Summary of prices

Qigong (1 hour) £5
Qigong & tai chi (1½ hours) £7.50
Qigong & tai chi (2 hours) £10
3 week induction course £20
Private lesson (1 hour) £40
Workshop (1½ hours) £10
DVD £20
Membership (optional) £40/month 


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


Moving qigong

Moving qigong is similar to standing qigong except the onus is now upon smoothness and relaxation in movement.
No extraneous muscle usage is permitted.

Alignment, softness and breath are important.

Each exercise can be used as a training ground for whole-body movement.
Instead of just moving the arms and shoulders, every part of the structure is involved.
Even the simplest movement should spiral from the toes to the fingertips.

Performed correctly, this is just as difficult as standing qigong.
The body is trained to coordinate left and right, upper and lower, along with cross-patterning.
The muscles serve only to move the bones and must never stiffen or tense.
Tight joints prevent movement.
These exercises are designed to facilitate fluidity with strength.

Qigong is not something that is trained for a while and then discarded.
The student comes back to it repeatedly as they get better at kung fu.
As the ability to move with whole-body strength increases, the exercises can be re-evaluated and trained with a new emphasis.
A movement that once connected the arms to the back now becomes a means of training energy discharge.
Qigong changes as you change.


Tree hugging

Most students begin standing by ‘hugging a tree’/‘holding a balloon’ at chest height. 
Essentially, the arms are positioned in a circular shape and the fingers are lightly opened.

This innocuous exercise quickly becomes a challenge.
The skill is to maintain the posture without in any way ‘holding’ the posture.
Muscle usage must be minimal. Psychological ease and relaxation are paramount.

The posture must be natural and comfortable. Do not strain the knees by squatting.

The idea is to let go.

This is not easy.  A lifetime of tension will pain you and the temptation will be to hang on.
Liz Koch, author of The Psoas Book maintains that you must reach a stage where the body feels safe and begins to shake.
This shaking is quite disconcerting. It is not muscle fatigue. It is the product of deep relaxation.
All the stored tension in the joints and vertebra is being let out.

The shaking cannot be forced or contrived. It is accomplished by not-doing.
By stopping the habit of tension.
By letting go.

Daily standing for 15-20 minutes will produce the required outcome providing internal relaxation takes place.


Energy & muscle

Qigong operate on two levels simultaneously; they encourage the healthy flow of energy and they strengthen the structure of the body.

This process of building strength is seen by many people to arise from the energy flow alone but this is rather misleading.
Qi does not move the bones, muscles do. Nerves direct the muscles and energy fuels the entire system.
Without energy, nothing would happen, but without muscles there would be no strength.
Muscles turn energy into motion.

This is not to be confused with gym work or weight training. The degree of muscle usage in qigong must be minimal.
The aim is to employ the tendons, ligaments and fasciae for increased strength and support.

You must only use the degree of muscle strength necessary to hold the limb in place; and this is always far less than you first realise.



Start your quest for whole-body strength by standing still; qigong is the foundation of kung fu.

It involves static postures and slow-motion movements that are easy to perform.
The static postures are held for lengthy periods, often up to an hour.
The moving sets are small groups of exercises, with about 10 repetitions each.


Moving with kwa

If you can feel the kwa moving, it is possible combine a number of neigong for the second stage of uniting upper & lower.
In a bow stance, use the kwa to spiral the lead leg back towards the centre.

This serves to draw the thigh bone and squares the pelvis; it leads the energy up from the ground and into your hands.
It also lays the foundation for what may someday become centre-directed jing.


External strength

The conventional use of strength involves the application of force at a given, specific moment in time. If the aim is to break an arm, the individual exerts for a moment and the effect occurs.

The problem with this is that it is tiring. It wears you out.
Exerting the muscles is not very energy efficient because most of the effort accomplishes nothing; it feeds back into you when resistance is encountered.

'Internal power' is altogether different. Exerting never occurs.
The limbs are imbued with strength at all times, so an arm break would be performed with no more force than raising a glass of water to your mouth.

