The teacher

Every tai chi teacher possesses an in-depth grasp of the Art.
They know all about taijiquan, Taoism, The Tai Chi Classics, neigongjingprinciples, martial applications, adult learning and The Art of War.An instructor can readily interweave lessons from Taoismtaijiquanlife and cognition in an insightfulthought-provoking way.
I have recently being working through form applications. Surprisingly, they all felt quite easy and straightforward. They also worked very well. No difficulty at all. How come? Daily form practice. Sifu Waller did not have to waste time correcting my form during application practice. We could simply focus on the applications themselves. Correct form meant smooth, powerful, controlled, effective applications.


I have been interested in the internal arts, specifically Taiji and Bagua for many years but realised how hard it is to find someone teaching the authentic art. With Sifu Waller I finally found what I was looking for! Sifu's understanding and knowledge is outstanding. The syllabus is both deep and broad allowing a structured development of each student as they progress. This is a martial art that is subtle and effective, using body structure and biodynamics to achieve success. Anyone that thinks Taiji is for old people has clearly no idea what the total art is about. I can highly recommend this class for anyone with the passion and dedication to learn a true martial art.

Real knowledge is to know the extent of one's ignorance.



What your body remembers is what is important for you at this particular stage of development.
 What your mind forgets, your body is telling you it couldn't use anyhow at this time.


Something else

It is common for people to see taijiquan as just being another night school class, 'alternate therapy', a martial art or perhaps even dance.
Taijiquan is far more than this.
It is not an alternative to yoga, karate, Zumba or line dancing.

If you were to study Pilates for decades it is unlikely that the system would fundamentally change your temperamentworld viewrelationship with others and provide a viable system of combat.
Pilates may improve your quality of life, health and posture.
But that is all.

Taijiquan begins where the other exercise systems finish.
The physical work is just the start of your training; most of the real work is psychological.
Learning the system may completely change the way in which you live and to regard it as purely exercise is to see only what you want to see.
The training is also concerned with replenishing your life energy (qi).


Taijiquan advocates moderation; not taxing or tiring the body.
Rather than train for a lengthy period of time, aim to practice little & often.
20-30 minute increments, with rest breaks in-between is ideal.
Instead of pushing your body hard and putting it under duress, just do a little exercise.Resting will keep your concentration sharp and offset fatigue.


Happy Chinese New Year!

The real deal

Although many classes claim to be teaching taijiquan, very few are.
In order for the Art to qualify as taijiquan, it must adhere to the essence of the Art:
  1. Move your body in accord with The Tai Chi Classics 
  2. Train all 13 areas of study
  3. Maintain medically-sound body use
  4. Functionally apply the Art in a skilful 'taijiquan' way
  5. Employ the taijiquan principles at all times
  6. Embody the teachings of Taoism
  7. 13 energies should be made manifest at all times
  8. Every movement is a whole-body movement
Providing these criteria are met, you have an immense degree of freedom for personal expression and individual interpretation.

Sarcopenia (muscle loss with aging)

Adults over the age of 50 lose approximately 1% of muscle mass each year as a natural consequence of aging.
The only way to offset this is to engage in a strength building regime that can be sustained throughout your natural life.
Qigong and taijiquan qualify as ideal methods for accomplishing this goal.
However, daily practice is a must.


Tai chi or taijiquan?

What is the difference between taijiquan and tai chi for health?Taijiquan is a martial art.
Tai chi for health is a non-martial health exercise adapted from taijiquan.

Medical proof

The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi is one of many reputable books 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'.

The benefits of taijiquan emerge gradually over time. They are significant and long-lasting.
Taijiquan can be practiced throughout most of your life.


What makes tai chi 'tai chi'?

Slow motion movement, chilled out exercise or dance cannot be considered tai chi. 
Tai chi is more than this.
It adheres to certain parameters, guidelines and rules of practice.

Chinese way

Taijiquan and qigong offer an interesting way to exercise the body.
The work feels to be so mild that it is hard to believe that anything is really happening.
There is no sweating, straining or panting for breath. 
There is gain without pain.


A real human

In Taoism, a real human lives.
They speak with people face-to-face. They touch. They laugh. They have tangible real world, real life interaction.
They think things through. They feel.
A real human is deeply, intimately involved in their own life.

Research could save you time & money

would-be student should take the time to learn a little more about taijiquan before attending a class.
Do a little research.
The time spent will be worthwhile.
You do not want to waste years of your life learning something useless... 

Invest in form

Students normally underestimate the significance of form.
Bad form = bad taijiquan.
It is that simple.
Your form highlights and determines how you movehow you use your body.
Invest as much time as you can in form practice. The better your form, the easier all aspects of the taijiquan will be to pull off.


