Monday

Interacting with Sifu Waller can be an uncomfortable experience simply because we rarely meet someone who doesn't have any agenda or desire for validation. My first dealings with him left me frustrated as he seemed unwilling to acknowledge my questions or validate me. I was fortunate enough to have the realisation that it was me that was at fault. Sifu Waller has mastered yielding in more than one way it would seem. He does not engage with this level of interaction, it is after all petty and pointless, and instead reflected back my own motivations and desires for approval etc. This was uncomfortable, it made me more acutely aware of the motivations behind my thoughts and actions. It made me choose my words and thoughts more carefully. For those unable to see what is happening they may perceive Sifu Waller as rude, cold etc. Actually what he offers is of the utmost value, I have never encountered anyone since who cuts through the crap and helps me to refine myself in this way. It was clear that Sifu Waller was considerate and compassionate when faced with authentic desire for learning and a lack of pretentiousness.

 (Rob Veater)

Sunday

Fitness DVD

Our Fitness DVD will be available within a couple of weeks. The old version was 10 years old and the footage looked archaic.














Friday

Prevention or cure?

Although many people seek to use tai chi as a means of curing illness, this is not where its strength lies.
Tai chi is best employed whilst healthy, not sick.
When a healthy person does tai chi they are more apt to remain healthy.
It takes far less effort to prevent something than to cure it...

Thursday

Patience is the ability to detach from the need for immediate gratification.

(Dale Carnegie)

Wednesday

Stress

Many runners have careworn faces with deep lines caused by emotional stress.
They don't look happy when running.
They look deeply upset.
Their approach to running is causing them to suffer.
Over-training, pushing the body and pursuing unnecessary goals is harmful and leads to pain and injury.
There are other ways to run and/or to get fit.

Friday

Kung Fu Fitness

http://www.newcastletaichi.co.uk/kung_fu_fitness.htm

Bad posture

Most runners run with extremely bad posture:

• Elbows are stiff and locked (often raised)
• The body is leaning forwards or stooping; either at the neck or collapsing at the bottom of the rib cage 
• Shoulders are lifted; often one higher than the other
• Considerable tension in the upper body
• Frozen sacroiliac; immobile
• Knees twisted (the foot flicks out sideways)
• Weight is bearing heavily down into the knees
• The skeleton is not moving freely, naturally or comfortably

This would be bad posture for any form of exercise. It causes serious fatigue and adverse wear and tear on the body. 
The tension in the body uses energy and tires you out.

Tuesday

Is your running healthy?

Some runners can run well. 
Most do not.
If your aim is to get fit, then you want to avoid medically unsound running practices.
Usually, people take bad habits of body use from everyday life straight into their running...

Monday

Running well?

The fact that you are running isn't proof that you are running well.
By that logic, couldn't any individual with no tuition whatsoever drive a car immediately or play the piano?

Friday

Quality of exercise

Most people who run have received no formal training in how to run.
They just start running.
Little or no thought is given to techniquealignment, good body use, breathing, skeletal health, muscular tensioncoordination, accuracy, biomechanics or suitability.

Thursday

Is running easy?

A lot of websites and articles indicate that running is easy to do.
This is an interesting assertion; suggesting that virtually anyone can just buy a pair of running shoes and hit the streets.
Of course, this is true but it doesn't answer the question.
Is running easy to do?

Tuesday

Self-determining

Usually the student decides for themselves how much practice is suitable for them.
This approach has drawbacks if you are seeking to gain skill.

In what way are you qualified to determine how much training is necessary to get good at taijiquan?

Which criteria are you applying? And why? Based on how much actual skill and experience?

Monday

Preliminaries come first

In the mainstream martial arts the onus is usually upon fighting so the syllabus is designed with this in mind.
taijiquan syllabus is a little different.
Not only must the student gain combat skills, but they must also learn how to use the body in a wholly unfamiliar way.
This means that qigong exercises, healthy body useneigong concerns and non-combat partner drills (e.g. pushing hands) are initially more important than combat skills.

Inspirational

Man of Steel is awesome! The best part is when he cries out from effort and determination. This isn't a lazy, enabled Superman. He's got to fight, strive and concentrate if he wants power.

A great lesson for any martial artist?

Friday

Qigong, pushing hands and form?

