What is different about Newcastle Tai Chi?

• Quality of tuition • Professional
• Extensive range of skills available for study 
• Learn new material every week
• Fully-differentiated syllabus 
• Depth of understanding
• Tai chi
theory & philosophy
• Comprehensive martial application (optional)


That which does not kill you...

We have long believed that real, significant progress can be accomplished through mild ordeal.

Hardship tests our character.
It tells us something about who we are and how we respond to things.


What about tradition?

If you are a Christian, give to the poor.

If you are not, why let marketing and commerce bully you into feeling guilty for not buying presents? People are just trying to make money out of you. They want you in debt.
They want you spending more than you can afford. Your greed finances their greed.

If you recall the Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol you may remember that celebrating Christmas traditionally entailed giving gifts to the poor.
This is seldom the case these days...

There is nothing miserly about rejecting consumerism.
Do whatever you want to do.
Don't be led by advertising or peer pressure.

Tai Chi Classics

Across the years, various masters have expressed their tai chi expertise in writing.
These works are referred to as 'the Tai Chi Classics'.
They represent the essence of the art and students are encouraged to read the classics and imbue their tai chi with the spirit of these insights.

The classics highlight considerations and qualities necessary for tai chi.
The student must study the classics carefully and apply them according to their own skill and insight.
Without the characteristics depicted in the classics, the training cannot be called tai chi.



Wu treatise

The mind mobilizes the qi.
Make the qi sink calmly;
then the qi gathers and permeates the bones.
The qi mobilizes the body.
Make it move smoothly, so that it may easily follows the mind.
The intention and qi must interchange agilely,
then there is an excellence of roundness and smoothness.
This is called "the interplay of insubstantial and substantial."
The mind is the commander, the qi the flag, and the waist the banner.
The waist is like the axle and the qi is like the wheel.
The qi is always nurtured without harm.
Let the qi move as in a pearl with nine passages without breaks so that there is no part it cannot reach.
In moving the qi sticks to the back and permeates the spine.
It is said "first in the mind, then in the body."
The abdomen relaxes, then the qi sinks into the bones.
The shen is relaxed and the body calm.
The shen is always in the mind.
Being able to breathe properly leads to agility.
The softest will then become the strongest.
When the shen is raised, there is no fault of stagnancy and heaviness.
This is called suspending the headtop.
Inwardly make the shen firm, and outwardly exhibit calmness and peace.
Throughout the body, the intention relies on the shen, not on the qi.
If it relied on the qi, it would become stagnant.
If there is qi, there is no external strength.
The jing is sung, but not sung; it is capable of great extension, but is not extended.
The jing is broken, but the intention is not.
The jing is stored by means of the curved.
The energy is released by the back, and the steps follow the changes of the body.
The mobilization of the jing is like refining steel a hundred times over.
There is nothing hard it cannot destroy.
Store up the jing like drawing a bow.
Mobilize the jing like drawing silk from a cocoon.
Release the jing like releasing the arrow.
To fa jing, sink, relax completely, and aim in one direction!
In the curve seek the straight, store, then release.
Be still as a mountain, move like a great river.
The upright body must be stable and comfortable to be able to sustain an attack from any of the eight directions.
Walk like a cat.
Remember, when moving, there is no place that does not move.
When still, there is no place that is not still.
First seek extension, then contraction; then it can be fine and subtle.
It is said; “If the opponent does not move, then I do not move. At the opponent's slightest move, I move first."
To withdraw is then to release, to release it is necessary to withdraw.
In discontinuity there is still continuity.
In advancing and returning there must be folding.
Going forward and back there must be changes.
The form is like that of a falcon about to seize a rabbit, and the shen is like that of a cat about to catch a rat.
(Wu Yu-hsiang)


Take a break

The main appeal of Newcastle Tai Chi is the total break from everyday life.
We offer a vibrant, active learning environment free from cliques and politics.
There is a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere of camaraderie and good humour.

