Thursday

Steel isn't strong, boy. Flesh is stronger.
 What is steel compared to the hand that wields it?
 Look at the strength of your body, the desire in your heart.
 

 (Conan the Barbarian) 

How much does Sifu Waller train?

Sifu Waller trains over 2 hours a day of taijiquan, baguazhang & qigong, 365 days a year. He has been practicing since 1975.

Monday - balls & grips, massage, ba duan jin, leg stretches (set 1), psoas exercises, sword forms (2), Long Yang (empty form) (regular & mirrored), pao chui form (regular & mirrored), small san sau (regular & mirrored), silk arms (regular & mirrored), pre-emptive methods (regular & mirrored), knife drills (regular & mirrored), small stick drills (regular & mirrored), pushing peng exercise, chin na applications (solo), sealing the breath (solo), 3-tier wallbag, mother palms, baguazhang palm changes (regular & mirrored), Taoist Yoga (set 1, 2 or 3), constructive rest - ideally two to three times a day, reading, walking or cycling

Tuesday - balls & grips, massage, reeling silk exercises, leg stretches (set 2), sword forms (2), Long Yang (empty form) (regular & mirrored), pao chui form (regular & mirrored), small san sau (regular & mirrored), silk arms (regular & mirrored), pre-emptive methods (regular & mirrored), knife drills (regular & mirrored), small stick drills (regular & mirrored), double pushing hands (solo), chin na applications (solo), dividing the muscle (solo), 3-tier wallbag, direction changes, baguazhang palm changes (regular & mirrored), cardio work (set 1), weight training (set 1), Taoist Yoga (set 1, 2 or 3), constructive rest - ideally two to three times a day, reading, walking or cycling

Wednesday - balls & grips, massage, moving qigong, leg stretches (set 1), core strength (set 1), stick drills (set 1), stick forms (3), Long Yang (empty form) (regular & mirrored), pao chui form (regular & mirrored), small san sau (regular & mirrored), silk arms (regular & mirrored), pre-emptive methods (regular & mirrored), knife drills (regular & mirrored), small stick drills (regular & mirrored), da lu (solo), chin na applications (solo), cavity press (solo), 3-tier wallbag, circle walking, baguazhang palm changes (regular & mirrored), Taoist Yoga (set 1, 2 or 3), constructive rest - ideally two to three times a day, reading, walking or cycling

Thursday - balls & grips, massage, stretches & joint work, leg stretches (set 2), stick drills (set 2), sword forms (2), Long Yang (empty form) (regular & mirrored), pao chui form (regular & mirrored), small san sau (regular & mirrored), silk arms (regular & mirrored), pre-emptive methods (regular & mirrored), knife drills (regular & mirrored), small stick drills (regular & mirrored), penetrating defences, shuai jiao applications (solo), sealing the breath (solo), 3-tier wallbag, figure of 8, baguazhang palm changes (regular & mirrored), cardio work (set 2), weight training (set 2), Taoist Yoga (set 1, 2 or 3), constructive rest - ideally two to three times a day, reading, walking or cycling

Friday - balls & grips, massage, ba duan jin, leg stretches (set 1), core strength (set 2), stick drills (set 3), stick forms (3), Long Yang (empty form) (regular & mirrored), pao chui form (regular & mirrored), small san sau (regular & mirrored), silk arms (regular & mirrored), pre-emptive methods (regular & mirrored), knife drills (regular & mirrored), small stick drills (regular & mirrored), reflex drills, shuai jiao applications (solo), dividing the muscle (solo), 3-tier wallbag, 9 palaces, baguazhang palm changes (regular & mirrored), Taoist Yoga (set 1, 2 or 3), constructive rest - ideally two to three times a day, reading, walking or cycling

Saturday - balls & grips, massage, reeling silk exercises, leg stretches (set 2), sword drills, sword forms (2), Long Yang (empty form) (regular & mirrored), pao chui form (regular & mirrored), small san sau (regular & mirrored), silk arms (regular & mirrored), pre-emptive methods (regular & mirrored), knife drills (regular & mirrored), small stick drills (regular & mirrored), double pushing hands (solo), shuai jiao applications (solo), cavity press (solo), 3-tier wallbag, baguazhang palm changes (regular & mirrored), cardio work (set 1 or 2), weight training (set 3), Taoist Yoga (set 1, 2 or 3), constructive rest - ideally two to three times a day, reading, walking or cycling