Where does the power come from?

It comes from unifying the body and projecting a wave of kinetic energy (jing) throughout the entire structure as and when necessary.
It is the wave that breaks the arm, not the local muscle strength.


Kung fu attitude

I teach in the UK and my wife is from Kuching, Borneo (Malaysia). We are continually surprised at the bad attitude we encounter from modern students in our own classes and other UK classes we hear about.

My wife is used to the Asian way and is appalled by how English students treat their teachers.

Reading Sifu Kenneth Ware's Kung Fu Instructor Facebook group (and others), it is great to hear that there is such a good kung fu attitude in the US:



Consider Newton's third law of motion: For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

The more force you apply, the more resistance you will encounter.
This is clearly counter-productive.

Slow, smooth, soft movements are a sure indicator of skill.


Why become a member?

• There is no membership fee
• The opportunity to study 
chin na, shuai jiao, baguazhang, taijiquan, hard qigong, neigong, self defence, san da, san sau and weapons
• The option of grading or not grading

• New 
members receive 2 free DVDs
• Work through the 
full curriculum
• Receive regular corrections, tips & pointers
• Request bespoke tuition
• Have an on-line personal progress page
• Use weapons 

• School database
• Seek training guidance and advice from Master Waller
• Wear a uniform
• Access to highly detailed school DVDs
• Pass belts (optional)
• Discuss theory and related philosophies with Master Waller
• Attend workshops, boot camp and class social events



One theme that Master Waller has been talking about with female self defence students is the idea of being taught to 'betray ourselves'.

Consider school or work:
Our body says that it is uncomfortable. Our minds are bored.
Yet, we are told to remain motionless and endure.
We know we don't want to be there but we are are forced to remain.
Always at our own expense.
The damage to the body is small but incremental.

In many facets of life we are conditioned to suppress our genuine, natural, healthy responses in favour of somebody else's agenda.
This is one reason why the tai chi and self defence in our school puts such emphasis upon healthy, comfortable body use and easy, familiar-seeming martial arts responses rather than blocky, confrontational options.    


What is membership?

Membership is about being part of the school.
It involves committing to monthly tuition fees, regular attendance and some measure of progress through the syllabus.
A member helps to keep the school open.

In return, a member has access to training opportunities, knowledge, skills and resources not available to non-members (i.e. members of the public or casual students).


Wanting something more?

Students seeking to explore our full curriculum are required to apply for school membership.
A school member can study either:
Members gain a deeper comprehension and discover the proven benefits of the art for themselves.
On-going tuition ensures consistent improvement. 


There are so many different dimensions to what Master Waller's class offers, it is hard to know where to start. The main thing for me is that it is great fun - I never expected that learning to hit and be hit, escape holds and put each other on the floor would make me laugh so much. 

This comes from Master Waller's unique approach, sharing his vast knowledge in a down-to-earth and non-macho way, which I think leads to the whole class being a warm and supportive place to be. 

The key thing is that it works, such simple things that have a really dramatic effect on your body, not a spiritual, abstract set of moves but real 'I do this, he falls down' stuff.  I can feel my own body responding now too - getting firmer, more balanced, more in control - and I think the qigong exercises are making my mind much calmer as well.


10 years in the North East

After 10 years of compromising standards in the face of a changing society, I celebrate 10 years in the North East by restoring my kung fu syllabus back to its 1995 format:
My only concession is that I have kept the coloured belts:

Pay-as-you-go students

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 functional new ways    
• 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.



Master Waller,

For more then a year now, I regularly read and study, think, feel and muse about your very, very clear notes in the A - Z you made on your website. I enjoy the A - Z tremendously. It is a big help for me in my bagua and qigong training.

I am a women of 47 living in Haarlem, a city near Amsterdam in The Netherlands. A good two years ago I started bagua training; it came unexpectedly on my path. I had been practicing qigong for a couple of years and felt by then that I wanted to develop and learn much more about the world of inner feeling. I didn't know that bagua existed. A small flyer I picked up somewhere brougt me to my present teacher.

