Tai Chi Exercise Teacher

A Tai Chi Exercise Teacher should have at least 10 years experience practicing tai chi.
They possess a detailed understanding of form, qigong, meditation, biomechanics, pushing hands, healthy body use, taoist philosophy, the Tai Chi Classics and whole-body strength.



Wisdom is not the same as knowledge.

It reaches beyond the information to see inner qualities and relationships that are not immediately apparent.
It is synonymous with awareness and care, with insight and consideration.

Knowledge alone is dangerous.
It must be tempered with good sense, morality and prudence.

Instructor training

After some years of practice your Master may ask you if you potentially want to become an Instructor.
The training will commence with helping out in class.
Simple chores and assistance.
This is called 'learning-by-helping'.

If you show enthusiasm and competence, your Master may commence teacher training with you.
This formal process of learning will take many months, probably even years.
Once qualified, a
n Instructor should seek Instructor affiliation and insurance with The Tai Chi Union for Great Britain or equivalent body.


What I like most about Newcastle Tai Chi is learning about 'why' things are done, not just 'what' or 'how'. This gives the practise more legitimacy and makes me feel like I'm learning something important.



How do we cope with an assailant without being violent?
That is a very good question.
A taijiquan person seeks to avoid confrontation and would only use their skills reluctantly.

You do only what is necessary to escape the situation.
Although the effect of your taijiquan may indeed cause discomfort and pain, your disposition should remain composed and compassionate.
At no point would you become angry and deliberately hurt the assailant.


Forms of violence

Not all violence is physical or overt. People are often extremely violent without realising it.
Violence can take many forms.
Harsh, unkind words. Derisive laughter. Sarcasm. Mockery. Insults. Emotional hostility. Aggression.
Pushing, forcing, controlling, manipulating.

Many people use violence in a sneaky, underhand way. Through gossip, malignant words, innuendo.
Our culture is far from being non-violent.

Tai Chi Instructors

There are 5 types of Instructor in tai chi:
  1. Tai Chi Exercise Teacher
  2. Tai Chi Chuan Instructor
  3. Tai Chi Expert
  4. Tai Chi Master
  5. Tai Chi Grandmaster
Most Tai Chi Instructors are Tai Chi Exercise Teachers.
Very few can teach tai chi chuan: the martial art.
Instructors with higher-level skill are less common in the UK.

Workshop feedback

Good friendly environment, get to work with students you don't get chance to in the school, learn new skills that you wouldn't have time in class to learn.
Master Waller is always friendly and explains in detail what you are learning; more so than in class.




Conflict arises through resistance.

When one position meets with another and yielding does not take place then conflict occurs.
Opinions and beliefs are the usual source of conflict.
From argument to brawling to wars, our world is filled with disagreement.
The student of taijiquan seeks to resolve their inner conflict and avoid outer dispute.
Whatever the workshop Master Waller is teaching, you get personal-tailored instruction. This can only lead to leaps and bounds in awareness and development. Sometimes immediate, sometimes taking time to bloom.

 Newcastle Tai Chi's workshops offer:
 Value for money,
 Small groups = more time with the Instructor; more one-to-one,
 Fast progress through belts,
 Access to black belt material.

 They have a different atmosphere, usually hands-on and fun.



Soft martial art

The balance between violence and wisdom are explored in the internal arts.
Through a refined understanding of physics, biomechanics and optimal body use, the student employs the
taijiquan in a unique way.

Instead of aggression, machismo, cruelty and anger, the student is calm, composed and restrained.
Only the most subtle degree of effort is used.



This peculiar balancing of violence and wisdom lies at the heart of neijiaquan.

Finding balance between apparent opposites and recognising harmony is a key feature of yin/yang.
Violence/wisdom, good/bad, body/mind, strong/weak...
A student of the internal arts must find a way to reconcile the discordance of combat and the compassion that arises from insight.



Supreme ultimate fist is Wudang in origin. 8 trigrams palm is Emei.

In Chinese folklore, the internal masters of the Wudang and Emei mountain ranges were considered to be warrior/sages.
They were skilled in the arts of combat, yet well-versed in ancient knowledge.

Sport and anger

Many people think that sports and spectating are a healthy way to channel adverse emotions such as anger, hostility and the associated violence.

In his book Rip It Up Professor Richard Wiseman quotes several psychology studies that prove the opposite.
Expressing anger and hostility through sport increases negative emotions, rather than reducing them.


Anyone could be forgiven for thinking that defending yourself  against a knife with a rolled up newspaper is nothing short of insane, however last night Master Waller taught us simple practical and most importantly effective methods that would stand up in the real world.

There was a real buzz about the workshop as everyone was clearly enjoying themselves as well learning. What adds to the experience no end is that Master Waller clearly enjoys teaching the material as much as we do learning it.

I try to attend as many workshops as I can because they are not only always enjoyable but they offer a chance to learn from Master Waller in a way not possible on a Monday or Tuesday night. I have come to see them as essential to compound the more general skills learned on class nights.

When you leave you may have the odd bruise that will fade, but you can also be sure you will take away at least one more skill or piece of knowledge to add to your practice.
(Paul B)


Chinese myths & legends

There is a lot of folklore and superstition concerning the internal arts; with stories about people seeking immortality and mystical powers.
The reality is far more earthy and real.

Chinese legends, books and movies are filled with exponents who possess incredible skill.
See Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon as one example.
Some of the stories may well be true.
Others seem unlikely.

