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
- arranging ang pow
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


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.



Pay-as-you-go students focus upon qigong, form and partner work exercises.
The benefits will affect your everyday life:

• Get fit
• Increase stamina and endurance
• Gain an unusual form of strength 
• Stress-relief 
• A calm mind and composed emotions
• Mobile joints, relaxed muscles and natural movement
• Boost energy
• Improved balance
• Use millennia old Chinese wisdom in everyday life   
• Meditation 
• Confidence and resourcefulness
• Improved skeletal alignment, poise and coordination

The exercises are low impact, do not strain the body and can be practiced by people of all ages.
The training starts simple but becomes more challenging as you progress.

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.


Walking stick from excerpts

Huge risk

Undertaking lineage is a huge risk for a student.
 They are being offered absolutely everything that the master knows and can teach.
 This is wonderful.

 But, if the student fails to uphold their end of the bargain, they are in a bad spot.
 Essentially, they are rejecting the totality of the syllabus.
 Should the student seek to remain with the school, this poses obvious problems.
 Having being offered everything and declined, what now is the student expecting from the master?

 Are they hoping to cherry pick from the syllabus?


What is exercise?

In order to exercise the body a person must work the muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, nerves and cardiovascular system in a coordinated manner.
There are many different approaches.

The Western way is usually to push and punish the body.
The taoist method is to treat the body with care and respect; to work the body gently and carefully.


Don't expect to be treated in an English way

Asian attitudes are different to English attitudes.
This is a Chinese martial arts class, so expect Asian values to predominate.