Sunday - balls & grips, massage, moving qigong, leg stretches (set 1), core strength (set 3), stick forms (3),Long Yang (empty form) (regular & mirrored), pao chui form (regular & mirrored), small san sau (regular & mirrored), silk arms (regular & mirrored), pre-emptive methods (regular & mirrored), knife drills (regular & mirrored), small stick drills (regular & mirrored), da lu (solo), shuai jiao applications (solo), dividing the muscle (solo), 3-tier wallbag, baguazhang palm changes (regular & mirrored), Taoist Yoga (set 1, 2 or 3), constructive rest - ideally two to three times a day, reading, walking or cycling

Sifu Waller also trains partner work with his wife Rachel (that's me).

Wednesday

Fantasy

A lot of new starters have a fantasy idea of themselves performing complex martial arts movements involving excellent choreography, strength and skill.
There is just one problem with this...
Their own body lets them down.

Tuesday

When a student is good, becoming better than his fellows, his pride must be destroyed, he must be driven without mercy so that his spirit and skill will not suffer from conceit.

 (C W Nicol)

Monday

Myths

When taijiquan came to the West, a lot of people got this idea that a few qigong exercises, pushing hands and form would provide combat skill.
This myth prevails today in most tai chi classes.
It is hopelessly naive.

Friday

Patience is the ability to wait without experiencing anger, anxiety or frustration.

 
(Dale Carnegie)

Thursday

Moderation

It is OK to train a wide range of exercise methods without ruining your taijiquan.
The key concern is moderation.
Avoid over-doing it: over-stretchingstraining or exerting.
Be mindful of posture, poise and tension.

Wednesday

Congruent

Sifu Waller has designed the syllabus such that everything works together.
There is no discord between different facets of the curriculum.
Every exercise, drill and form works in conjunction with everything else.
The entire syllabus follows the teachings of Taoism and The Tai Chi Classics.
All areas of study are in harmony.

Tuesday


Modules

These training methods are systematically taught as the student works through our curriculum:
  1. Standing qigong (various)
  2. Moving qigong (4 sets)
  3. Form (8)
  4. Solo drills (various)
  5. Partnered drills (various)
  6. Weapons drills (various)
  7. Balls & grips
  8. Leg stretches (2 sets)
  9. Psoas exercises (4)
  10. Floor exercises (3 sets)
  11. Cardio work (2 sets)
  12. Taoist Yoga (4 sets)
  13. Neigong (50)

Monday

Modular

Sifu Waller's approach to strength training is to offer modules; each lasting 5-10 minutes approximately.
They 
are intense and focussed.
The aim is to avoid complacency and boredom.

Friday

No shortcuts

To reach a high level of skill, the taijiquan student needs to take a lesson from sport
They must become a martial athlete.
The training doesn't get easier. You get stronger. But only if you practice.

Thursday

Get fit

To get fit for combat a martial arts student must commit to different training methods designed to encourage the maximum muscular development for the least amount of time commitment and effort.
Also, they cannot afford to bulk up. Body building will impede mobility and agility.
Suppleness, nimbleness, flexibility and cardiovascular health are vital.

If a fighter is panting for breath after 10 minutes of cardio, they are not fit enough for combat.

Wednesday

The norm

Most martial arts recognise the need to get fit.
Consequently, they include a very extensive range of stretching, cardio and strength building exercises in their warm-up.
Taijiquan classes usually do not.
This is odd.
Maybe they imagine that qi is going to fill in the blanks?

Tuesday

Qi magic?

Taijiquan practice, neigong, form and baguazhang will certainly build much stronger, necessary muscles... but the training only goes so far.
Between a 
MMA fighter and a taijiquan student there is a dangerous fitness gulf that no amount of qi will fill.