We offer a lot of training opportunities for students.
There are also various resources on offer.

If you are struggling, then watch the form, exercise or drill on DVD.
Read the website.
Study the books on the reading list.

Attention is very different from what is usually called concentration.

Concentration is usually associated with a state of over-tension manifested by a furrowed brow and interference with breathing, almost as though one were trying to hold everything in place so as to be able to focus totally on a certain aspect of one's surroundings.

(Michael Gelb)


New starters

New starters seldom consider the fact that martial arts training is actually pretty hard work.
They expect to just join in and do well.
Typically, new starters are unfit, undisciplined and lazy.

They may have enthusiasm, but they seldom possess the required level of fitness.

Neijiaquan: The Inner School



An exercise designed to cultivate neigong is not a neigong itself.

Neigong exists in your body all the time.
It is part of how you move.
A habit: unconscious and familiar. As easy and present as speaking or drinking from a glass.

If you have to think about a neigong quality or practice it, or engage it when needed... what good is it in combat/application?

An exercise is a training tool.
It helps you to get the hang of the habit, to feel how it works and to incorporate the feeling into your framework.
When you have the neigong quality as part of how you move, the exercise is no longer required.

Entry method

The purpose of yielding/shuai jiao is to counter a punch, kick or grapple using skills acquired through training the yielding exercise and shuai jiao basic skills.

Yielding/shuai jiao involves evading the attack, softly meeting, then redirecting the opponent.
At the opportune moment shuai jiao can be employed.

Yielding/shuai jiao is pretty much the same as yielding/chin na, except that the goal is to apply shuai jiao applications rather than chin na.

Why did you join Newcastle Tai Chi?

I've had an interest in martial arts and 'bodywork' for many years. Spent a long time in recent years looking for a good class. Now I've found a great one...

(Andy U)



Some neigong can be cultivated by exercise.
Others are more subtle and need the mind to be engaged in a particular way until the neigong is habit.

The more advanced neigong arise because existing neigong are in place.
With practice and experience they arise by themselves.

Tzu-jan concerns cannot be made to happen or directly cultivated.
They are a by-product of ingrained internal movement habits.

What is taijiquan?

Taijiquan is a Chinese martial art based upon the yin/yang concept.
It was developed hundreds of years ago and draws upon taoist observations, Chinese traditional medicine, biomechanics, physics and combat.

To train
supreme ultimate fist correctly you need a highly-skilled instructor who can offer a very comprehensive syllabus.


Conventional fitness

The ability to lift heavy weights, run, swim or workout in the gym may well improve your overall fitness level.
But this kind of fitness only helps to a certain degree in
taijiquan training.

A student must learn how to use their body in a very different way.
The body needs to become agile, flexible, adaptive, sensitive and strong.
Engorged biceps are not going to help.

Taijiquan syllabus

Taijiquan students work through a very extensive, structured training program.
The syllabus includes:

 • Form
 • Weaponry
 • Stretching
 • Self defence
 • Partner work
 • Seizing (chin na)
 • Form applications
 • Internal power (jing)
 • Energy work (qigong)
 • Strength-building exercises
 • Whole-body strength (neigong)
 • Grappling (shuai jiao & pushing hands)

From the onset you are introduced to material that is more advanced than what is normally practiced in the martial arts.


Tai chi chuan/baguazhang application

Successful application requires the student to adhere to the taijiquan guidelines.
There are 3 main considerations:

  1. Lead into emptiness
  2. Use no more than 4 ounces of pressure
  3. Borrow the opponent's force
If you force a result, then it is external, like judo.

You can tell when yielding/shuai jiao is used appropriately because the attacker simply seemed to fall.
Very little effort was necessary.
There was no fighting and no struggle.

What is tai chi?

Tai chi is a popular form of exercise.
It is derived from a martial art called 'supreme ultimate fist' (taijiquan).

Most tai chi classes study tai chi for exercise but only a rare few practice tai chi as a martial art.


Body strength

We are not interested in pitting strength against strength.
Our aim is to evade strength, re-direct power and destabilise the attacker.

Instead of force against force, we circumvent.
We break the root.
We lead into emptiness.

You do not need to be immensely strong in the upper body.
The power will be coming from the ground, so stronger legs are more important.


Most of the taijiquan syllabus is not slow.
Of the 7 forms only the first one is practiced slowly; the rest train nimbleness and agility.

Partner work tends to begin slowly and increase in speed as competence allows.
Combat training is always fast because real-life self defence situations require spontaneity, not sluggishness.


What about yoga and pilates?

If you practice tai chi there would be no point practicing yoga or pilates.

Neither of these styles of exercise are compatible with tai chi:
- yoga stretches the body beyond 70% and 'hatha' means willpower; forcing rather than allowing
- pilates tenses the stomach muscles, which goes against Chinese medicine and qigong

What do you think about this school's taijiquan?

I am very impressed now that I have reach intermediate level; we get more time with Sifu and you really start to see his ability.

Also working with the higher level students shows the quality of the taijiquan at Newcastle Tai Chi.

