Ten years ago I gave up full time work to work part time. I felt the need for more time for myself and to improve my fitness and health. I was looking for a form of exercise which would fulfil these goals and thought tai chi would suit me. I looked for a tai chi class locally and tried a few but found they were not what I wanted. Basically the classes were too large and there seemed to be no development of skills or structure in the teaching, merely waving your arms about.

Nine years ago I found a class run by Master Waller. This changed my whole outlook. Students are in uniform and there are people actively teaching the syllabus and practicing. There is a very comprehensive program of study to work through.

I did a 'self defence intro' recently and really enjoyed the training. We were not taught to believe that we were now competent at self defence. That would be an unreasonable expectation. However, we were taught some simple strategies to use should we ever find ourselves in a vulnerable position, and they would work, as we proved on each other! So, not only useful, but good fun also.


Modern life

Modern life is filled with distractions that distort your perception of reality and make you feel strung out and tired.

Television, computers, junk food, noisy neighbours, work, videogames, mobile phones, driving and family problems can all make you feel unhappy and agitated.
In my life free time is in short supply; I want a class where I get value for money and concentrated pure teaching.
Newcastle Tai Chi meets both these objectives.



Studying tai chi is all about looking after your own interests.
Instead of worrying about other people, why not take the time to work on yourself?

By slowing down you begin to notice patterns of tension within the body, stiff shoulders, aching joints, an inflexible spine.
Impatience, irritability and the tendency to rush become apparent.

Address these concerns in a supportive learning environment.
Pretty soon you will start to feel a lot more relaxed and happy; your energy levels will increase and vitality will follow.



A common theme in tai chi training is 'moderation'.
Be cautious of extremes.
Pushing your body can lead to injury, strain and physical tension.

In tai chi, the training is gentle and does not tax the body.
We remain calm, focussed and patient.


Making the best use of your time

Tai chi can potentially fulfil a number of requirements simultaneously:

  1. Stress-relief
  2. Relaxation
  3. Meditation
  4. Fitness
  5. Self defence training
  6. Friendly social activity
A good tai chi class will address your health, strengthen your body, optimise movement and improve balance.
People who have an interest in Asian art, culture, literature and philosophy are encouraged to explore these subjects.
If you want to learn a complete range of martial arts skills, you can do this too.


20 years master/disciple relationship

For 20 years Master Waller was the disciple of kung fu master Peter Southwood. 
The bai shi ceremony and tea ceremony took place in 1990.
Master Waller had more than 500 private lessons with Peter and taught in Peter's class (Bradford Yang Style Tai Chi Association) for a number of years.

As a regular guest at Peter's house, Master Waller explored the art(s) at length and had countless debates/discussions/conversations concerning the nature of the internal arts.
Much of our syllabus is derived from Peter's teachings.


A good instructor should be capable of demonstrating tai chi self defence without hurting you.
They can demonstrate striking power on a focus mitt.

Do not be afraid to ask questions.

Gauge the effectiveness of what they show you:
  1. Did it work?
  2. Did they compromise themselves? Were they over-committing?
  3. Was there any adverse feedback?
  4. Did they allow for multiple attackers?
  5. What did it do to the opponent?
  6. Were they forcing an outcome? Or did it flow?
  7. Was it easy to perform?
  8. Smooth or jarring?
  9. Was it hurried and quick? Were they calm and composed?
  10. Can they evade an armed opponent?



Learning tai chi can be a life-changing experience.
But it is not something that forces change.

You can continue to live your life as you see fit.
Any subtle changes to your quality of life will occur because they feel natural and appropriate.


Take it easy

Tai chi differs from most forms of exercise because it doesn't expect too much from you.
The aim is to relax and only do what is comfortable.

There is no pressure or competition involved, no need to perform or be the best.


What's in it for me?

Modern life is busy.
People have diverse interests, complex social lives and demanding work commitments.
Investing time in a new endeavour is a risk.
It is important to start out by weighing the pros and cons; so that you can determine what you are getting for your money and effort.


The school has a friendly approach to the art and let’s people take things as slow or as fast as they would like. Whether that is for health reasons or to learn tai chi chuan. Master Waller’s skills are immense and it is a privilege to be taught at such a high level.

It has certainly affected my way of life physically and psychologically. I had suffered from a hip problem for years and it hasn’t bothered me for ages now. I believe this is because I have trained my posture correctly through the exercises taught by Master Waller. Also I see the world differently now, a lot calmer and relaxed...
The tai chi chuan training is intense and not for everybody but if you put the time in you will quickly become skilled in an art that is an extremely effective self defence mechanism.



Clarity arises when we become capable of appreciating simplicity.
When we notice small things. The details.

Instead of pursuing greater and wider experiences, we begin to notice what is right in front of us.


Character development

Kung fu training offers many tests of character: behavioural, psychological and emotional.
The master is very keen to see how the student responds.

The key concerns are: tempering the ego, gaining
composure, learning patience, valuing peace and having a tranquil mind.