Enjoy an evening without pressure, the need to play a role or keep up appearances.



The danger with abstraction is that it blinds you to the dangers of over-spending.
You are seduced into spending money you do not have.

This process is not an accident.

 It has been cynically planned and implemented by financiers of various kinds.
Everyone wants a piece of the action.
You are the 'mark'.
These massive companies want a piece of your money.

Through your carelessness, and the process of abstraction, you have been distanced from the reality of your finances.

When your house is re-possessed, you realise that numerical abstraction may have hidden the reality from you - but reality cannot be ignored.
Crippling debt is the outcome of confusing the menu with the food.



We live in a culture where people adore fame, celebrity and all the paraphernalia that goes with it.
There is a tendency for people to get carried away. They become fans. Groupies. They become obsessed.
Rock stars and TV personalities are just people. Just like you.

Be entertained by all means, but do not lose all sense of perspective.

The martial arts world is not the entertainment industry.
It is a quiet place of intense study, introspection, discovery and communion. It has no interest in celebrity.



Your wage is represented as a number. You deduct various other numbers from your wage and the figure diminishes.
It is quite easy to look at your bank statement and see £40 deducted here and £300 deducted there.
If you were to actually hand over the money physically, you may see the situation differently.

Counting out £300 in cash is altogether different from seeing a figure on a credit card bill.

Wang treatise

Tai chi comes from emptiness and is the mother of yin and yang.
In motion tai chi separates; in stillness yin and yang fuse and return to emptiness.
It is not excessive or deficient; it follows a bending, adheres to an extension.
When the opponent is hard and I am soft, it is called yielding.
When I follow the opponent and he becomes backed up, it is called adhering.
If the opponent's movement is quick, then quickly respond; if his movement is slow, then follow slowly.
Although there are innumerable variations, the principle that pervades them remains the same.
From familiarity with the correct touch, one gradually comprehends jing (internal power); from the comprehension of jing one can reach wisdom.
Without long practice one cannot suddenly understand tai chi.
Effortlessly the jing reaches the headtop.
Let the qi sink to the tan tien.
Don't lean in any direction; suddenly appear, suddenly disappear.
Empty the left wherever a pressure appears, and similarly the right.
If the opponent raises up, I seem taller; if he sinks down, then I seem lower;
advancing, he finds the distance seems incredibly long; retreating, the distance seems exasperatingly short.
A feather cannot be placed, and a fly cannot alight on any part of the body.
The opponent does not know me; I alone know him.
To become a peerless boxer results from this.
There are many boxing arts.
Although they use different forms, for the most part they don't go beyond
the strong dominating the weak, and the slow resigning to the swift.
The strong defeating the weak and the slow hands ceding to the swift hands
are all the results of natural abilities and not of well-trained techniques.
From the sentence "A force of four ounces deflects a thousand pounds"
we know that the technique is not accomplished with strength.
The spectacle of an old person defeating a group of young people, how can it be due to swiftness?
Stand like a perfectly balanced scale and move like a turning wheel.
Sinking to one side allows movement to flow; being double-weighted is sluggish.
Anyone who has spent years of practice and still cannot neutralize,
and is always controlled by his opponent, has not apprehended the fault of double-weightedness.
To avoid this fault one must distinguish yin from yang.
To adhere means to yield.
To yield means to adhere.
Within yin there is yang.
Within yang there is yin.
Yin and yang mutually aid and change each other.
Understanding this you can say you understand jing.
After you understand jing, the more you practice, the more skill.
Silently treasure knowledge and turn it over in the mind.
Gradually you can do as you like.
Fundamentally, it is giving up yourself to follow others.
Most people mistakenly give up the near to seek the far.
It is said, "Missing it by a little will lead many miles astray."
The practitioner must carefully study.
This is the treatise.
(Wang Tsung-yueh)



Long jing?

Niwa (pure place)

Our training hall is a place where you can relax, have fun and learn.
It is not a place of violence and machismo.