Dave Johnson


Is it really taijiquan?

Tai chi instructors seldom distinguish between tai chi for exercise and taijiquan.
Most modern tai chi classes study
tai chi exercise but only a rare few practice a martial art.
It is common for classes to say that they are teaching 'taijiquan' when in fact they are teaching '
tai chi exercise' instead.

Many students are exposed to 'tai chi' and believe this to be the martial art.
In some cases it may well be, but in most cases it is merely tai chi exercise practice with a threadbare smattering of martial skill thrown in for variety.


Understanding the principles is essential:
  1. Do not oppose force
  2. Join centres
  3. Attack weakness and avoid strength
  4. Use momentum whenever possible
  5. Take balance
  6. Disconnect the opponent's body
  7. Allow them to fall
Each of these considerations needs to be studied in detail and understood thoroughly.

Once these have been explored using the yielding/shuai jiao learning tool, the skills will slowly become familiar and eventually habitual.
The aim with all training methods is to discard the method entirely at some point.
Ultimately, the skills will just emerge spontaneously.


Tai chi is a popular form of exercise derived from a martial art called 'supreme ultimate fist' (taijiquan).

Taijiquan is a style of internal art based upon the yin/yang concept.
It was developed hundreds of years ago and draws upon taoist observations, Chinese traditional medicine, biomechanics, physics and combat.

Most tai chi classes study
tai chi exercise; fitness but only a rare few practice tai chi as a martial art.


Training internal movement

Qigong exercises train the body to move in a unique, connected, relaxed way.
These exercises are simple and quite easy to learn.

The student focuses upon basic movements without additional concerns intruding.


Free taster session

Your first lesson is free.


Skilful use of peng is everything in our school.
Without it, many of the applications simply will not work.

Peng is a challenging skill to master.
The student must train diligently until it becomes natural and comfortable to employ peng at all times.
Circularity and sensitivity will allow the student to circumvent force and re-direct the opponent using the least amount of effort.



Listening to the opponent is vital.
Without an opponent you have no one to defend against; therefore, the opponent is the reason for your application.
You must give them your complete, undivided attention at all times.

Strong sensitivity skills will allow you to feel subtle opportunities long before they become obvious.


The weakest part of any new starter is the mind.
Modern minds are lazy, distracted, eager for gratification and entertainment.

The calm, detached, logical, disciplined mind of a martial artist is very different to that of a 'consumer'.
We recognise that there is more to life than shopping, celebrity, fleeting fads and fancies.
Patience, tenacity, endurance... these develop a quiet strength.



I like that there's no macho, aggressive attitude in the class, and that everyone is helpful and respectful of one another.
 I also like the structure of the class, and the clear syllabus that lets you see how you're progressing.

 (Joel Halligan)


Yielding/shuai jiao is about evading the attack, establishing and maintaining contact in order to manipulate the attacker into a position of vulnerability.
When the opponent is exposed, they are easy to counter.

This skill is concerned with the process of evasion, making contact and remaining sticky.
It is all about footwork, positioning and leverage.
Instead of struggling, you flow.
By harmonising with the attack - smoothly and calmly - it is possible to defeat the opponent without rushing, aggression or force.

Once yielding/shuai jiao is familiar, all shuai jiao applications will contain the necessary first step: which is to yield to the attack.
Having yielded, you have time to move without anxiety and your options are increased.


Effort/reward ratio

Internal body use challenges conventional wisdom and the conventional application of strength.
The body must be strong.
The application of that strength is unorthodox.

The aim is to use most of your power in combat; uniting the entire body in application. Yet, the target is small.
Every action is a complete action.
Every part of you does every movement.

This may sound strenuous but it is not.
Instead of delegating the workload to your arms and shoulders, every part of the body is involved.
Instead of forcing your will upon the entire attacker, you limit your attention to a small part of their body and use everything you have on that target.

The strategy comes from The Art of War.


Why not just apply shuai jiao without yielding?

This is a reasonable question.

The answer is simple: force versus force.
We do not want to block force. Instead, we want to use it.
To accomplish this we must let the force go where it wants to go...

Internal martial arts never oppose force. Yielding enables the student to neutralise force and counter without effort.



After learning the crude outline, the student undergoes extensive, ongoing correction.
Regular practice of the form enables the student to begin to get a feel for the form and start the long journey towards understanding.
Corrections are vital because they teach the individual how the movements are generated and why.

Without correction, a form remains crude.



A good rule of thumb is this: if you don't understand something then you probably can't yet.
Understanding requires a framework; a context, a foundation.
A nursery school child may want to discuss Shakespeare or Dostoyevsky with the teacher, but are they capable?
Surely, they must learn the alphabet, sentences, the entire structure and use of language before a more in-depth exploration is even possible...



Form is not kata.
A kata is judged according to outwardly appearance and martial intent.
The student may be totally tense.

Form practice requires the student t
o be deeply relaxed, yet possess peng and substance.


Stick drills

Stick drills can be performed with two lengths of stick:
  1. Navel height
  2. Armpit height
Students are recommended to start with a navel height stick.