Ultimately, the internal systems do promise skills and abilities not commonly found in other martial arts.
The mystery and secrecy surrounding these arts continues to fascinate the seeker.


A new path

Students with Master Waller are trained to keep their nervous systems grounded and their emotions under control.

With a calm mind, settled emotions and a relaxed, balanced body - you have the opportunity to choose.
Rather than curl in a protective ball, you can deal with adverse situations differently.



Everyone who starts tai chi approaches the art with some sort of baggage: whether physical or psychological.
The habitual actions and thoughts, the misconceptions, preconceptions and expectations are all present from the very first lesson.
People see what they want to see and frantically attempt to understand tai chi in terms of their existing life experience and memories.

As a consequence, the syllabus involves shedding the baggage before the real training can begin.

Training in the park




Most tai chi students attend Newcastle Tai Chi classes in order to relax and have a good time.
They enjoy the friendly atmosphere and lack of pressure.
It doesn't matter whether or not you are good at tai chi; just have fun.

Not everything in life needs to be a competition.
You don't need to be the best.
You can simply be yourself.

Letting go

It is very hard to let-go of anxiety.
The process cannot be hurried or forced.
Old habits do not fade quickly.

You need to feel safe, comfortable, supported, familiar.
Then you can begin to let your defences soften; this is the first step on the road to relaxation.


Accepting the unknown

Once you are willing to drop your front and admit your fears and your vulnerability, you can make progress.
Taoism helps us to face the unknown and realise that almost everything in existence is unknown.

When you can see the magnitude of reality, you feel humbled and small, insignificant.
You feel comfortable dropping your defences and just being yourself.



Consider events in a yin/yang way...
For example: your car breaks down and you must evaluate the cost of fixing it, the frequency of repairs - balanced against the cost of replacing it.
Do you put money into an old car and risk that it breaks down again?
Or buy a new car and get a breakdown/repair warranty?

If you repair the old car, it may cost less in the short-term but maybe more in the long-term.
A new car means peace of mind but also monthly HP to pay.
A new car means no immediate repair cost on the old car but long-term financing of new.
The old car is bought and paid for but essentially worthless (beyond its function) whereas a new car is financed but may have a greater future trade-in value.

Can you see the thinking process behind yin/yang?
This constant dual perception of every event?
No event is just one thing and the yin/yang principle can be applied repeatedly, relative to different nuances, factors and variables.



Our sense of anxiety arises from how we perceive things.
Some people will find a situation most agreeable, whilst somebody else will find it unpleasant.
It is all about how you appraise the situation.

Every event in life can be considered from different perspectives, points of view.
Learn how to see things differently.

Instructors levels

There are 5 levels of Tai Chi Instructor in the UK these days:

  1. Tai Chi Exercise Teacher
    - 10 years experience
    - these are the majority
  2. Tai Chi Chuan Instructor
    - equivalent of 3rd dan black belt in any martial art
    - 10 years experience
    - these people are less common
  3. Tai Chi Expert
    - 20 years experience
    - 10,000 hours tai chi chuan practice
    - 10 years teaching experience
    - fewer to be found
  4. Tai Chi Master
    - 30,000 hours tai chi chuan practice
    - 20 years teaching experience
    - pretty rare
  5. Tai Chi Grandmaster
    - extremely rare


Admitting your vulnerability

A well-adjusted person is honest with themselves and other people - they are not afraid to say that they don't know or that they have doubts.
Nobody is perfect.
We all make mistakes. We are all vulnerable. We all fall ill. We all feel pain. We all experience fear. And we will all die.

This is what it means to be human.
The glory of the human spirit lies in our capacity to admit our fears and proceed regardless.
We call this 'courage'.
In acquiring any kind of skill, there exists a natural learning process that coincides with the functioning of our brains. This learning process leads to what we shall call tacit knowledge - a feeling for what you are doing that is hard to put into words but easy to demonstrate in action. And to understand how this learning process operates, it is useful to look at the greatest system ever invented for the training of skills and the achievement of tacit knowledge - the apprenticeship system of the Middle Ages.

This system arose as a solution to a problem: As business expanded in the Middle Ages, Masters of various crafts could no longer depend on family members to work in the shop. They needed more hands. But it was not worth it for them to bring in people who would come and go - they needed stability and time to build up skills in their workers. And so they developed the apprenticeship system, in which young people from approximately the ages of twelve to seventeen would enter work in a shop, signing a contract that would commit them for the term of seven years. At the end of this term, apprentices would have to pass a master test, or produce a master work, to prove their level of skill. Once passed, they were now elevated to the rank of journeymen and could travel wherever there was work, practicing the craft.

(Robert Greene)


What do you want to study?

We offer two options in class:
  1. Tai Chi Exercise
    - qigong, neigong, strength-building, tai chi and partner work
  2. Tai chi as a martial art
    - qigong, neigong, strength-building, tai chi chuan (martial art), baguazhang, chin na, self defence, shuai jiao, weaponry and partner work
Let us know which path you wish to take.



Everyone who starts tai chi approaches the art with some sort of baggage: whether physical or psychological.
The habitual actions and thoughts, the misconceptions, preconceptions and expectations are all present from the very first lesson.
People see what they want to see and frantically attempt to understand tai chi in terms of their existing life experience and memories.

As a consequence, the syllabus involves shedding the baggage before the real training can begin.