The challenge of learning tai chi removes conflict, macho urges and aggression.
Students learn how to move in a graceful, balanced, harmonious way whilst maintaining composure at all times.


Chang treatise

In motion the whole body should be light and agile,
with all parts of the body linked as if threaded together.
The qi should be excited; the shen should be internally gathered.
The postures should be without defect,
without hollows or projections from the proper alignment;
in motion the form should not become disconnected.
The jing should be rooted in the feet, generated from the legs,
controlled by the waist, and manifested through the fingers.
If correct timing and position are not achieved, the body will become disordered
and will not move as an integrated whole; the correction for this defect
must be sought in the legs and waist.
The principle of adjusting the legs and waist applies for moving in all directions;
upward or downward, advancing or withdrawing, left or right.
All movements are motivated by mind, not external form.
If there is up, there is down; when advancing, have regard for withdrawing;
when striking left, pay attention to the right.
If the mind wants to move upward, it must simultaneously have intent downward.
Alternating the force of pulling and pushing severs an opponent's root
so that he can be defeated quickly and certainly.
Insubstantial and substantial should be clearly differentiated.
At any place where there is insubstantiality, there must be substantiality;
Every place has both insubstantiality and substantiality.
The whole body should be threaded together through every joint
without the slightest break.
Tai chi is like a great river rolling on unceasingly.
Wardoff, rollback, push, squeeze, pluck, split, elbow, shoulder are equated to the Eight Trigrams.
The first four are the cardinal directions; the second four are the four corners.

Advance, withdraw, look right, look left and central equilibrium are equated to the five elements: metal, wood, fire, water and earth.
All together these are termed the Thirteen Postures. 
(Chang San-feng)


What are our students like?

Our classes attract students from all walks of life.
Friendly, receptive, intelligent people seeking something that will challenge them long-term.
Curious individuals who are willing to acquire new insights, adapt and change.
Playful, relaxed, sociable people who are aiming to make tai chi a part of their lives.



Businesses seek to make money. They accomplish this in many ways.
One method is 'abstraction'.

Instead of handling money with your hands, you are encouraged to use 'electronic' methods of payment:
  1. Credit card
  2. Debit card
  3. Store card
  4. Standing order
  5. Direct debit
  6. Mobile phone contract
These all serve to distance you from the transaction itself.

Knife escapes

30 minute standing qigong endurance challenge


Why join?

• Work through the full curriculum
• Receive regular corrections, tips & pointers
• One-to-one consultation with Master Waller every 3 months
• Request bespoke tuition
• Have an on-line personal progress page
• Use weapons 

• Learn neigong (whole-body strength)• School database
• Seek training guidance and advice from Master Waller
• Wear a uniform
• Buy school DVDs
• Pass belts 

• Discuss tai chi theory and related philosophies with Master Waller
• Attend workshops, boot camp and class social events


Purple (part 2)

Paul Barry has passed part 1 of the purple belt. Well done! He has one belt left before black.

No longer a beginner

 Matthew has passed his green belt and is now an intermediate student. Well done!


Choose your path

 Choose either tai chi for health or kung fu:
  1. Tai chi for health - tai chi
    - qigong
    - form
    - pushing hands
    - meditation
    - theory & philosophy
    - whole-body strength

  2. Kung fu
    - tai chi chuan
    - baguazhang
    - self defence
    - qigong
    - form
    - pushing hands
    - meditation
    - theory & philosophy
    - whole-body strength
    - weapons
    - chin na
    - shuai jiao
    - jing
    - form applications



School members work through a clear, fully-differentiated syllabus.
This ensures on-going, continual progress and development.
Achievement leads to a feeling of wellbeing.
Nothing beats success.

By taking tangible steps forward, a student gains a sense of self-worth and confidence in their own abilities.
I did this. I accomplished.
On-going progress is good for your health: physically, emotionally and psychologically.



