Master Waller actively dissuades any student from becoming a lineage student.
The obligation is not for the half-hearted.

Walking in your instructor's shoes may prove to be vastly more demanding than a student has anticipated.


Chinese New Year meal 2013 @ Wagamama

Andy, Matthew

Michael, Paul, Aaron



Richard, Tishy, Martin

Michael, Paul, Aaron

Joel, Andy


Michael, Paul, Aaron, Dave, John, Brian

Richard, Tishy, Martin
Master Waller & Rachel Waller

Richard, Tishy, Martin

Broadsword form

The sabre form is about large sweeping, circular movements.
This may be considered a moderately short form.
It has a limited variety of postures and a number of repeated patterns.

The stepping is quite straightforward.
Coordinating the hands and feet, and not reaching represent the first challenge.

Any broadsword is suitable for this form, but the Yang-style sabre is the weapon of choice.


2-person cane form/drill

This is a short 2-person set of high intensity.
The furious vigour of the drill will tax the nervous system.
It requires a significant degree of composure and a sharp, clear mind; focussed on the here and now.
The cane must be navel height.
The drill must be trained A and B side, and mirrored.


Taijiquan students study

Supreme ultimate fist (taijiquan, tai chi chuan, tai chi as a martial art)
8 trigrams palm (baguazhang)
• Stretching
elf defence
Partner work
Seizing (chin na)
• Philosophy
Internal power (jing)
Energy work (qigong)
• Strength-building exercises
Whole-body strength (neigong)
Grappling (shuai jiao & pushing hands)

Everyday life

Half-heartedness and holding-back from things will perpetuate self-consciousness.
Instead of diving-in, a person may often remain a spectator.

A monk asked Master Haryo, "What is the way?"
Haryo said, "An open-eyed man falling into the well."
This moment is happening - right here and now - whether we surrender to it or not.
Seeking to remain on the periphery is an illusion; it is not achievable in reality.
You cannot be a bystander in your own life.

Tai chi chuan and baguazhang teach the student to become aware of the moment, to yield to its flow... and to lose their stubborn, conflictive self.
This process is difficult (for there are many obstacles) and may take quite a while to achieve.
But it is worth it, and will dramatically affect your quality of life.


Tai chi exercise attendance

Classes focus upon flexibility, suppleness, relaxation, mobility, strength building and boosting energy.
Students are taught a physically and mentally challenging curriculum, but no self defence at all.
Partner work is limited.

Lessons cost £7.50 per class.

How many people train their internal art correctly?

Although tai chi is widely practiced and popular, not many students are learning tai chi chuan: the martial art.
Most students are training tai chi for health, or as a performance art.

Very few people are engaged in learning the internal arts properly.
Some combat tai chi people externalise the art in order to make it easier to learn.
But this does not succeed.
Instead, it creates a new art: an external hybrid based upon the idea of tai chi.

Training an internal art correctly - using the principles of the art fully and faithfully - is relatively rare these days.
It requires a lot of hard work, exploration, study, patience and practice.


Design aesthetic for Newcastle Tai Chi website

The black home page switching to the white (or cream) internal pages reflects the yin/yang aesthetic.
Black to white.
Darkness to light.
Ignorance to knowledge.
Yin is black, mysterious, hidden, secret, arcane, esoteric.
Yang is white, revealed, explained.
The new student - on approaching our class/website - is approaching the mystery from a position of ignorance and confusion.
Entering the site begins the journey to understanding.

How many people exercise?

Consider all the people you know.
Do many of them exercise?
Of all the people in the world, how many actually exercise?

Humans are pretty lazy and the invention of cars, televisions and computers have made things far worse.

New starters @ £7.50

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.


Peter Southwood's tips #20 Gifts

Chinese culture is very fond of gift-giving.
Show respect by giving small tokens of appreciation.
But not for the sake of it.


Straight sword form

The last form in the syllabus is a very difficult one to learn and will require an extensive commitment to practice.
This is a long, demanding form.