Most tai chi people simply do qigong, pushing hands and form.
They balk at a more varied training regime.
Why? Because they are lazy.
Giving your body a comprehensive workout takes effort: stretching, floor exercises, cardio work...
News is irrelevant. In the past twelve months you have probably consumed about 10,000 news snippets - perhaps as many as 30 per day. Be very honest: name one of them, just one, that helped you make a better decision - for your life, your career or your business - compared with not having this piece of news. No one I have asked has been able to name more than two useful news stories - out of 10,000. A miserable result.

(Rolf Dobelli)

Thursday

There is no teacher but the enemy.
 Only he will tell you where you are weak,
 where he is strong.


 (Ender's Game)

Wednesday

We choose our leaders, political or spiritual, out of our own confusion, and so they also are confused.
We demand to be coaxed and comforted, to be encouraged and gratified, so we choose a teacher who will give us what we crave for.
We do not search out reality, but go after gratification and sensation.


(Krishnamurti)

Habits

The only way to become accurate, precise and controlled is to practice between classes.
Once a week training in class simply isn't enough.
Your prevailing physical habits are just too ingrained.
The body requires a daily reminder.

Monday

Sloppy

Receiving correction is vital in any martial art but especially so in taijiquan.
 Careless, sloppy practice places stress on the joints.
 Your body quite literally cannot reasonably perform the demands being placed upon it.
 Also, it is not enough to simply copy/mimic - you must have some understanding of why you are doing things in a particular manner.
 This is why the lower grades are all about physical fitness and health.

Friday

"I read the muscle magazines, muscle websites, tried all sorts of workout machines, dozens of routines I saw others doing, and wound up straining my shoulders and elbows, back and knees. (Ever wonder why there is such a turnover in the fitness club memberships?)"


https://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/briank.htm
"Most guys can’t touch their toes in their twenties"
(Men's Health magazine, 2017)
Earthquake in Sumatra. Plane crash in Russia. Man holds daughter captive in cellar for thirty years. Heidi Klum separates from Seal. Record salaries at Bank of America. Attack in Pakistan. Resignation of Mali's president. New world record in shot-put. Do you really need to know all these things?

We are incredibly well informed yet we know incredibly little. Why? Because two centuries ago we invented a toxic form of knowledge called 'news'. News is to the mind what sugar is to the body: appetising, easy to digest - and highly destructive in the long run.


(Rolf Dobelli)

Thursday

It was around the beginning of the industrial revolution that the idea that human beings were like machines came into being. The body was seen as being like a clockwork toy, capable of being taken apart, parts replaced and then put back together again. Although this perspective has produced powerful life saving procedures, this view also limits our awareness of the wonders of the human body and life itself.

 (Liz Koch)

Monday

Rather light a candle than complain about darkness.

(Proverb)

Friday

The student has nothing to offer but an absolute willingness to follow the teacher's instructions and direction without question or comments or personal improvisation.

 
(Dave Lowry)

Thursday

Everyone exists. There is nothing meritorious in existing. Fight for something. Even if it is simply to get fit. Fighting requires effort; a purpose and a choice.
THE RAINS HAD washed the skies clean; the haze that had hung about was gone, and the sky was clear and intensely blue. The shadows were sharp and deep, and high on the hill a column of smoke was going straight up. They were burning something up there, and you could hear their voices. The little house was on a slope, but well-sheltered, with a small garden of its own to which loving care had been given. But this morning it was part of the whole of existence, and the wall around the garden seemed so unnecessary. Creepers grew on that wall, hiding the rocks, but here and there they were exposed; they were beautiful rocks, washed by many rains, and they had a growth of green-grey moss on them. Beyond the wall was a bit of wilderness, and somehow that wilderness was part of the garden. From the garden gate a path led to the village, where there was a dilapidated old church with a graveyard behind it. Very few came to the church, even on Sundays, mostly the old; and during the week no one came, for the village had other amusements. A small diesel locomotive with two carriages, cream and red, went to the larger town twice a day. The train was almost always filled with a cheerful, chattering crowd. Beyond the village another path led round to the right, gently going up the hill. On that path you would meet an occasional peasant carrying something, and with a grunt he would pass you by. On the other side of the hill, the path led down into a dense wood where the sun never penetrated; and going from the brilliant sunlight into the cool shadow of the wood was like a secret blessing. Nobody seemed to pass that way, and the wood was deserted. The dark green of the thick foliage was refreshing to the eyes and to the mind. One sat there in complete silence. Even the breeze was still; not a leaf moved, and there was that strange quietness which comes in places not frequented by human beings. A dog barked in the distance, and a brown deer crossed the path with easy leisure.