Bagua took me of my feet. For 8 months I searched the internet feverishly for information about this (for me) appealing and fascinating, strange and difficult, profoundly philosophical art, reading every night. That is how I found your site. For me it still is one of the most excellent and clear sites that the internet has on offer about tai chi and bagua. It is because you give a lot, but no advice.

It took me work, yes indeed, to get back to understanding that you have to do it yourself. My way of living has changed completely. Besides training qigong and bagua, I am now also a student of TCM. Now that I am becoming calmer and clearer (and sweating a lot less!), I begin to comprehend the meaning that every master can only show you the way. Here, in Holland, I am very lucky to have found two very good, traditional teachers in bagua and qigong. Your A - Z has become a kind of 'screen teacher' for me.

Just wanted to let you know. Thank you.

With my best regards,
(Saskia Wolda)


Structured training

We offer kung fu students a clear path of progress through our syllabus. 
They know where they are, what they should be working on and have an idea of what comes next.
Everything is taught in easy, simple, bite-sized pieces.

At each stage of the curriculum the student possesses clearly defined skills that can be proven in practice.
We know how to organise material in a structured manner and teach it systematically. This way, each student is free to progress at their own pace.


What is the induction course for?

The induction course is for people who are seeking to practice with our school.

These 3 introductory lessons prepare the inductee for the training ahead; teaching basic skills and insights pertinent to our curriculum.


3 week induction course

New students undertake the course in order to gain an introductory understanding of the training.

• £7.50 per lesson or £20 for the 3 week course 
• 3 consecutive classes
• Explore new skills every week
• Receive corrections, tips & pointers
• One-to-one help throughout the course


The perfect exercise

In modern life, time is in short supply and a person wants to get the best possible benefits from any new endeavour they undertake.
Harvard Medical School suggests that taijiquan may indeed be the perfect exercise.
It combines 8 crucial ingredients:
  1. Awareness (including mindfulness & focussed attention)
  2. Intention
  3. Natural, freer breathing
  4. Embodied spirituality (including philosophy)

These 8 taijiquan components offer a multi-layered approach to the cultivation of health, vitality and wellbeing.
The depth of study available within a bona fide system of taijiquan is incredible; a student can quite literally explore the art for their entire lifetime and still discover new mysteries, secrets and skills.

As a martial art, taijiquan is unparalleled in its sophisticated biomechanics, diversity of combat skills and variety of application.

Not talking

It is good to talk, yet talking is also a problem.
If your mind is never still and quiet, you cannot possibly feel relaxed and at peace.
For many people talking is a compulsive habit, serving to mask the silence within.
Without the chatter, people feel alone and isolated.

Try this: become aware of your own need to talk.
When you feel the urge to speak arise, let it pass again.
Gradually, you become quieter inside and begin to notice more.
You speak when necessary but your sentences shorten, you are more succinct and direct.
You feel calmer. 


What is silence?

Silence occurs when the mind becomes quiet and still.
This process cannot be forced. The mind must naturally settle and relax.

Taijiquan creates a situation where your attention is absorbed with where you are and what you are doing, so the mind becomes quiet automatically.

Unlike concentration, you allow the mind to open and become expansive.
You feel, hear and see everything around you.
chattering of your thoughts will begin to fade.


Notice things

The first indication of a growing sensibility for quietude lies in your capacity to notice the world around you.
Instead of driving past in your noisy car, you walk slowly.
You see.

Insignificant-seeming things catch your attention: a butterfly, a leaf, a flower, the sound of an insect or the call of a bird.
If you experience genuine awe and delight, then you are learning.



To find lost places you need to become a little lost yourself.
Not lost in drink, drugs, illusion or stimulation.
Quite the opposite.

You will need your wits about you.
You need to step off the familiar pathways of your life and walk somewhere different.



For many years the disciple must avidly seek to 'steal their teacher's art'. This involves being exceedingly cunning, diligent and earnest.
The aim is to pass belts rapidly and skilfully; to race through the syllabus.