Even if Master Waller sought to imbue you with his tai chi skills, he could not.
It simply doesn't work that way.
You must gain the skills through hard work, time and patience.
Your body and mind re-grow.

Now, consider the Confucian quote...
Confucius is saying that the student is responsible for the learning, the practice, the insights and the degree of progress.

Tai chi chuan students should look at themselves as Peter Southwood might have done, and ask the question; are you a martial artist?
The answer is very simple:
You are only a martial artist if you behave like one.


Show me

Confucius made it clear that he would only teach those students who were passionate about learning:

I do not enlighten those who are not eager to learn, nor arouse those who are not quick to give an explanation themselves.

If I have presented one corner of the square and they cannot come back to me with the other three, I should not go over the points again.


Peter Southwood adhered to this maxim rigidly and expected a lot from students who desired to steal his art.
At first you may see this approach as being unduly harsh.
Yet, as with so many examples of ancient Chinese wisdom it more subtle, more relevant and more true than you may realise.


Good oil, bad oil

Another Chinese attitude is derived from the sale of goods.
Keen, loyal customers who show commitment and friendship are given the best that is on offer.
Irregular, infrequent customers are given what is left.

Peter Southwood practiced this also.
Unless you trained privately with him over many years, he would not share anything beyond the Yang Cheng Fu slow form, pushing hands and qigong.

Santa Claus

Santa Claus was not always a mythical Hollywood character.
 St Nicholas was born in Patara on the southern coast of Turkey. He was raised as a Christian and used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering.

No reindeers. No North Pole. No elves. No present lists. No Christmas cards, tinsels, trees, cakes, holly, mistletoe or carol singing.

Deviate from the essence and all is lost.


One face for giving and one face for taking

This Chinese saying means that people often perform the right actions and say the right things when they want something.
They are pleasant and polite.

Yet, when asked for something in return, they are aloof and distant.

Poverty spiral

Caring at Christmas explain how it can be very difficult to get out of a homeless situation:
  1. No work means people are unable to pay for conventional lodgings.
  2. Homeless people do not necessarily have a family home to go to.
  3. Without a permanent base, it is hard for people to make themselves presentable.
  4. When finding work becomes difficult and depressing, they may be tempted to find relief in alcohol or drugs and become even less employable.


Kung fu student?

Calling yourself a kung fu student and behaving like one are two different things entirely.
The difference can easily be seen in combat.
A talker will be defeated immediately.

Kung fu behaviour can be seen without resorting to combat:

  1. School spirit
  2. Passing belts
  3. Home training
  4. Class attendance
A kung fu student is loyal, committed, eager to assist the master and support the school.
They act in a manner that indicates integrity, respect and honour.



Peter Southwood treated students according to how they behaved.
If you joined his class and told him that you wanted to learn tai chi chuan, then he would not say anything at all.
Instead, he would teach you tai chi exercise and see whether or not you behaved like a kung fu student.

Your own conduct would determine what you were taught.


Chinese curse

Peter Southwood let students determine how they studied.
This is not as kind as it sounds.

There is a Chinese curse: May your wishes be granted.
Why is it a curse?
People seldom consider the consequences of getting what they want.
And when they finally get their way, their desire may have shifted to something new. 


This is a true story. It is a story about a thirteen year old boy who lived in the wealthy suburbs outside of Philadelphia. His name is Trevor Ferrell. One night he was watching the news in television and he saw homeless people on the streets in the downtown area of Philadelphia. He went to his father and said, “We have some blankets in the garage. I want to take those blankets downtown and give them to people. They’re sleeping on the grates where the steam comes out.”

His father thought it was a strange idea, but he took him down there, and it was very rewarding to Trevor and his father. The next day Trevor started putting signs up in the grocery store and other places: “Does anybody have blankets they don’t use? Is there any food you don’t need?” Within a week he had a warehouse full of food, and now in Philadelphia there are a number of warehouses that are called Trevor’s Place that feed the homeless.

(Mark Greenberg)