Joan Kay and I had decided that we both needed to look at a form of exercise for the over 60's - however as we are moderately fit this taxed our minds for a number of months - until Joan came across this school in Newcastle run by Sifu and Rachel Waller.

The first 3 weeks are run as a taster session and to give an insight into the ways of QiQong - pronounced Chi Gung. How could I sum this exercise up, well after a 2-hour session your body is aware you have had a thorough work out.

Its now been 2 months and as we slowly begin to understand the moves, its all beginning to click and feel natural.

Having been involved with sport all my life - I only wish we'd found this 30 years ago. Its all about being calm and at one with yourself whilst exercising.

There's a group of 40 students who are the most friendly group of people I've come across in recent years. We have been made to feel very welcome and special - so if you think you are too old !!!! think again. If however your in your 20's / 30's jump at the chance to meet these great teachers. They get my 5* + rating and thats been rarely given out in the past.

(Martin Kay)


If, like me, your desired outcome is to learn Tai Chi, then you will need a Tai Chi teacher who can practice what he teaches and can teach what he practices. Sifu Waller is such a person. If you want to practice for health, for fitness or as a martial art it is possible to do it all under his guidance. If you are content to remain a “beginner” forever or to totally immerse yourself in the art then the choice is yours.

The school is well organised, has a clear syllabus and at each class I receive individual feedback about specific aspects of my practice that I can work on between classes.

Sifu Waller’s wife Rachel is as committed as he is to teaching students. The classes are very business like with a clear expectation that you will work hard and make progress - yet at the same time they are relaxed and good fun.

Driving home after class I am always pleased to find myself in a heightened state of awareness, a most enjoyable state that is probably due to the meditative aspects of the practice. The usual constant stream of thoughts is slowed down to a dribble and I notice things previously deleted from my consciousness. I’m anticipating that the more I progress the more “awake” and “here and now” I will be able to be more of the time.

I was attracted to Newcastle Taichi School after searching the internet for local classes and coming across their website. If you are looking for an excellent teacher and want to make positive changes in all areas of your life then don’t just listen to me, I’ve started my journey, I’m seriously biased - check out the website yourself, be aware, however, that members of the school have access to a fuller, vaster website.

The website has a reading list and wider study in Taoism, personal development and martial arts is encouraged. I have always found books useful tools for learning and the website along with the recommended reading is enhancing the whole experience for me.

There is a saying that the person with the most choices in any given situation is the one most likely to get what he or she wants - the choices available at the Newcastle Tai Chi School so comprehensively cover every aspect of Tai Chi and Taoism that if you join and make use of what is on offer you will get what you want. I am.

(Peter Hobson)


Sifu Waller is one of these men that you respect as soon as you meet him just by his behaviour. I remember the first time I entered his school I had been in the UK for 2 days, Rachel was very comprehensive and I felt very-well welcomed. Sifu is very invested in his art and knows what he is talking about. Going to this school is one of the most enriching experience I had so far. Many thanks to Rachel and Sifu.



Many thanks to you and Sifu Waller for a most enjoyable and stimulating evening. I really enjoyed the workshop, particularly the way that Sifu Waller weaves together theory with demonstrations and hands-on exercises that prove each point. Your enthusiasm for the art is very infectious!



I hated PE at school and I can't stand being inside a gym.

(Amelia Freer)


Have you noticed, in newspapers and magazines, the amount of space given to politics, to the sayings of politicians and their activities? Of course, other news is given, but political news predominates; the economic and political life has become all-important. It is so much easier to throw oneself into social and political activity than to understand life as a whole; to be associated with any organized thought, with political or religious activity, offers a respectable escape from the pettiness and drudgery of everyday life.

With a small heart you can talk of big things and of the popular leaders; you can hide your shallowness with the easy phrases of world affairs; your restless mind can happily and with popular encouragement settle down to propagate the ideology of a new or of an old religion.



Compared to my childhood taekwondo experiences, taijiquan and baguazhang feel like I'm fighting using advanced technology. The real question for the student is: can you wield it? This is the real crux of taijiquan and baguazhang. For all their incredible power, refinement and high calibre skills, they are only as good as you are. If your skills are poor, then the arts are poor.