Performing the set accurately will be challenging enough.
Understanding how to manipulate the sword (jian) in combat is another area of study in its own right.

The main initial difficulty is the sheer weight of the weapon.
Its weight can range between 1-3lbs and will tax anyone who uses even a scrap of tension.
A student should start with a wooden sword (waster), then move onto wushu weight and eventually a real sword.
We do not recommend training with a sharp blade but it is an option if the instructor is seeking authenticity.

This type of sword is known as a 'tai chi' sword and is the trademark weapon of tai chi chuan.
True skill requires a massive foundation of knowledge, physical experience and dedication, so we only teach the straight sword form to indoor students.

Induction course

New students undertake a 4 week induction course with a view to joining the school on the 4th lesson:

• £25
• 4
consecutive classes
• Learn new skills every week
• Receive corrections, tips & pointers
• One-to-one assessment throughout the course

Students can undertake the induction course any time throughout the year.
At the end of the course the student is halfway through passing their first belt.


Can’t be bothered?

People access the website but can’t be bothered to even read the ‘classes’ page.

They claim to have read the site but ask questions that are already answered. Invariably, they send an e-mail or phone up to ask the questions again...

What do they really want? To sound us out? To be persuaded to do tai chi chuan? Who knows?

Tai chi chuan requires a lot of patience and work. If a person cannot be bothered to read a page of text, this is not an auspicious beginning.

New starters @ £7.50

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.


Cosy home

Our classes

We offer a stress-free, friendly learning environment.
Students feel welcome, safe, relaxed and comfortable.
There is no pressure, no expectations, no urgency, no competition, no rivalry, no ill-feeling.
Everyone proceeds at their own pace.

With time and patience, the body and the emotions begin to lose their fear.
People unfold and relax.


If you are studying tai chi properly, then you are not the average member of the public.
You have chosen to learn one of the more challenging martial arts.
This is not what most people do with their time.

Your curiosity had led you on a journey that is not for everyone.
It requires a steady commitment, patience, enthusiasm, money and time.
In order to make progress you will have to make choices, face doubts and be criticised by your peers.



Which reminds me of a corny joke about the Buddhist who walked up to the hot dog vendor and said, "Make me one with everything."

The hot dog vendor gave him his food and requested payment. The Buddhist had only a $5 bill, so after giving it to the vendor he asked for change.

The vendor replied, "Change comes from within."

 (Sue Heavenrich)


The role of pushing hands

Pushing hands can be seen as a form of grappling.
Having made contact with an opponent, you are essentially pushing hands.

At this point, you can employ any of the three main areas of skill in order to incapacitate the attacker:

  1. Shuai jiao (grappling)
  2. Chin na (seizing)
  3. Jing (energy expression)
Pushing hands fills the gap between an attack being launched and the defender finishing off the opponent.
It is not and end in itself and cannot realistically be used in combat.


Passing green

Green belt is the first of the intermediate belts.
It is not a difficult belt to pass. 

The green belt student exchanges their T-shirt for a tai chi suit, and the real taijiquan training begins.
The next 3 belts are much harder to pass and the training is decidedly more martial.

green belt student may opt to study baguazhang alongside their taijiquan.


Bridging exercise

Exercises such as 'pushing hands' must be seen in the wider context of the tai chi.
They are not an end in themselves.
Pushing hands is a learning tool for teaching skills that must eventually be utilised in self defence.

However, pushing hands is not an a combat skill in its own right.
No sane person would believe that pushing hands enabled them to use tai chi in a real-life combat situation.

The exercise is about contact and sensitivity, feeling and stickiness, learning to sense using your nervous system rather than your thoughts.


To be martial requires discipline, courage, and perseverance. It has nothing to do with killing. People fail to look beyond this one narrow aspect of being a warrior and so overlook all the other excellent qualities that can be gained from training. A warrior is not a cruel murderer. A warrior is a protector of ideals, principle and honour. A warrior is noble and heroic.

