At all the appropriate holidays and celebrations
everyone enthusiastically participates.
At the proper times they go to the proper places,
and eagerly do the proper things.

How can anyone who just drifts and wonders,
who can't even be sure of themselves,
Take seriously all these rituals,
all this herding?

(Lao Tzu)


What about tradition?

If you are a Christian, give to the poor.

If you are not, why let marketing and commerce bully you into feeling guilty for not buying presents? People are just trying to make money out of you. They want you in debt.
They want you spending more than you can afford. Your greed finances their greed.

If you recall the Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol you may remember that celebrating Christmas traditionally entailed giving gifts to the poor.
This is seldom the case these days...

There is nothing miserly about rejecting consumerism.


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?



Is boycotting Christmas the answer?

Well, it is one option. But there are others. Why not consider a return to the essence of Christmas?

Give to those who are genuinely suffering and in need.
Give freely and without any need for gratitude or recognition.

Re-discover Christmas through your kindness and your generosity...



Sifu Waller frequently gets asked to write a book on Taoism, Zen, taijiquan and/or baguazhang... Why doesn't he?

Because the mainstream perceptions of these subjects is quite simplistic. Think of Google or Wikipedia? Which results are favoured? The popular ones.

People want to hear what they expect to hear.


 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.



You can also understand Sifu Waller's insistence on a certain level of fitness for the martial side. Anyone that thinks Taiji is for old people has clearly no idea what the total art is about.



Everyday Zen

Zen koan:

One day Banzan was walking through a market. He overheard a customer say to the butcher, "Give me the best piece of meat you have." 

"Everything in my shop is the best," replied the butcher. "You can not find any piece of meat that is not the best." 

At these words, Banzan was enlightened.


What does this mean? Sifu Waller will help you here. The butcher maintains that all the meat he sells is his best. This cannot be true because by definition, best requires worst as contrast; a duality. One defines the other.

It is akin to having 'priorities'. You cannot have multiple priorities since the word priority literally means that which comes first. Everything that comes next is therefore of secondary concern?

Similarly, the phrase 'multitasking' is an IT term adopted by mainstream companies to suggest that a person juggle several priorities simultaneously. As the koan indicates, this is impossible.

In IT, multitasking is the illusion of simultaneity, not the practice of it. Now, that is ZEN.


Physical Education

Physical Education at school should actually educate people on physical matters:

How to use your body in a healthy manner
• Sport is relegated to an after school club for those who are 'sporty'
Kids who have postural/gait/movement issues should be given specialist rehabilitation in order to restore healthy body use
Personal hygiene and cleanliness should be taught
Ergonomics - sitting, lifting, good usage
Anatomical knowledge; leverage, balance, strength, stance, poise etc
How to avoid strain, discomfort, injury
Everyday body use


Boycott Christmas?

If you have no desire to waste hundreds of pounds on pointless gifts - in a celebration of greed and obedience - then you could boycott Christmas altogether...


Non-Christian Christmas?

If you are not a Christian, what exactly are you celebrating over Christmas?
Why are you wrapping up all those presents, sitting through family meals and over-indulging?
For what? In aid of what? Tradition? For the sake of it? Why? It is far less expensive not to bother.

If you are having Christmas in order to over-eat, get drunk and indulge yourself, what does that say about your character?
Greetings Sifu Waller: I like your Xmas views.

Margot & I decided no presents for each other this year.
Well that is not strictly correct. I give Margot $210, she gives me $210.
We then pool the $420 & send it to India where a Tibetan Buddhist Monk's father will have an operation and regain his sight.

I think I am starting to get that Christmas feeling again.

4 oz is the result of internal strength. A cat touches lightly because it is already buoyant. An average person, trying to give 4 oz, collapses their frame. Without internal strength, 4oz is conceptual.

(James French)


People ask me if I train everyday and act surprised when I say yes. Even Christmas Day? Of course.

To me, the question is akin to asking if I brush my teeth every day.

It reveals the mentality of the questioner. They obviously don't train, see training as being a chore and really don't get it. But that's OK. I'm not asking them to train.



Recommended reading

Dale Carnegie's How To Win Friends & Influence People has inspired all manner of books.
Many of his suggestions seem undesirable/unappealing at first.
This reflects our own stubbornness and unwillingness to change - therefore, an important lesson in itself?
Only through multiple reads (over years) does his wisdom become fully apparent...


Male oriented?

In martial arts, men usually have a distinct advantage.
Most systems were designed with the male physique in mind and often rely upon innate strength and aggression. 

Women may succeed with any martial art, but why train an art that doesn't favour the female body? 
Why not train an art that prioritises use of the legs, buttocks and torso?
Where composure is encouraged rather than machismo?



Most people have chronically tense muscles. This is often the consequence of over-working: the task has ended, but the muscle is still working. Another cause can be weakness in the muscles. The outcome of laziness. But these are purely physical factors.


