Taijiquan encourages the student to exercise with intelligence, to 'listen' to what the body is telling you.

If something feels too heavy, too hard, too taxing... then it is a warning.
If a joint feels sore, then do not ignore it.
If the same injury occurs again and again, you risk long term damage that will eventually affect your
quality of life.

Pain is not something to be fought or ignored.
It is something you must listen to and learn from. It is something you want to avoid experiencing altogether.


Taijiquan skills

Combat sets require the student to apply kung fu skills effectively.
You cannot simply use force and expect success.

The sets are ruthless in their ability to expose faults in your practice.
Only by adhering to their lessons and requirements can the student apply kung fu correctly in combat.


Gaps and deficiencies

It can be quite a shock for a student to find out that their form is actually a mess.
The form may look aesthetically pleasing, yet under pressure it falls apart.

Taoism advocates eating the fruit, not the flower.
The form must be functional, effective and comfortable.
If your structure and movements fail in combat, what exactly are you training when you practice your form?



Sets are derived from the form.
They use movements from the form against an attacker.
Therefore, they also serve to test your skill with form. If your form is imprecise and sloppy, your application will not work.

A combat set provides an opportunity for a student to really tidy-up their form and gain insight into how the form can be used.
Errors that may seem unimportant in solo practice may prove disastrous in partner work.


Be here, right now

If you enter a busy gym, there is usually very loud music designed to 'numb-out' the mind whilst exercising.
This is not wise.

Whenever the body is being used, the mind must be present, aware and alert.
Spacing-out is dangerous.
It can result in poor alignment, exertion and injury.



The partnered exercises in the syllabus are about using the form.

Many of the skills acquired from pushing hands (and the associated exercises) are quite subtle and require significant ongoing practice.
Sensitivity, awareness, stickiness and peng are cultivated patiently.
Such drills are not directly martial.
You could not apply the drills in combat, but you would use the skills taught by the drills.



The 70% rule

The 100% capacity approach is the 'no pain, no gain' attitude to exercise.
It opens you up for strain and injury because you are fully committed (and often forcing) at all times.

Most people exceed their natural range of safe movement frequently throughout the day without realising it.
If you remain well within your limits at all times there is less risk of injury.


Hungry ghosts

The deeper into the lineage training the student progresses, the harder it is for them to return to lessons as a regular student.

Having reneged on promises and failed to live up to expectations (ours and their own), the student is typically tortured by their own demons.
Vanity, ego and pride lead to defensiveness and arrogance.
The student ultimately grows to resent Master Waller and eventually quits the school.

Apply with care...


Little & often

Instead of pushing your body hard and putting it under duress, just do a little exercise.
Keep it mild.
Encourage things to move, to stretch, to flex.

mindful exercise has been found to be more healthy than sustained bursts of hard activity.


Rachel gains 'advanced' instructor membership

Rachel has a black belt in taekwondo, a purple belt in kung fu and now an instructor rank in taijiquan.
Please join me in congratulating Rachel!
This morning Rachel received confirmation from the Tai Chi Union for Great Britain to say that they have awarded her an 'advanced' instructor membership.
Their decision is subject to final approval/ratification at the next general meeting.
Qualifying criteria:
- 5 years as assistant instructor
- taijiquan slow form (regular & mirrored)
- sabre form (regular & mirrored)
- 2-person stick form (regular & mirrored)
- staff form (regular & mirrored)
- walking stick form (regular & mirrored)
- jian form (regular & mirrored)
- qigong (various)
- pushing hands (various)
- meditation (various)
- theory & philosophy
- neigong (various)
- stick drills (20)
- broadsword drills (15)
- self defence
- small san sau, silk arms, penetrating defences
- shuai jiao applications
- chin na applications
- form applications
- baguazhang palm changes (form), circle walking, mother palms, 9 palaces etc
- women's self defence (including syllabus design)
- bag work
- floor work
- self-massage (100)
- tao yin
- psoas exercises
- blog
- creating webpages
- administrating class
- registering new starters
- inducting new starters
- preparing the hall for class
- organising social events
- hosting social events
Rachel is currently working to improve her form, neigong, martial skill (kung fu), along with theory & philosophy.
The TCUGB membership means that Rachel can acquire her own insurance if she wanted to teach students/classes independently.
It also means that our students now have the benefit of 2 qualified instructors in the one training hall.