I’ve found the class a very positive experience and one which I want to commit to. I have felt welcome from the outset and the class is remarkably collaborative. The class seems really fresh and perpetually interesting
It’s refreshing to find people who practice and embody the Art they are studying, and none more so than Sifu Waller. With Sifu Waller there is a sense of ‘deep time’ - some teachers spend hours labouring points superficially but Sifu Waller gets right to the heart of the matter and can convey meaningful and stimulating guidance in a brief interaction. It would be terrifying to actually confront Sifu Waller - his power is remarkable and I've likely only had a glimpse. More remarkable is that he is willing to teach us his Art.



A lot of people sit too much: on the sofa, at a desk, in a car. The lower body becomes weak, the buttocks spread and the waistline grows.
Circulation is impeded.
Sedentary lifestyle/work habits are now considered to be a major cause of illness in modern society.


How do you move?

Form reflects the way in which you personally move in taijiquan.
If your form is clumsy, then you are clumsy and that is useless for combat.
Your taijiquan must be fastsensitive, alert, powerful and lively.
The cat-like grace of taijiquan encourages agile, strong movement, excellent poise, high energy levels and a feeling of vigour.


Over 50?


Is 50 the new 40?

With many modern people looking after their health, 50 may have become the new 40.
There are more women having babies at an older age and many people exercise well past their 50's.
This is good.
But how healthy are you personally?


Form is a training tool for whole-body movement and martial sensibilities.It enables the practitioner to train multiple skills in a systematic way without the need for additional exercises.
There are 5 stages to learning form: pattern, whole-body strength, applicationsshen and naturalness. 
Each form must also be mirrored.

Other forms of exercise

Most forms of exercise are repetitive and hard work.
Working hard is actually part of what makes it 'exercise'
Junk is the ultimate merchandise. The junk merchant does not sell his product to the consumer, he sells the consumer to the product. 

 He does not improve and simplify his merchandise, he degrades and simplifies the client.

 (William S. Burroughs)

Set-backs are OK

In meditation, set-backs are continual, on-going and expected. 
You just start again. And again and again. 
The trick is to keep going.
Do the same with dieting...


Don't be lazy

There are so many opportunities for exercise in everyday life:
  1. Walking
  2. Carrying shopping
  3. Washing the dishes
  4. Dusting
  5. Mopping the floor
  6. Vacuuming
  7. Hanging out laundry on the line
  8. Folding laundry
  9. Ironing
  10. Changing the bed linen
  11. Rotating the mattress
  12. Cooking food from scratch
  13. Climbing the stairs
Each of these activities is inexpensive and requires no special equipment.
Some activities contain multiple facets (such as cooking) and may involve, liftingsquatting and walking.


Taijiquan syllabus

Taijiquan students study all 13 areas of practice:
  1. Qigong (energy work)
  2. Brain work (meditation, awareness, metacognition)
  3. Neigong (whole-body strength)
  4. Jing (whole-body power)
  5. Chin na (seizing)
  6. Shuai jiao (take downs)
Exploring these 13 areas of study will offer a balanced comprehension of the Art.

Hard work

Running is hard work.
If you persist with running and enjoy the experience, the sensation of running and the endorphin can make running fun. 
Ultimately, it depends on the individual - we all like different things...


If losing excess fat and eating healthily was so easy, then everyone would be doing it.
In truth, it is not so easy.
There is no rational reason to eat junk food. It is fatty, contains very little nutrition and destroys your body.
We all know the logic, yet people continue to eat badly. Why is this?
Without long practice one cannot suddenly understand taijiquan.
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.

(Wang Tsung-yueh)



If you look at a popular form of exercise such as running, it is easy to see why people don't usually exercise.
Running is not mentally complex or physically sophisticated.
It essentially involves doing the same thing again and again and again.
This is why people often wear headphones and play music: they are bored.


I've been attending Sifu Waller's class for a year now and I can honestly say that it's been amazing. He teaches a complete syllabus which develops body mechanics, martial application and mental development in a way which I would not have believed before starting! His insights are amazing and I have certainly noticed the benefits of my learning and practice in daily life, even though I am very much in the early days of my study. The class offers teaching in a ruthlessly effective martial art, but much more besides. Like so many others in the class, I just wish I had found it earlier!

Exercise is boring


Does exercise need to be boring?

Does exercise need to be hard work?

2 reasons

There are 2 simple reasons why most people don't exercise:
  1. Boredom
  2. Hard work

Common knowledge

Most people know that eating healthily is good for you. They know approximately what to eat and how much. 
But how many people really eat well?