The drills encourage suppleness in the arms and wrists, connection and coordination.
They are an excellent training tool for students who suffer from stiff shoulders or are struggling to extend power out of their bodies.

The beauty of stick drills is that they train a variety of skills at the same time.


Slagging-off your instructor

 It is common for students to leave a martial arts class and then broadcast a list of criticisms about their former teacher.
This not only reflects badly upon the ex-student but also makes them look kind of stupid:

Do you consider yourself to have skills?
 • Did you have these skills before joining the class?
 • Who taught the skills to you?
 • If your ex-teacher is a fool, then what value does their teaching have? What value do your current skills have?

To criticise your former instructor is to devalue what you were taught.
If your current understanding is based on what you were taught by your former instructor, then to criticise your former instructor is to undermine your own knowledge and skills.
Your own skills are the product of that tuition.
If the teaching was worthless, then what you now know is similarly worthless, and certainly not worth listening to.

If you learned your skills from your former instructor, then they must have taught you something worthwhile.
For this alone, you owe them your respect.

There is no shortcut

Building up your strength takes time, practice, commitment and patience.
In truth, you may not even realise it is happening.
Internal arts training is not strenuous or stressful.
You undertake regular training and let the mild exercise build up layers of strength.

An hour of training every morning mounts up over time.
Pretty soon you have a level of strength you never expected.
This is not the strength required to lift a massive weight.
It is the strength to deliver a penetrating strike, snap a limb or flip an opponent without trying.



Knife in self defence

There are a range of training methods that teach a student to counter a knife in self defence.
Students learn how to avoid being stabbed or cut, escape from a hold and apply a chin na against a knife-wielding attacker.
Many of the basic drills can be used to great effect against a knife.

Self defence against a knife offers no guarantees in real life.
In truth, success is a more a matter of opportunity, awareness, presence and technical skill than anything else.



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.

Convenience food

Some packets will tell you that the food is low fat, and this may be true, but is it low sugar also?
Does it have additives, preservatives and flavouring?
What is the salt content?

Convenience food is generally not good for you.


What do you like most about the class?

Detailed syllabus, progress page, experience and ability of the instructor. Direct, layers of increasing detail. Genuine.




I would like to thank you and Master Waller for the experience. I joined the class following a period of depression lasting about two years, and the tai chi class was the first new activity I undertook once I'd recovered. When I first arrived I was incredibly nervous and anxious, both in terms of meeting strangers but also doing something the likes of which I'd never done before. Master Waller and yourself made me feel welcome, reassured me as to your expectations and progress, and made me feel very comfortable.

 On top of that, the actual practice of tai chi I have found immensely beneficial, particularly from a stress management perspective over the past few months. I have enjoyed the classes, and I have enjoyed what limited training I've been able to do at home, as it's left me far more relaxed thus contributing overall to my general health. I'm very happy I found the group - it's been a fantastic experience.




Friday Fasting

Historically, Christians would fast all day on a Friday.

It later became no meat day, but they would still eat fish (maybe the source of confusion for some would-be vegetarians? After all, fish is meat).

In recent times, Christians ignored the Friday Fast.

What do you like most about the class?

The class is so rich and well balanced it's hard to pick out something above anything else:
 - The people and the class spirit
 - The authenticity, clarity and practicality of the teachings
 - The in-depth and progressive syllabus
 - The dedication of Sifu to his practice, and the development of his students
 - The honesty. 

(Andy U)



How is harmony accomplished?

By not forcing.
By not imposing you own will.
By immersing yourself in the event/the moment, rather than calculating and thinking.

To accomplish this you must quieten the problem-solving conscious mind, and learn to respond without choosing.
Choice denotes confusion.
A clear mind sees without cogitation; and action is sure, accurate and appropriate.

Why did you join Newcastle Tai Chi?

Learn self defence skills to protect myself and loved ones from harm. Informative website, registered instructor, highly rated. Decisive.



Weapons forms

All of the weapons forms use strategies and movements derived from the Yang Cheng Fu form.
Therefore a student unskilled with the basic form cannot reasonably learn a weapons form.
This is not negotiable.
Competence with the complete Yang Cheng Fu form is a must.
Weapons forms must be practiced slowly until the set is ingrained.
Then, the speed depends on the day's training.
Sometimes, slow practice is good.
At other times, high speed practice is advisable.


Small san sau - 4 ways

Small san sau is taught through 4 stages initially:
  1. Sequence
  2. Peng
  3. Jing
  4. Combat concerns



The pattern of a qigong, form, martial set or an application is not the final product.
It is the initial introduction to the material.

Many tai chi practitioners never progress beyond the pattern and remain perpetual beginners, regardless of how many years they practice.

It is vital that a student does not remain at the lower echelon of skill.
In order for the tai chi to improve, the pattern must be revised, corrected, improved-upon - not once - but as an ongoing process.
There is no final product, no graduation.
Even an advanced practitioner continues to explore and tinker with their practice.

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.