A couple of days ago, sitting in the train, I read the part about Girl's Night self defence from the information you send me. I laughed out loud a couple of times, people around me wondering what was the matter....

Well, this: apart from the fact that I really like the pointy, dry, kind of merciless humour of the text (is that correct English?), I find the involvement of tights and a real man to work with/on - amazingly convincing. The right ingredients. Together, of course, with the Asian/martial and multi-layered approach. I haven't read or heard anything of this kind before. It inspires me.

It is simply not acceptable that women and girls suffer from men's bad behaviour, in whatever way. It is simply not acceptable that we are kept naive.

I had to Google what Haarlem and surrounding areas had on offer for women's self defence. Most courses are Krav Maga or of the 'tips & tricks'- style. And: nothing for girls!!

I am inspired and thinking... I might have to do something about this. I still have to learn a lot myself, but, who knows - a seed is planted. I let you know.



Medical proof

The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi is one of many reputable records detailing how taijiquan can improve the health of virtually anybody.
Extensive testing around the world suggests that taijiquan is the nearest thing we have to the 'perfect exercise'.

Although the benefits of taijiquan emerge gradually over time, they are significant and long-lasting.
Taijiquan can be practiced throughout most of your life.
I really enjoyed Girl's Night, it was a real eye opener - just seeing those techniques which don't involve much physical strength but are so effective was really empowering. I think you're right, learning how to do it almost 'instinctively' is the aim. A great class; the first time I've actually thought self defence was realistic and possible.

(Karen Laws)


The centre

Neigong movement is initiated by the centre (not by the hips) and entails moving every part of the body as one fluid unit.
This may sound straightforward but involves years of
re-training the muscles.

Ultimately, the joints will do far less work - reducing wear & tear - and the
soft tissue (muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia) do more.
The muscles remain relaxed (not tensed) at all times. 


Tai chi chuan training

Most people don't realise that tai chi started life as a martial art...
150 years ago tai chi chuan was the pinnacle of the Chinese martial arts.
Hard to believe?

Tai chi chuan is only taught to students who join the school:

• Kung fu (combat)
• Self defence
• Weapons
• Qigong (energy work)
• Neigong (whole-body strength)
• Forms
• Pushing hands
• Meditation
• Theory & philosophy
• Chin na (seizing)
• Shuai jiao (take downs)
• Jing
• Form applications
• Kicks, punches, palm strikes
• Finger strikes, elbows, knees
• Accuracy
• Evasive footwork
• Optimal use of alignment
• Minimal movement
• Conservation of energy
• Defence against a knife
• Multiple opponents/gangs
• Joint locks
• Trapping
• Focus
• Stickiness
• Physical sensitivity and awareness
• Balance, rhythm and timing
• Throws
• Escape from holds
• Close-range combat
• Grappling
• Defence whilst on the floor


What do school members get for their money?

• Attend once or twice a week 
• Train up to 2 hours a night

• Fully-differentiated syllabus 
Authentic skills 
• High quality tuition • Professional learning environment

• Extensive range of skills available  • Address individual health concerns & training requirements
• Extremely thorough exploration of the art(s)
• Study new material every week

• Work through the 
full curriculum
• Receive regular corrections, tips & pointers
• Request bespoke tuition

• Access to highly detailed school DVDs
• Discuss taijiquan theory and related philosophies with Master Waller
• Attend workshops, boot camp and class social events
• Advanced level of understanding
• Follows the teachings of the Tai Chi Classics
• Explore
1300 page on-line taijiquan database with guidance from Master Waller