A warrior will have many opponents in a lifetime, but the ultimate opponent is the warrior's own self. Within a fighter's personality are a wide array of demons to be conquered: fear, laziness, ignorance, selfishness, egotism, and so many more. To talk of overpowering other people is inconsequential. To actually overcome one's own defects is the true nature of victory. That is why so many religions depict warriors in their iconography. These images are not symbols for dominating others. Rather, they are symbols of the ferocity and determination that we need to overcome the demons within ourselves.
(Deng Meng-Dao)


Adversity tests character

Anyone can be calm and pleasant when things are going their way. Adversity is another matter. It is an opportunity to see how adaptable, flexible and resilient you really are.

Bad weather is a good example:

Most people accept that they have responsibilities and just get on with life, allowing a little more time and taking much more care.

Other people use bad weather as an excuse to neglect their commitments and whine about their own personal hardship. They crumple and their weakness is shown.

Two years back we drove from Durham to Newcastle (10 miles) at rush hour every Monday throughout the Winter and it took about 90 minutes. Many students who lived within 5 miles of the class failed to attend on the grounds of bad weather.

Adversity affects us all. No one is spared. It is not the adversity that matters, but how we cope with it.



Pushing hands and the other sensitivity drills train the student to flow with the incoming force.
This is not simply evasion or random movement.
The student must maintain contact and yield with skill and awareness.

Your body acts as a feeler; sensing movement, tension... and intention.

New starters @ £7.50

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.



Students learn how to feel rather than think.
They re-train their nervous system to respond rather than anticipate.

Instead of psyching-up and getting-ready, the student becomes calm and patient; responding to what is happening as it is happening.



Pushing hands trains a variety of skills:
  1. Peng
  2. Timing
  3. Rhythm
  4. Patience
  5. Presence
  6. Stickiness
  7. Sensitivity
  8. Composure
  9. Practical yielding
  10. Optimal framework
  11. Going with the flow
  12. Manipulation of balance
  13. Non-opposition of force
  14. Listening with your body

Induction course

New students undertake a 4 week induction course with a view to joining the school on the 4th lesson:

• £25
• 4
consecutive classes
• Learn new skills every week
• Receive corrections, tip & pointers
• One-to-one assessment throughout the course

Students can undertake the induction course any time throughout the year.
At the end of the course the student is halfway through passing their first belt.


Partner work

Pushing hands enables a student to train a wide variety of skills without the danger associated with combat.
There are many different kinds of pushing hands exercises, including:
  1. Single pushing hands
  2. Double pushing hands
  3. Da lu
  4. Monkey paws
  5. Central equilibrium: maintain the centre
  6. Yielding exercise
  7. Yielding basic skills
  8. Pushing legs
All of these exercises are variations on a theme; teaching similar but different skills.


Use the website

Master Waller has written his website over many years.
It reflects decades of experience, practice, study, research and functional application.
The A-Z contains a massive list of topics.

Use the website to supplement your own training.
Virtually every aspect of the syllabus can be supplemented by reading and re-reading the website.

We have received many positive e-mails over the years expressing gratitude for the website.

Tai chi exercise teacher

Not every tai chi instructor wants to learn taijiquan. Some people just have an interest in exercise.
This is fine, providing they take their training seriously.

Expect a
tai chi exercise teacher to have:

• Insurance
At least 10 years experience behind them
• A detailed understanding of tai chi philosophy and the tai chi classics
Extensive teacher training with a qualified (and skilled) taijiquan instructor
Instructor affiliation with The Tai Chi Union for Great Britain or equivalent body
In-depth knowledge of whole-body strength, biomechanics and healthy body use


Questionnaires & assignments

Charles Darwin said that it is not the fittest or the strongest who survive, but the ones most able to adapt, change and improvise.
To do this you need a very flexible mind.

We set our students questionnaires and assignments throughout their training.

