 The next day the horse came back and brought seven wild horses with it,
 and all the neighbours came around and said, "Isn't that great?"
 And he replied, "Maybe."
 The next day his son was attempting to tame one of the horses and was thrown from it and broke his leg, and all the neighbours came around and said, "Well, that's just too bad isn't it?"
 And the farmer said, "Maybe."
 The next day the conscription officers came around looking for people for the army,
 and they rejected his son because he had a broken leg.
 All the neighbours came around in the evening and said, "Isn't that wonderful?"
 And he said, "Maybe."

 (Alan Watts)



It is tempting to think that we always behave correctly and always handle things well.
In reality, we do not.
We make decisions all the time that seem fine, but later have potentially negative outcomes or unforeseen side-effects.

All relationships have two sides.
Are you being honest about your actions?
How did your actions affect others?

This does not mean that you are to blame, any more than it means that you are blameless.


Helping your diet

You can do many things to assist your diet:
  1. Set yourself a 100 day challenge
    - allow time for the diet to work
  2. Weigh yourself once a week
    - record your weight
    - avoid daily weighing: it can be demoralising
  3. Treats are bad
    - giving yourself a treat may lead to failure
    - if you are addicted to adverse chemicals, then do not expose yourself to them
  4. Find out the recommended daily intake
    - salt, sugar, fat
    - you need to eat less than the recommended daily intake in order to lose weight
  5. If you are failing to lose weight, cut down the carbohydrates
    - low carbohydrate diets are often very successful
  6. Put blinkers on when shopping
    - order an organic vegetable box
    - make supermarket shopping surgical: ignore anything that does not aid your diet
  7. Clear out the cupboards
    - go through your cupboards ruthlessly and get rid of anything unhealthy
  8. Visualise the future
    - how will you look?
    - how will you feel about yourself?
    - how much healthier will you be?
  9. Practice your tai chi chuan every day at home for an hour a day
  10. Cycle or walk as often as you can

  11. Not getting anywhere?
    - see a dietician



Tai chi for health & fitness students can decide whether or not they want to grade.
· Grading entails passing belts and working through the syllabus in a systematic way.
· Not-grading involves simply attending lessons and receiving a balanced workout once a week.