The same is true of exercise. Virtually everyone is well aware that exercise can significantly improve your health.
So why doesn't everyone exercise?

Little & often

Rather than train for a lengthy period of time, aim to practice little & often.
20-30 minute increments, with rest breaks in-between is ideal.
Instead of pushing your body hard and putting it under duress, just do a little exercise.Resting will keep your concentration sharp and offset fatigue.
When standing we should have a sensation of being more in our heels than the front of the foot. However, there should be no tendency to tighten the toes or lift them off the floor. Let the toes lie freely and allow the whole foot to 'soften'. Let the weight go down 'into' the floor so your feel grounded. This gives a firm base from which to think of lengthening upwards. Free your ankles so there is a little sway available to help discover upright balance. In order to enjoy standing without strain we should never get fixed in position.

(Noel Kingsley)


Imagine waking up each morning full of energy and vitality yet also feeling calm and relaxed about the day to come. It sounds like a miracle yet this state of abundant health and wellbeing should be our birthright. In our natural state we would face each day with joy, peace, and a deep connection with our bodies.

(Jane Alexander)

Complete martial art

The training is thought-provoking and insightful; with lessons about living, as well as about fighting.
There is nothing machoaggressiveconfrontational or competitive about taijiquan.
Health, wellbeing, character development and philosophical study are just as important as combat skills.


Invest in your wellbeing

Taijiquan offers a balanced approach to the cultivation of healthvitality and wellbeingThere is gain without pain.
The benefits of taijiquan are significant, medically proven and long-lasting:
  1. Stay calm
  2. Develop your memory skills
  3. Boost energy
  4. Increased brain activity
  5. Cultivate an unusual form of strength
  6. Improved joint function
  7. Feel balanced
  8. Increased stamina and endurance
  9. Release deeply-held muscular tension
  10. Increased flexibility
  11. Learn to relax naturally
  12. Improved poise and posture

With reaction time virtually nonexistent, the internal martial artist is able to change fighting techniques faster than an opponent can, and is able also to combine the normally separated areas of the body into one integrated, unified and powerful whole.
(Bruce Frantzis)


Not all tai chi is equal. Just as there are different models of cars, makes of computers and universities of varying calibres, so too are there different kinds of tai chi.

(Bruce Frantzis)

Varied exercise

There are no press-ups, no sit-ups, no circuit training, no weight lifting, no running, no sweating or straining.
Instead, we offer a comprehensive range of exercise methods designed to increase strength, balance, mobility, ambidextrous body use, alignment and coordination.
Students learn how to use their body in a healthy, natural, balanced and comfortable manner.  

Exploring self defence in our classes

Our martial students study a wide range of proven self defence fighting skills:
• Disarm an opponent
• Gain 
 See situations differently• Avoid entanglement• Avoid panic when faced with the unexpected
• Become mobile and nimble
• Use everyday objects as improvised weapons
• Understand how to use the human body to your advantage
• Cope with gangs
Adapt, change and improvise
• Strike rapidly and effectively

• Manipulate balance
• Lever joints, apply pressure and seize painfully
• Gain situational awareness
• Understand the nature of commitment and the value of non-commitment 
• Use gravity to your advantage
• Read body language, dress code and manner
• Deal with intimidation
• Maintain composure when working with others
• Give up the need for control and go with the flow
• Cultivate your sensitivity; feel rather than think
• Protect yourself from kicks whilst on the ground
• Use distraction advantageously

Rachel teaches women-specific self defence as an optional extra...


Meaning & purpose

Every taijiquan movement has a purpose.
The student must understand why they are doing the movement, otherwise that movement is meaningless and most likely incorrect.
What is the movement forHow does it operate?
We ensure that our students gain a comprehensive grasp of the Art.

A person who is considered to be fit in the West may be able to do over 100 push-ups, run a marathon, possess a beautiful, muscular physique – and yet not be internally healthy.
He or she may have a bad back, damaged joints, liver problems, unbalanced emotions, an inability to handle stress and sexual weakness or dysfunction.

(Bruce Frantzis) 


No sweat

If your training causes you to sweat, you are pushing and this is not the Way.
Ease off. Do less. Rest.
Patiently build your strength.
Whether you know it or not, you have come across a truly unique and special opportunity. You will not find teaching like this anywhere in the UK and, in all seriousness, probably nowhere else in the world. How fortunate is that?! You are among a lucky few who have the chance to learn real taijiquan. Don't squander the opportunity!
(Rob Veater) 

Everyday conflict

Life presents us with many situations that can be unpleasant:
  1. Hostile/dangerous motorists
  2. Macho behaviour
  3. Gangs
  4. Intimidation
  5. Bullies
  6. Problems at work
  7. Assault
  8. Threats
  9. Personal relationships
  10. Verbal abuse
Sometimes you may feel vulnerable and alone. You may feel helpless, afraid, angry and frustrated.