Most adults have undertaken virtually no physical exercise or serious study since leaving school.
Their brains and bodies are somewhat rusty and neglected.
You may know the saying "Use it or lose it"


Why is it that we crave to be recognized, to be made much of, to be encouraged? Why is it that we are such snobs? Why is it that we cling to our exclusiveness of name, position, acquisition? Is anonymity degrading, and to be unknown despicable? Why do we pursue the famous, the popular? Why is it that we are not content to be ourselves? Are we frightened and ashamed of what we are, that name, position and acquisition become so all-important? It is curious how strong is the desire to be recognized, to be applauded. In the excitement of a battle, one does incredible things for which one is honoured; one becomes a hero for killing a fellow man. Through privilege, cleverness, or capacity and efficiency, one arrives somewhere near the top - though the top is never the top, for there is always more and more in the intoxication of success. The country or the business is yourself; on you depend the issues, you are the power. Organized religion offers position, prestige and honour; there too you are somebody, apart and important. Or again you become the disciple of a teacher, of a guru or Master, or you co-operate with them in their work. You are still important, you represent them, you share their responsibility, you have and others receive. Though in their name, you are still the means. You may put on a loincloth or the monk's robe, but it is you who are making the gesture, it is you who are renouncing.

 In one way or another, subtly or grossly, the self is nourished and sustained. Apart from its antisocial and harmful activities, why has the self to maintain itself? Though we are in turmoil and sorrow, with passing pleasures, why does the self cling to outer and inner gratifications, to pursuits that inevitably bring pain and misery? The thirst for positive activity as opposed to negation makes us strive to be; our striving makes us feel that we are alive, that there is a purpose to our life, that we shall progressively throw off the causes of conflict and sorrow. We feel that if our activity stopped, we would be nothing, we would be lost, life would have no meaning at all; so we keep going in conflict, in confusion, in antagonism. But we are also aware that there is something more, that there is an otherness which is above and beyond all this misery. Thus we are in constant battle within ourselves. The greater the outward show, the greater the inward poverty.

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.


Seeing an old man who wanted to take up philosophy but was embarrassed, Socrates said to him, "Don't be embarrassed to become better at the end of your life than you were to begin with."

(Thomas Cleary)


You suddenly realise that you have drifted along in life, letting others choose for you and mould your fate.
All the work and strife and long hours and sacrifice have resulted in this.
The fat lazy, inflexible, prematurely old body...
Unmotivated. Indifferent.
A job you care nothing for.
Your life ahead of you involves growing old, retiring, dying...


The question

Many people reach a point in their lives where they take stock of their existence.
They look at their partner or spouse.
Their relationship with friends and family.
The kids.
The individual is troubled by what they see.
Things are not quite what they had hoped for.
They ask: Is this really what I want to do with my life?


Classes resume 8th January

Assistant teacher - David Cousins

David has been with the school for over 2 years and is an incredibly talented, funny, modest guy.
He has a background in karate, 2 medical degrees and an impressive professional career.
David is a man of diverse interests and many hidden skills e.g. David designs, bakes and decorates stupendous birthday cakes for his sons.
Thoughtful, insightful and astute, David is a keen observer of human behaviour. He finds himself deeply intrigued by taijiquan biomechanics.

Allusion & metaphor

Taijiquan and baguazhang rely heavily upon Taoism. Both arts are the embodiment of Taoist principles: yin/yang & bagua diagram. To truly understand, use and communicate in these arts, you need to speak the language. This doesn't necessarily mean Chinese, but rather, Ancient Contemplative Taoism and martial theory.

A similar situation occurred in Star Trek The Next Generation where Picard meets a race that only communicates in references to events/incidents/people that are unique to their own own culture e.g. "Shaka when the walls fell..." Huh?

Sifu and myself share much a common familiarity with The Book of Five, The Way and Its Power, The Way of Chuang Tzu, The Art of War, The Tai Chi Classics (and many other books), so we can easily and readily refer to themes contained within those texts.


Midlife crisis?

It is common for people to crack up, do erratic things: buy a sports car, take up a reckless pursuit, travel the world, get divorced, have an affair...
These are knee jerk reactions. 
They may provide a short-term thrill but are simply an attempt to paper over the cracks.
The real problem is you.

Last lesson 2017