The apprentice must work much harder than they expect to. Harder than every other student in the school. They must outpace all competition.
They must meet the master's standards, not their own

The apprenticeship stage lasts for the equivalent of 7 years full-time study: approximately 10,000 hours of quality tuition and practice.


Conventional training

External training methods such as push-ups, running or sit-ups are not part of the kung fu repertoire.
We do not need to train weights either.

Conventional training will not necessarily improve your kung fu
Many exercises actually create muscle tension, and tension impedes the natural movement of the muscle itself.
The slower the muscle can move, the less effective you are in combat.



Set aside talk about relaxation, qi, softness and other concerns...
Your body is flesh and bone.
It is moved by muscles.
In order to be strong, agile, flexible and adaptive in combat - you need to strengthen your body.


Eight internal styles

There are only eight known styles of internal martial art:

• Taijiquan (supreme ultimate fist/absolute boxing)
• Baguazhang (8 trigrams palm)
• Xingyiquan (form/intention fist)
• Liuhebafa (water fist)
• Tongbeiquan (spreading power from the back fist)
• Ziranmen (natural fist)
• Bajiquan (eight extremities fist)
• Yiquan (mind fist)/dachengquan (the great accomplishment) 

We teach the first two arts: taijiquan and baguazhang.



A common misconception is that any martial art offers the opportunity to reach an 'internal' level of practice i.e. a karate man can become internal.
This is not true.

Internal forms are quite different to external ones.
They were designed to be a vehicle for the exploration of a very unique way of moving and using the body.
ovement is initiated by the centre (not by the hips) and entails moving every part of the body as one fluid unit. The joints do very little work.

The combat skills and sensibilities of the internal martial arts require a perceptual shift: blending, yielding, listening, stickiness. 
There is no blocking, struggling or forcing involved.


What is internal?

Exploring the internal martial arts is not the same as practicing a mainstream/conventional/external martial art.

There are many different considerations:
Conventional martial arts Internal martial arts
Obvious Hidden
Combat is the main concern Health and combat equally important
Straightforward Significantly more detailed and sophisticated
Favour military-style warm-up exercise Strength is built using unconventional means
Uses existing body habits Body must be trained to move in a manner that is unfamiliar
Mechanical Organic, natural
Jerky Flowing
Typically focuses on striking or grappling, seldom both Striking and grappling trained together
Blocking/resistant, force versus force 4 ounces of pressure, stickiness, sensitivity
Favours the younger, stronger student Age is less of an obstacle
Fighting/competition Incapacitation is the aim
Aggression/emotion Composure
Forcing Allowing, leading, misdirecting
Speed Spontaneity and timing
Isolated limb use Whole-body movement
Extended Close-quarters
Linear Circular
Planning Listening, sensitivity, adaptation
Struggling Blending
Being in your head thinking about what to do next Being in the body and sensation-oriented
Denying your vulnerability Feeling your vulnerability
Contracted, locked musculature Loose, fluid and relaxed musculature



Simple things are valued more than complexity. At the heart of everything lies the essence.
This is what matters. Not the outward show.
And the essence is always simple.

Strike to the heart of all things in life and you interact with the real.

Remain at the periphery and you dance with shadows and dreams. The maya of the floating world.


Thought is the verbalisation of influences.




There are quiet places to be found in every city and every town.
You just have to seek them out.

Lost places, where people seldom go.
Leaves overgrown the streets and wildflowers are abundant.
Nature flourishes.
The air is cleaner and there are no cars and few people.


A bubble of stimulation

Most people exist in a bubble.
They wake in their own home, get into their car and then go to work/shops/wherever.
There is seldom any time spent in the fresh air.

Homes, cars and public places are usually filled with noise and stimulation.
Visual images, flickering screens, twittering voices, gossip...
Where is the peace in your life?
The stillness?



Find time for solitude in your life. Switch everything off and walk away. 
No phone. No iPod.
Leave your car behind and make sure that you travel alone.