I think Sifu Waller knows more about functional biomechanics that all the orthopaedic surgeons I have met put together. I rarely have clicking joints now since Sifu instructed me to work within the limits of the ‘click’ and then build up over time to a wider range.

(Dr David Cousins)



It is important not to get too hung up on taijiquan styles. The Tai Chi Classics were written by Chang San-feng, Wang Tsung-yueh and Wu Yu-hsiang. Wu created Hao style, but there are no known styles attributed to Chang or Wang. How come?


We had been wanting to start a martial arts class for a while and finally found Newcastle Tai Chi and figured we'd give it a go. Our only grievance is that we didn't find it sooner!
Honestly one of the most informative, realistic and enjoyable classes I've ever been to. Most self-defence or martial-arts classes focus on patterns & sequences. In teaching Tai Chi, Sifu Waller understands and acknowledges that real life isn't like that - you don't patiently wait to get hit in the face before returning fire! Nor are fights purely about strength; with aspects of the syllabus requiring reading and completing (short) written assignments you get both a full body, and mind workout in one. The accompanying website is an absolute goldmine of information (both for the class and for general day-to-day living).
Very friendly and welcoming, can't recommend them enough.




Not many people attain 'internal strength'. They know the concepts, the words and the ideas. But when pressure tested, the result is always the same: they resort to conventional muscle use and that is not taijiquan. How come? A lack of investment in the training.


I joined Sifu Waller's class around two years ago, I wanted to join a school where I could learn and practice an original form of kung fu. I’ve been meaning to write a review for a while but since there are so many great facet’s to this class I struggle to do it real justice, you’ll have to come and try it for yourself! I’ll try to give a flavour of the benefits of the class, but what’s the use in reading the ingredients of a cake, you have to eat it to appreciate it.

Newcastle Tai Chi is a hidden gem, not only as the class is unpretentious and friendly but because we have a true master teacher who teaches us to use our body in the most optimal way to achieve maximum results with great ease. With correct application, a skilled student of Master Waller’s class will never have to brawl as they can finish the aggressor's intention and ability to fight without prolonged combat.

I can with confidence say every week Sifu Waller amazes even the most experienced of students, by the depth of his knowledge and insight plus the masterful execution of efficient applications with such ease that it is often humorous.

If you have the good fortune to spend a little time with Sifu you will quickly realise that Sifu has sincerely dedicated his life to acquiring knowledge and mastering skill in Kung Fu and Tai Chi. His dedication also translates to providing a dynamic framework for willing students to gain more than just knowledge and skill of this secretive internal art.

Sifu Waller teaches a great syllabus and classes complemented by a variety of focussed workshops, a web site that is like the encyclopedia and guide to not only Tai Chi but many aspects of personal victory and most importantly an earnest teacher that will continue to inspire.

I’m truly grateful and honoured to train under Sifu Waller, it is truly a great opportunity to learn from the ‘cream of the (martial world's) crop’.



Unnatural naturalness

Taijiquan requires the student to use their muscles in an unfamiliar, non-habitual manner. At first, this is very difficult. With practice, it becomes easier. Eventually, you forget that it is even taking place.


The level of knowledge Sifu Waller has as a martial arts teacher is profound to say the least. Whether you are an absolute beginner to any martial arts (which I was) or more experienced, Sifu will teach you not only how to train physically but mentally also. His approach is by far the most authentic in the North East, but does not come without hard work. If you want to improve your health, gain insights into body/mind & eastern philosophy and throw someone across a room with little to no effort -- this is the school to go for. It may just change your life for the better. It certainly has for me.

(Brett Cereza)


I have been involved in the world of martial arts since I was 8 continuing until the birth of my son. My son is now 6 so decided I wanted to return to training now I've turned 40. 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. Sifu Waller teaches the full art not just the commonly seen "health tai chi". This is a martial art that is subtle and effective, using body structure and biodynamics to achieve success. I can highly recommend this class for anyone with the passion and dedication to learn a true martial art.



 I think it's the ease and speed at which Sifu Waller does it. It's like a magician with a sleight of hand but obviously with potentially deadly consequences. It's amazing to watch and utterly awe inspiring.


It sounds weird but since we started Tai Chi, 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.

 Class is really fun and makes me look forward to Mondays!



I'm really enjoying the training! There is so much to learn, so I'm having to discipline myself to focus on what we are learning and try not to think about how much more there is! 

 The workshop was excellent. It was great to spend all that time on one concept and drill into it in more detail than is possible in a normal class. Plus the green tea lesson was great too, thanks.



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! I felt great after the class and couldn't actually sleep as I was going over the things we had learnt in my head! It was very empowering to be able to complete the same exercises as the larger males and not feel at a disadvantage. My height came in quite useful in some of them! I was surprised how little force was required. It's a great group of people to work with.