As you like it

Taijiquan students who continue training long term tend to work at a pace that suits their own personality.
They may have lofty aspirations/ambitions, but these are tempered by the reality of who they are and how committed they are. This is quite a Taoist way of being



Sports can be significantly more expensive than martial arts training. And sometimes cheaper too. How much does the clothing cost? Gym membership? A season ticket?
As with all things, the cost of something is relative to what you think is appropriate and what you are prepared/willing to pay...

90 minutes

Dr Michael Greger (author of How Not To Die) recommends 90 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every day.

The three doctors who wrote The Okinawa Program maintain that tai chi - with its ancient origins and incredible health benefits - is the ideal form of exercise for modern people. 
If this sounds like a lot of exercise, why not chop it up into smaller increments spaced throughout the day? How many people watch 90 minutes of TV every day?



Tai chi is the one exercise that can universally help solve our growing health crisis. It has stood the test of thousands of years. We have a generation of baby boomers with increasing health problems; old people who are sick, in pain, fearful, and cranky; a middle class that is increasingly incapable of affording most of the drugs that are prescribed for their ailments; children that are flaccid, diabetic and asthmatic. People of all ages are addicted to drugs, alcohol, sugar, cigarettes, and caffeine. Stress follows almost everyone like a shadow. 
(Bruce Frantzis)


Not cheap...

Martial arts lessons are not cheap. Usually you should expect to pay for some (or all) of these items:

- Monthly tuition fees
- Annual membership
- Affiliation with a third party organisation/federation
- Insurance
- Licence
- Competitions
- Grading
- Uniform
- Patches/badges
- Equipment/weaponry

Many classes expect new students to buy a uniform within a month of starting a class. The new starter is also asked to pay annual membership, insurance and commit to a monthly standing order.


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)



Tai chi is about using your body carefully. That way, as you get older, your wear and tear is unusually low for a person of your age. 
The training is intended to 
improve health and wellbeing through frequent, regular practice using low effort.



People commonly believe that they can have it all without having to give anything up. This is simply naive. To have one thing you must give up something else.

Motor learning

For many people, their fitness regime does not take into account 'motor learning'. Motor learning is about the process of using the body, rather than simply exercising the body.

Agility, mobility, relaxed spontaneous movement, balance, structure, alignment, biomechanics, efficiency, ambidextrous body use, joint health, coordination, skill, emotional wellbeing or psychological flexibility.

Tai chi combines exercise with motor learning.

1950's China

Faced with a major health crisis, the People's Republic of China turned to Yang style taijiquan for a solution. Just think about what that means...Yang style taijiquan's reputation for health was so well founded that the government of China thought to employ the Art officially as a means of improving wellbeing.
The Art was introduced to schools nationwide.



The drawback with validating opinions is that they are drawn from memories and experiences. In a tai chi class, this is a problem.

A student may feel/think that an exercise or drill should be performed a certain way... so what?

Their opinion is worthless. What matters is the means, the outcome, the actual, the truth.

Doing things your own way can be martially suicidal; for you are drawing upon zero experience and no skill rather than many years of taijiquan practice.


Something for nothing?

The best things in life are free. This is what people say. Does this mean that friendship does not involve give and take? That marriage is one-sided?

Can you rear children properly without time, great effort and attention? What you get out of something is usually proportionate to what you put into it.

Most things in life involve some sort of exchange. You want a new car? You must pay. You want to learn French? You must study, set time aside, practice and persevere.

You want to eat healthily? You will need to research, buy fresh ingredients, prepare and cook the food.


Real life combat

Take a look at MMA people featured on-line. A few of these guys look like extras from a Mad Max movie; brutal, savage, criminal.

Martially, you cannot expect to neutralise them if you use force against their onslaught. 

On a level playing field they will destroy you


Free lessons?

A lot of people seeking tai chi tuition expect to be taught the Art free of charge. This is an interesting notion. It would be curious to see how the supermarket responds to such ideas...

Or the petrol station. Are banks offering free mortgages these days? The optician free glasses? Do masseurs treat people for free? What do personal trainers charge?
How much do colleges charge for night school courses? University tuition? Are most yoga classes free? Pilates? The gym? Piano lessons? Do they give away free driving licences too?



School children are encouraged to voice their opinions, beliefs, assumptions and point of view from an early age.

Many refer to this as "their own truth" - which in itself is clearly a naive misconception - and nicely highlights the issue.

They are voicing a perspective, not the truth. The truth (reality) IS, and is not subject to bias, speculation or opinion.


I very much enjoy your sessions - without any false flattery, you have been one of the best instructors I have had for any martial art. Your commitment, patience and dedication to the art and your students is something that I believe many instructors should aspire to. To your credit, Sifu Waller, you have shown me something that has I did not expect to find in taijiquan... a comprehensive fighting system in itself. I wish the rest of the MA community would wake up and see what you see.

I really enjoy the training and being able to get a glimpse of the more martial side, even though still at a basic level, is eye opening and good fun. I can definitely understand the need to have a good level of health and fitness before even attempting the intermediate syllabus!

It’s a more traditional approach to training. I would think any insights you make are more meaningful this way, rather than being spoon fed the detail. But if you are not fully awake, you would make no progress either. The importance of not only training but also reading and learning around the subject are even more important.

  Obviously I only have two years training, and have only done a tiny fraction of the syllabus but it’s starting to become clearer how thoughtfully put together the training is by Sifu. Getting our mindset right from the beginning, trying to get us to be proactive in our study rather than the “attender” level most people are at.

 It reminds me of the university approach: give the outline but expect the student to fill in the gaps and make the connections. Rather than the classic school approach of spoon feeding the pupil whether they take it in or not.



Convenient tai chi

If you are just looking for the cheapest class or the one that is closest to your home or is held on a particular night, then these concerns will hold sway. This criteria is solely based on personal convenience.