(Krishnamurti)
Suppose we estimate the strength of a man in units of one. Let us say that the strength of this man is 10 units, whereas my strength, less than his, is 7 units. Then if he pushes me with all his force, I shall certainly be pushed back or thrown down, even if I use all my strength against him. This would happen from opposing strength to strength.

 But if instead of opposing him, I leave him unresisted, withdrawing my body just as much as he pushes, at the same time keeping my balance, he will naturally lean forward and lose his balance. In this new position, he may become weak (not in actual physical strength, but because of his awkward position) as to reduce his strength for the moment, say to 3 units only instead of 10 units. But meanwhile I, by keeping my balance, retain my full strength, as originally represented by 7 units.

 Here then, I am momentarily in a superior position, and I can defeat my opponent by using only half of my strength, or 3 1/2 units against his 3 units. This leaves one-half of my strength available for any other purpose. If I had greater strength than my opponent, I could of course push him back. But even if I wished to and had the power to do so, it would still be better for me first to give way, because by so doing, I should have greatly saved my energy and exhausted my opponent's.

 
(Jigoro Kano)

Wednesday

Tai chi for health

New students learn how to relax, to move, to coordinate, to be strong, to be sensitive, to connect their separate-seeming body parts together...
This is tai chi for health.
Very few students last long enough to even commence martial training
.

Tuesday

Starting out

Taijiquan students cannot begin lessons by immediately engaging in combat.
They have no internal skill whatsoever.
What would be the pointThe fighting would not be 'taijiquan'. It would be a waste of time.

Monday

6 ways to improve your balance

http://www.prevention.com/fitness/fitness-tips/6-ways-improve-your-balance
In many martial arts schools the practice was carried out in secrecy and the school's very existence was frequently concealed from the authorities. For example, taijiquan is based on body of theory known to be around 2000 years old yet it was not revealed until 1750. 
When a master of taijiquan faces an opponent he brings to the confrontation thousands of years of philosophical, martial and practical thought. He has lived most of his life according to the principles established centuries ago and in the process, he has strengthened his body and probably earned a long and healthy life.
(Howard Reid)
Sifu Waller has a tendency to want to train everything he knows every day. This sounds OK until you consider just how much material is involved and how much time it takes. It would mean literally training all day long.

  Sifu reluctantly concedes that he's nearly 50 years old, and that there's more to life than kung fu. So he compromises, and staggers the material across the week...

This is amusing because it's the polar opposite of a student. The average student cannot even summon the self-discipline to train at home whereas the instructor must force himself to stop.

(Rachel)

Friday

8 hours

Sleep cannot be neglected. Your body uses sleep to regenerate, recuperate, rest and recover. Modern culture is filled with things that spoil your ability to sleep properly. If you want good sleep, you must be willing to change your habits and attitude, and be prepared to treat it as a commitment.

Thursday

Seeker?

You get out of the Art what you put into it.
For the earnest student, taijiquan is a lifelong journey: a fascinating adventure of discoveryinsighthealthlongevity and martial power.
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 Sifu 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 Waller you will quickly realise that Sifu Waller has sincerely dedicated his life to acquiring knowledge and mastering skill in Kung Fu, Baguazhang and Taijiquan. 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 Taijiquan 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’.


 (Ali)

Wednesday

Looking for a challenge?

In taijiquan, the main challenge lies with understanding Ancient Chinese principles of combat and body use, and putting these into practice.
Sustained, on-going training and a high degree of commitment make this Art both physically and mentally engaging.

Tuesday

Hard work?

Unlike most martial arts, taijiquan does not involve any exertionstrain or undue sweating.There are no press-ups, no sit-ups, no circuit training, no weight lifting and no running.
However, taijiquan still requires a lot of work. All martial arts require the student to be fit for combat.

Monday

Meaning & purpose

Every taijiquan movement, exercise and drill has a purpose.
The student must understand what they are doing, otherwise the training is meaningless and most likely incorrect.
What is the exercise forHow does it operate? We ensure that our students gain a comprehensive grasp of the Art.