Get to know yourself again.

Spend some time thinking, feeling, contemplating and living.
Go out in the early hours and walk along the surf. Hear only the splash of the sea and the babble of your own thoughts.
In time, your mind will calm and the inner noise will fade.

If you cannot find somewhere nice to go, spend time alone in a room or simply walk the streets.

Do not try to share this with anyone else. Set aside your insecurities and stand alone. Be strong. Be you.
This is a journey for you alone.

When you understand the peace of aloneness, you will become silent within.
This will permeate your life and you will also know silence without.
You will have found your quiet. And you will know that it is not meek at all. It lives. It breathes.
Potential resides within.


Direct transmission

One major feature of discipleship is the hands-on one-to-one training with the master.
This is vital.
Hundreds of hours of training are required.

The student must literally 'feel' how the master moves, learn their secrets, their rhythm, their timing.
The physical is-ness of the art cannot be passed-on by words, by watching or by willpower.
It must be experienced through touch.

This process is beyond words.



Awareness makes us acutely conscious of our ignorance. It wakes us up. We are not enlightened or saintly. 
Our perspective has broadened a little and some barriers have fallen. Nothing more.

An awakened person can only feel happiness and freedom when it is not at the expense of others.
What use is freedom when another person pays for your pleasure?
Compassion compels us to live a considerate life. A life of kindness and equanimity.
We see balance. We see discord and harmony. We see possibilities.

Keeping quiet is essential.

If you draw attention to yourself, you tread on somebody else's feet.
This creates discord.
It is far better to remain silent and unknown. Anonymous and silent.

A quiet person does not parade their skills or demonstrate their accomplishments. They remain humble and reserved.


Obscurity was his nature, as well as his profession. The byways of espionage are not populated by the brash and colourful adventurers of fiction. A man who, like Smiley, has lived and worked for years among his country's enemies learns only one prayer: that he may never, never be noticed.

Assimilation is his highest aim, he learns to love the crowds who pass him in the street without a glance; he clings to them for his anonymity and his safety. His fear makes him servile - he could embrace the shoppers who jostle him in their impatience, and force him from the pavement. He could adore the officials, the police, the bus conductors, for the terse indifference of their attitudes.

But this fear, this servility, this dependence, had developed in Smiley a perception of the colour of human beings: a swift, feminine sensitivity to their characters and motives. He knew mankind as a huntsman knows his cover, as a fox the wood.

(John Le Carre)



Free of pride and vanity we capable of being the best that we can be...
Not the top of the class. Not the one with the medals and the trophies or the public acclaim.
No, we aim far higher than this.

We reach our own potential. We grow into ourselves. We see who we are and stop 'becoming'.
This is done in order to please ourselves. For its own sake. Not for a reward. Not for approval.
There is no need for attention. We do not require a witness or an audience.

We excel because anything less would be half a life. A waste of the possibility before us.



Humility cannot be cultivated. It comes from perspective and awareness.
Knowing that we are only one human amongst billions gives perspective.
Realising that humans are just one species amongst millions that share our world is a humbling experience.
The complexity of Earth and all its intricacies is staggering, yet beyond our world lies a universe of possibility.

Arrogance. Pride. Conceit. Vanity. Pomp. Self-importance. Ego. What silly creatures we are.
We are incredible specks of life; both wonderful and deluded. Believing ourselves Gods yet enslaved by our cultures and traditions.

Humility comes from the realisation that existence is unimaginably vast, and we are imperceptibly insignificant.
Although one human make indeed make a mark within our own culture, what does it matter when the entirety of existence is your meter?


Don't know something?

Don't know what something means? That is fine, and good. 
See it as an opportunity to grow and expand.

Simply saying that you don't know and then stopping signifies an unwillingness to change, to evolve as a person, surely?

We all encounter things every day that we don't understand or don't know about.
Be curious. 
Expand your horizons.
Dare to grow, to change.
Don't just talk.

