Perpetual beginners

Most tai chi students in the UK never get past the preliminaries of the art.
They lack the knowledge and/or the tuition opportunities to explore tai chi properly.

Training at a beginner’s level long-term is not good for your health and wellbeing. A crude understanding of tai chi can potentially lead to injury. 
To avoid this, students need to make progress in a healthy, safe, fun environment.
They must continually develop their insights, skills and awareness. 

A proven syllabus should be in place and the opportunity for each student to learn tai chi relative to their own ability.

Everyday benefits

Tai chi offers a wide range of benefits that will affect your everyday life:

• Get fit
 Increased stamina and endurance
• The release of deeply-held muscular tension    
• Boost energy
• Improved balance
• A way to use millennia old Chinese wisdom in everyday life   
• An unusual form of strength 
• Emotional composure in the face of confrontation and crisis 
 Philosophical study involving some of the most influential books ever written  
• Cultivate confidence and resourcefulness

No belts

For about 7 years our syllabus featured belts akin to any other martial arts class.
The more balanced individuals liked the idea of being able to chart their progress using a belt, and didn’t attach too much significant to the fabric.
Some students became competitive.
Others resented having to meet and maintain a standard.

Overall, the belts did more harm than good.

In a mainstream martial arts class belts are great.
However, tai chi attracts a different sort of student and very few people are prepared to make the kind of commitment you might find in a judo class.

Also, the nature of the skills are different.
Tai chi is far more introverted and demands a significant commitment to physical sensitivity and awareness.
Health and combat are intertwined.

Without belts, tai chi students feel no sense of rivalry or competition.
Each student proceeds at their own pace.
The experience is unique to the individual.

Although we offer a detailed syllabus, progress rests squarely in the hands of the student.

A couple of days ago, sitting in the train, I read the part about Girl’s Night self defence from the information you send me. I laughed out loud a couple of times, people around me wondering what was the matter….

Well, this: apart from the fact that I really like the pointy, dry, kind of merciless humour of the text (is that correct English?), I find the involvement of tights and a real man to work with/on – amazingly convincing. The right ingredients. Together, of course, with the Asian/martial and multi-layered approach. I haven’t read or heard anything of this kind before. It inspires me.

It is simply not acceptable that women and girls suffer from men’s bad behaviour, in whatever way. It is simply not acceptable that we are kept naive.

I had to Google what Haarlem and surrounding areas had on offer for women’s self defence. Most courses are Krav Maga or of the ‘tips & tricks’- style. And: nothing for girls!!

I am inspired and thinking… I might have to do something about this. I still have to learn a lot myself, but, who knows – a seed is planted. I let you know.


You don’t empty the mind just to lobotomise yourself; it’s not mindlessness.

You empty it so that it can be refilled by what you’re experiencing. It’s empty of the chatter, it’s empty of the neurotic anxiety, it’s empty of preconceived notions, it’s empty of opinions, it’s empty of politics, it’s empty of social conventions, and if you empty your mind of all that, it’s a cleansing process.

Then you can allow it to be filled by the true experience of what you’re doing.

(Paul Gale)

Classes resume Monday 20th October


The form itself teaches the body how to move in an internal way.
Ideally, this is how your body should move in combat.

Form literally means ‘shape'; and the aim is to re-shape your movements and structure into something martially viable.

The complexity of form means that a student has countless layers of skill to add to their form, and it will take decades to understand it deeply.
This learning process is what training an internal art is all about.


The fundamental qigong/neigong exercises were designed to build-up the strength and coordination required to practice form.
Instead of moving in a tense, sloppy, disconnected way, students learn how to move slowly and smoothly.
In time, the entire body moves as one unit.

When the form is practiced correctly, it is quite demanding.


rachel_waller_jun13 (2)


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