Saturday

The Tai Chi Classics

The application of taijiquan always follows the guidelines presented in The Tai Chi Classics.
Even though many of the fighting skills are common to different styles of martial art, a taijiquan student must perform them in a taijiquan way.

Friday

Kung fu is thousands of years old and is a highly developed system of martial art. The student who locates a good kung fu school will find the training thorough and challenging. Kung fu skills, which have been refined over centuries, are not learned easily or quickly. The sincere student, however, through hard work and dedication, will not be disappointed with the results. 

(Adam Hsu)

Thursday

Slow motion?

To quote The Tai Chi Classics"If the opponent's movement is quick, then quickly respond; if his movement is slow, then follow slowly."Some of the training methods (i.e. form) are slower than normal speed; this is to develop strength, accuracy, balance and control. 
Combat is fast.
   Kung fu styles like taijiquan have become widespread and popular. It is important for all practitioners to understand a major weaknesses in the transmission of all Chinese arts; a lack of basic training. In fact, step-by-step training program, standardized terminology, clear explanations and correct interpretations are either entirely missing or woefully scarce.

(Adam Hsu)

Wednesday

Use your head

clearsharp mind is cultivated in taijiquan.
The faster your mind can move, the faster your hand/body can move.
Being around Sifu Waller is like shouting into a cave and not hearing an echo.

(David Cousins)

Monday

Secrecy

The combat methods and principles behind taijiquan have been a well-kept secret in China for hundreds of years.
Even today very few people
 understand how to use taijiquan as a martial art.

Saturday

The root of ignorance itself is our mind’s habitual tendency to distraction.

 (Sogyal Rinpoche)

Friday

Advanced martial art

Taijiquan was designed to be an advanced kung fu method. 
It cultivates whole-body strength, whole-body movement and whole-body power.
The muscles do not tense up and the student remains calm and composed.
THE SUN WAS very clear in the sky, and there was a cool breeze from the sea. It was still fairly early in the morning; there were but few people in the streets and the heavy traffic had not yet begun. Fortunately, it wasn't going to be too hot a day; but there was dust everywhere, fine and penetrating, for there had been no rain during the long, hot summer. In the small, well-kept park, dust lay heavily on the trees; but under the trees, and among the bushes, there was a stream of cool, fresh water, brought down from a lake in the distant mountains. On a bench by the stream it was pleasant and peaceful, and there was plenty of shade. Later in the day, the park would be crowded with children and their nurses and with people who worked in offices. The sound of running water among the bushes was friendly and welcoming, and many birds fluttered on the edge of the stream, bathing and chirping happily. Big peacocks wandered in and out of the bushes, stately and unafraid. In deep pools of clear water there were large goldfish and the children came every day to watch and feed them, and to take delight in the many white geese which swam about in a shallow pool.

Leaving the little park, we drove along a noisy, dusty road to the foot of a rocky hill, and walked up a steep path to an entrance which opened into the sacred precincts of an ancient temple. To the west could be seen an expanse of the blue sea, famous for its historic naval battle, and to the east were the low-lying hills, barren and harsh in the autumnal air, but full of silent and happy memories. To the north towered the higher mountains, overlooking the hills and the hot valley. The ancient temple on the rocky hill stood in ruins, destroyed by the brutal violence of man. Its broken marble columns, washed by the rains of many centuries, seemed almost transparent - light fading, and stately. The temple was still a perfect thing, to be touched and silently gazed upon. A small yellow flower, bright in the morning light, grew in a crevice at the foot of a splendid column. To sit in the shadow of one of those columns, looking at the silent hills and the distant sea, was to experience something beyond the calculations of the mind.

(Krishnamurti)

Thursday

Yang the Invincible

The Yang style of taijiquan was developed by the kung fu legend Yang Lu-chan.
Yang Lu-chan's nickname was 'Yang-the-Invincible'.

He is famous for teaching his taijiquan to the Manchu Emperor's elite palace guards.

Tuesday

Taijiquan means...

Taijiquan literally means martial art that uses the yin/yang principle in combat.
Taiji means supreme ultimate (yin/yang). 
Quan means fist (combat/martial art).
It is commonly translated as 'supreme ultimate fist'.