At first, some people are reluctant to undertake this kind of work.
They look at mainstream martial arts classes and believe that it is enough to beat a man to the ground with your fists...
Study is not what they expected or are used to.

But the internal arts are not mainstream.
Tai chi and baguazhang embody taoist principles and insights. How can you apply these if you do not know what they are?

You want to make progress?
Do the study.


You know the Greeks didn't write obituaries.
They only asked one question after a man died: "Did he have passion?"




Studying taoist, zen and martial arts literature will open your mind to new ideas, to possibilities you had not considered.
Authors such as Krishnamurti will significantly challenge long-held opinions and beliefs.

Serious contemplation will lead to a more resilient, flexible mind.
A mind capable of spontaneously changing as the circumstances require.
Change is not easy for most people; they cling to what was or to their narrow perception of what could be.

Even a small amount of reading every day will subtly change your consciousness.
You will begin to have insights, make connections and recognise associations and themes.
The expansion of consciousness will be notable over time.

Besides, without a comprehensive grasp of the principles of taoism, baguazhang and tai chi, how are you ever going to make the art work?


Listen to the instructor

Skills take time to cultivate, explore and understand.
There are no quick fixes, no shortcuts, no sudden enlightenment.

The danger with ignoring the step-by-step learning process is that you begin to follow the dictates of your own ego, rather than the direction of the instructor.
You are imposing your own agenda.
What you value and regard as being important is unlikely to coincide with the values of your instructor.

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.


Be patient

It is common to see new students attempting to jump ahead: trying out more complex skills prematurely.
This may be the result of enthusiasm.
Or it may be impatience.
Whatever the cause, it usually results in failure.


The nervous system is spread throughout your entire body and affects the internal balance.
Many people are jerky and twitchy; like a nervous bird looking for food.
They do not move in a relaxed, fluid manner.

Being restless and agitated affects body language, and can make the individual emotionally volatile.
These people appear to be profoundly uncomfortable in their own body: irritable, tense, bored, fidgety.


Neigong & jing

The internal arts all employ whole-body strength (neigong) rather than conventional muscle usage.
Whole-body strength was designed to amplify the effect of your actions whilst reducing the effort involved.

This enables the exponent to generate internal power (jing).

Everyone is different

Everyone comes from a different mental and physical background, and brings with them a unique set of quirks and habits.
Shedding these takes time.

Someone may struggle to begin with and then blossom later. Others may always struggle.
This is simply the way things are.

Plank of wood chest

Some people are so accustomed to acting tough that they forget that it is a front.
They posture and strut in a
parody of masculinity.
This is an elaborate disguise designed to hide their inner
fears and uncertainties.

Two common indicators are the plank of wood chest and walking on the balls of the feet.
The chest is not a solid lump of bone and needs to flex as you breathe.
The human foot naturally walks heel-to-toe.


8 styles

There are only eight known styles of internal martial art (neijiaquan):

• Supreme ultimate fist (taijiquan)
• 8 trigrams palm (baguazhang)
• Form/intention fist (xingyiquan)
• Water fist (liuhebafa)
• Spreading power from the back fist (tongbeiquan)
• Natural fist (ziranmen)
• Eight extremities fist (bajiquan)
• Mind fist (yiquan)/the great accomplishment (dachengquan)

We teach the first two arts.


We enable all students to access the curriculum relative to each individual's ability.
This means that those who struggle are assisted.
Those who do fine are developed.
And those who do well are challenged further.

Bogus tai chi

My teacher Sifu Woo said to me once, "If there's a million people doing tai chi in Tiananmen Square, nine hundred ninety nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine aren't doing a damned thing". It's no different there than here.

 (Paul Gale) 

The instructor

The world is saturated with well-meaning, inexperienced tai chi chuan instructors.
These instructors are teaching an imbalanced syllabus and fail to offer the complete art.

The art is slowly being ruined, watered down to a point where there is nothing internal left.

 expert guidance from a trained professional. Do not entrust your wellbeing to an amateur.