Taijiquan (supreme ultimate fist) is an advanced martial arts method based on the yin/yang principle.
This exciting martial art involves weaponry and unarmed combat.
The art is physically and mentally challengingbut in a very different way to mainstream martial arts.There are no press-ups, no sit-ups, no circuit training, no weight lifting, no running, no 
sweating or straining.
 Nothing can substitute for serious practice. Practice seriously, correctly and patiently. Use your brain, not just your body. Don't hide weaknesses in your training. Don't lie to yourself. If you cheat, you only cheat yourself.

 (Adam Hsu)


Most people are not capable of defending themselves, their loved ones or their belongings.
This is a disturbing fact.
Although society still offers the same dangers it always has, the general public's attitude towards personal protection has changed.
People are unable to protect themselves and imagine that a cocky 'attitude' and a big mouth will work against a real life assailant.


What is tai chi?

When most people say 'tai chithey mean tai chi for health.
Tai chi for health is a simplified, non-martial health exercise adapted from taijiquan. It is intended to improve fitness and wellbeing.

Working with Sifu Waller is excellent, we really enjoy it and it is so interesting to see how the form and foundation work develops into the martial work. It's interesting that the more you learn the more everything makes sense!  It sounds weird but since we started taijiquan, I feel like it has changed my thinking completely and made a real difference to my everyday life. I find it really great working to a syllabus and having structured learning that challenges me. A lot of activities you can pick up as an adult are very basic and stay at an low level so I tend to feel a bit stagnant.



We were training weapons in the park at 6:00 AM... 
It was dark and there are few dog walkers around. 
It felt like night. 
Sat a short distance from the basketball court was a large silent Labrador dog named "Dylan".

Dylan often comes to watch.
He sits without moving or lays full out and just watches the taijiquan. 
His owner tries to move Dylan sometimes but Dylan just sits watching. 
He is neither friendly nor unfriendly.


WE WERE FLYING very high, over fifteen thousand feet. The plane was crowded, without an empty seat. people from all over the world were in it. Far below, the sea was the colour of new spring grass, delicate and enchanting. The island from which we had taken off was dark green; the black roads and the red paths, winding through the palm groves and the thick, green vegetation, were clear and sharp, and the red-roofed houses were pleasant to look upon. The sea gradually became grey-green, and then blue. Now we were above the clouds, and they hid the earth, stretching mile upon mile as far as the eye could see. Overhead the sky was pale blue vast and all-enclosing. A slight wind was behind us, and we were flying fast, better than three hundred and fifty miles an hour. Suddenly the clouds parted, and there, far below, was the barren, red earth, with but little vegetation. Its red was like the glow of a forest on fire. There was no forest, but the earth itself was aflame, not with fire, but with colour; it was intense and startling. Soon we were flying over fertile land, with villages and hamlets scattered among the green fields. The earth was now divided after man's heart, and each cultivated section was held, possessed. It was like an endless multicoloured carpet, but each colour belonged to somebody. A river wound its way through it all, and along its banks there were trees, casting the long shadows of the morning. Far away were the mountains, stretching right across the land. It was beautiful country; there was space and age. Beyond the noise of the propellers and the chattering of the people, and beyond its own chattering, the mind was in movement. It was a completely silent journey, not in time and space, but into itself. This inward movement was not the outward journeying of the mind within the narrow or extensive field of its own making, of its own clamorous past. It was not a journey undertaken by the mind; it was an altogether different movement. The totality of the mind, not just a part of it, the hidden as well as the open, was completely still. The recording of this fact, here, is not the fact; the fact is wholly different from the words which record it. That stillness was not in the measure of time. Becoming and being have no relationship with each other; they move in entirely different directions; the one does not lead to the other. In the stillness of being, the past as the watcher, as the experiencer, is not. There is no activity of time. It's not a remembrance that is communicating, but the actual movement itself - the movement of silence into the measureless. It's a movement that does not start from a centre, that does not go from one point to another; it has no centre, no observer. It's a journey of the total being, and the total being has no contradiction of desire. In this journey of the whole, there is no point of departure and no point of arrival. The whole mind is still, and this stillness is a movement which is not the journeying of the mind.


A keen new starter may attend 24 classes over a 6 month period.
Sifu Waller took 1500-2000 lessons in taijiquan and baguazhang over a 25 year period. This helps to provide perspective. And perhaps humility?

Then, there's the home training to factor in?