Kung fu is ultimately a journey of discovery; simultaneously uncovering the art and ourselves.

The subjects and insights revealed in our
training have ramifications beyond class.
We can take new skills,
methods and attitudes into all aspects of life.


Key principles

A tai chi instructor should possess these generic skills:
  1. An understanding of the following:
    - The Art of War
    - Chuang Tzu
    - I Ching (Book of Changes)
    - how to teach
    - mutual arising
    - Tai Chi Classics
    - tao
    - Tao Te Ching
    - te (essence)
    - tzu-jan (of itself so)
    - yin/yang
    - zen
  2. The ability to explain and demonstrate:
    - 13 postures
    - 4 ounces of pressure
    - 6 balanced pairs
    - change
    - chin na- fa jing
    - folding
    - groundpath
    - jing
    - mushin (surrender/immersion)
    - neigong
    - opening & closing
    - reeling silk
    shen (emotional content)
    - sinking & rooting
    - softness
    - substantial & insubstantial
    - sung
    - weaponry
    - wu nien (not preparing)
    - wu wei (not forcing)
    Yang Cheng Fu's 10 essential points
    - zanshin (continuing mind)
  3. The application of the tai chi principles in self defence:
    - without emotion
    - without being tense
    - without opposing the incoming force
    - without necessarily hurting the assailant
These precepts are not something that you can expect to master overnight. They are what make the art 'tai chi'.
The list is not comprehensive.


Insights & wisdom

The study of kung fu is about learning from what is taking place.
All situations in
life offer opportunities for insight, wisdom and growth.

class, the lessons teach the principles, skills and biomechanics of kung fu.
It is up to the student to consider the lessons and to engage with the material. That way, self-reliance is cultivated and the true answers are found within.



Balance is maintained through minimal energy expenditure, economy of action, emotional stability and meaningful use of speech. 

Action is entirely
proportionate to the demands of the situation.


Learn the basics

Tai chi teaches certain basic skills:
  1. How to connect the limbs to the torso
  2. How to yield
  3. How to create space
  4. How to be flexible
  5. How to work without tensing-up
  6. How to be composed
  7. How to move your whole body
  8. How to be loose and heavy
  9. How to go with the flow
  10. How to respond without thinking
These skills are accomplished by implementing the key principles.



Kung fu is concerned with peace and tranquillity, finding it and working at it.
Modest and understated, the art is the perfect antidote to the pressures of modern life.

The training encourages people to consider how they live their lives and open-up to new choices, options and alternatives.



Quality is what you really should be seeking from a tai chi class.
It is far more important than gratification, or confirmation of your expectations.

But what constitutes 'quality'?

To answer this, you need to have some measure of understanding regarding the essence of tai chi.
How can you assess the quality of something if you do not even understand what it is?(Consider doing some research...)


Mrs Waller

Kung Fu TV series

In the early 1970's the TV series Kung Fu offered a beguiling glimpse into the world of Chinese martial arts, along with their associated philosophies and teachings.

This simple show inspired a generation to study kung fu and learn more about the art.
The noble characters, quiet manners and gentle lessons imbued the viewer with a feeling of inner calm.


Tai chi is not just a part-time activity for Master Waller - he lives and breathes it. His devotion is obvious, and he continually works hard to review and refine the syllabus. His breadth of knowledge about tai chi and bagua is phenomenal (both physical and philosophical), and he thoughtfully presents it in a very clear and concise way.

The classes are structured but varied, and the teaching is enthusiastic. This is supplemented by an amazingly in-depth website and a range of excellent DVDs and workshops. The exercises and the form do not consist of meaningless or empty movements - everything is done and practiced for a very practical reason (or, usually, multiple possible reasons).

 The more I learn, the more I'm amazed at both the depth and simplicity of what we're being taught, and also Master Waller's depth of knowledge and understanding - there seems to be no end to it.



There are countless challenges within our curriculum...

Some are martial in nature.
Others require some degree of study and thought.
Many question your character and your attitude, prompting introspection and perhaps re-evaluation.

It is not our role to judge you or criticise you.
We aim to provide a mirror, so that the crucible of hardship will cause you to reflect.


Chill out

Tai chi is an excellent way to encourage staff to relax and unwind during the busy day.
It reduces stress, improves health and generates a sense of well-being.
People who train tai chi are less likely to be ill or off-work sick.
The atmosphere is informal, fun, relaxing and calm.
We offer the opportunity to explore the art without pressure or judgement.


Igniting the spark

Creativity needs stimuli.
 You cannot suddenly become creative.
You need 'triggers' - things that cause wonder and curiosity.

Our aim in the class is to provide things that engage the mind and the imagination.

We want free-thinking, creative, insightful students. People who are capable of taking the initiative.
When we expose you to information, we hope that you will explore it.
And let it ignite your life.


The school database

In order to support and supplement lessons, Master Waller has written a 1300 page database - Neijiaquan: The Inner School.

It was designed to be an on-line study resource for our students to use.
Neijiaquan is the most detailed tai chi resource on the web and has up to 1 million readers a year.