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.