Monday


One of the good things about the class is the atmosphere of respect and camaraderie. It is good to feel safe when practicing a martial art. It has affected my day to day life in the fact that I'm more aware of how I use and misuse my body on a daily basis which is particularly relevant to me because I have a physical job. It has also helped me to remain calmer in certain stressful situations.
(Marc)

Sunday

Nothing can substitute for serious practice. Practice seriously, correctly and patiently. Use your brain, not just your body. Don't hide weaknesses in your training. Don't lie to yourself. If you cheat, you only cheat yourself.

 (Adam Hsu)

Friday

Not all tai chi is the same

Choose wisely...
Not all tai chi classes are the same.
There are different qualities and grades of tai chi; some approaches/classes are far more potent than others.
The longer I train the more I see in the web pages.
It's like peeling back the layers of an onion...although the words stay the same.  It's my experience and understanding that is evolving.  (And I have so much more to grow!!)

I enjoy working with people that are obviously further along the journey.  Especially people like Andy, who is such a nice guy but also at a higher level of the art.

And then training with you is another leap from there!

But training with Sifu is monumentally humbling. You get the impression that you are only still standing because he's decided you can learn more by being upright. 😊
Doing pushing hands with Sifu teaches so much and shows how much there is to learn.  It doesn't matter how much I feel I've progressed, I always feel like I've only just started! And yet Sifu is able to determine your level and be just out of reach rather than dominate.
For me that just fills me with the desire to learn more and to train for longer!

I always leave a session eager for the next one.

I want to say thank you to both you and Sifu for helping me on my journey and constantly challenging me.

(Chris)

Thursday

Step by step

Once physical fitness has been gained, the student develops their technical skills.
These are extremely important.
It is necessary to have a high degree of physical aptitude and no remnant of tension.
When the mind and body move as one, the student can really begin to fight. 

Individual development

Since a school member attends class every week, it quite easy for the instructor to keep track of their progress, offer assistance and monitor their wellbeing.

Tuesday


Sifu Waller is not only an exceptional martial artist, he's also a skilled and very patient teacher. His approach to teaching is structured and methodical but is also rational - founded on physics andbiomechanics rather than mysticism and esoteric concepts of energy flow. His taijiquan works, he can explain why it works, he proves it works, and he can teach you to make it work too! It's like an onion, and Sifu Waller keeps peeling back the layers to reveal things in more depth.(Eddie)

Monday

Tai chi for health

Every student who joins our school begins with tai chi for health.
Some people move beyond health training and study the martial art.
Others continue with non-martial exercise.

Friday

Complete martial art

The training is thought-provoking and insightful; with lessons about living as well as about fighting.
There is nothing machoaggressiveconfrontational or competitive about taijiquan.
Health, wellbeing, character development and philosophical study are just as important as combat skills.

Thursday

Taijiquan

Taijiquan (supreme ultimate fist) is an advanced style of kung fu based on the yin/yang principle.
This dynamic, exciting martial art involves a wide variety of training methods, weaponry and unarmed combat.
The Art is physically and mentally challenging; but in a very different way to mainstream martial arts.
We walk, and our religion is shown (even to the dullest and most insensitive person) in how we walk. Or to put it more accurately, living in this world means choosing, choosing to walk, and the way we choose to walk is infallibly and perfectly expressed in the walk itself. Nothing can disguise it. The walk of an ordinary man and of an enlightened man are as different as that of a snake and a giraffe.

(R.H. Blyth)

Tuesday

Kung fu styles like taijiquan have become widespread and popular. It is important for all practitioners to understand a major weaknesses in the transmission of all Chinese arts; a lack of basic training. In fact, step-by-step training program, standardized terminology, clear explanations and correct interpretations are either entirely missing or woefully scarce.

 (Adam Hsu)

Monday



I specifically looked for a taijiquan class as I wanted something with that could also provide some mental stimulation in order to maintain long term interest. I certainly have not been disappointed! The training has led to me being physically more relaxed yet stronger. I also feel mentally more relaxed, resilient and better able to cope with demanding situations. From an interest point of view, there are seemingly endless opportunities to draw from Sifu Waller's incredible depth of knowledge. A major strength of the class is that whilst students are always encouraged to work hard and progress, they are allowed to do so at their own rate as their circumstances allow.
(Martin)

Sunday

What is tai chi?

When most people say 'tai chithey mean tai chi for health.
Tai chi for health is a simplifiedslow motion, health exercise adapted from taijiquan. It is intended to improve fitness and wellbeing.