Confucius said:

"I do not enlighten those who are not eager to learn, nor arouse those who are not quick to give an explanation themselves.

If I have presented one corner of the square and they cannot come back to me with the other three, I should not go over the points again."

See this as a friendly challenge. An invitation to broaden yourself?

In friendship,

Master Waller

Somebody and nobody

Awareness offers at least two sides to all situations. 
Taoism shows us that we are all unique and special. We all have a gift to offer. 

At the same time, if everyone is special, then surely no one can be special? 
What is remarkable about being the same as everyone else?

We are all unique yet we are all the same. It seems to be a paradox but there is no paradox. 
Any apparent paradox exists in our own thinking.

It is possible to be two things simultaneously without any contradiction occurring. 
The contradiction lies with words and thoughts, not with reality.

Every person on this planet is both somebody and nobody.


Do not throw yourself away. No value will result, and you will lose your dignity.
Remain modest, quiet and correct.

(I Ching)



A disciple cannot claim lineage because they are at the beginning of their lineage journey, not the end.

The life of a disciple is hard.
They must commit many hours every day to meaningful training, attend class every week, private lessons every week, workshops, lineage sessions, boot camp and any other opportunity for training.
They must undertake challenges, reading assignments and tests of sincerity.
The disciple also begins to assist with the running of the school, making decisions, covering lessons and perpetuating the art.


Questioner: My mother has been dead for some years. Quite recently I have lost my father also, and I am full of remorse. My sorrow is not only remorse, but also the feeling of suddenly being left alone. What am I to do? How am I to get over it?
Krishnamurti: If one may ask, do you suffer for your father, or does sorrow arise from having no longer the relationship to which you had grown accustomed?

Questioner: I don't quite understand what you mean.
Krishnamurti: Do you suffer because your father is gone, or because you feel lonely?
You are suffering, surely, not for your father, but because you are lonely, and your sorrow is that which comes from self-pity.




Qigong gets easier with practice. 
Your body becomes conditioned and you no longer notice the difficulty.

Students who train regularly at home find that the exercises become ingrained quite rapidly. They gain a fantastic sense of relaxation and feel energised. Their bodies also become far stronger and resilient. 
When you feel good, it is easy to exercise. You want to exercise.


Becoming a disciple

The first step on the path to claiming lineage involves becoming a lineage disciple.
This is easy enough.
You simply need to meet the qualifying criteria, undertake the bai shi ceremony and start training at this level.



A taijiquan person does not seek success and recognition. They have no use for such things.
Life is complex enough and riddled with hardships without inviting the scrutiny of others or indulging our own weaknesses and vanities.

The simple life is the preferred one. No fuss. No bother. No fame. No authority

We do not live such a life because it is expected of us. That would be false. A conceit.
The decision to be this way occurs naturally and spontaneously.
No other way would seem appropriate.


100 day challenge

We encourage all students to commit to a daily regime for 100 days. 
No days off. No respite. No lies. No excuses. Day after day after day of training.
This will lay the foundation. 

After 100 days you should be fitter. The habit of training each day will be ingrained.



Beginners focus upon gaining a basic familiarity with the exercises.

Intermediate students seek to improve their biomechanical efficiency in order to develop 'obvious power' (ming jing). 
This stage of practice is all about coordinated movement: "square on the inside, round on the outside."
The student avoids locking their joints, tensing muscles, leaning, stooping and using force.

Experienced students study hidden power (an jing), making the movements smoother, more flowing and less overt.
Every exercise is infused with neigong.

An expert achieves refined power (hua jing) by doing most of their work internally.


Cord: Who are you?

Blind shepherd: Whoever you think I am or want me to be, I am.

(The Silent Flute)


Hard qigong

'Hard qigong' refers to qigong exercises that are martial in nature. They are specifically intended to augment the kung fu syllabus.
The main purpose of hard qigong is strength.
Unlike gym work or weight lifting, nothing is forced.

Many hard qigong exponents train this way in order to perform feats of strength and endurance. This is not really our focus.