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Attitude & etiquette questionnaire

Lower grade students are required to complete an attitude & etiquette questionnaire each time they want to pass a grade.
The reason why is simple: people forget where they are and what they are studying. And who with.


Students bow when at 7:00 PM - this serves as a reminder. Bowing is discordant with how you normally interact with people, isn't it?
The bow serves to wake you up - you are in Sifu Waller's tai chi school - not at home, at work or the pub. Behave accordingly.
The bow serves as a reminder that the behaviours you exhibit in your everyday life may not be considered appropriate when handling weaponry and learning dangerous skills.

I have seen schools where some of the students show disrespect to the teacher by not paying him on time, by being frequently late to class, and by not informing the teacher when a class must be missed.

(John Lash)


The A & E questionnaire is just like the bow: a refresher. Students become comfortable and complacent. They stop bowing to Sifu Waller and to one another.
They forget how to address the instructor properly when speaking with him.

We're all adults...

In a karate class such transgressions would be met with actual in-you-face shouting and a harsh physical punishment (which you either endure without complaint or you leave).
Our expectations are pretty mild, really.

Experienced students

An experienced student would never make an attitude & etiquette faux pas. They have been with the school for too long.
They respect Sifu Waller immensely and would not seek to offend or insult him in any way. Experienced students do not require an A & E questionnaire.

Website questionnaire

Sifu Waller spent decades writing this website for students of our school to use. Even if you read a page a day it would take years to read it all. Would you understand it? All of it?
The purpose of the website questionnaire is to encourage students to use the website more proactively as a resource; to take responsibility for their own learning experience.


Please do not plagiarise Sifu Waller. Plagiary is gross misconduct and could result in expulsion from our school.

900 pages...

It is quite common for students to answer Sifu Waller's assignments using material and insights gleaned from other schools of tai chi. This is really a no brainer.
Given that Sifu Waller has provided his students with 900 pages to read, do you really think that he wants to hear that you think neigong is about qi, spirit and inner light?

To understand an oriental discipline, one must understand the ideas and world view upon which the discipline rests.
That is why the oriental disciplines can never merely be hobbies or pastimes.

(John Lash)

The well-spring

The reading requirements in our syllabus feature books written by spiritual sages and martial artists. Understanding the principles will enhance your practice considerably.

Fellow martial artists

The martial books were written by people who undertook the same journey as you. Different time, different culture, maybe even a different martial art... but still a fellow martial artist.

Read a small amount daily

Buy a book and read just a small amount every day. Make a habit of it. A page, a verse or a chapter will slowly mount up and before you know it you will have read the entire book.

Since the Taoist concepts are rooted in the most distant past with the most ancient beliefs of the Chinese, it is difficult for the Western mind to understand them. Therefore, before you can investigate the internal martial arts, you must first back to the very origins of thought in ancient China.

(Howard Reid)

It doesn't make sense...

Why do you expect it to? This is what learning means. You are being exposed to the unfamiliar. Challenged by the unknown. Persevere. Read it again. And again. And again.
Make reference to the website, to class, to other books, to your own experiences and insights.

Make notes

Jotting down notes can help you to enjoy the book more, and eventually understand it. Use sticky tabs to mark passages that strike a chord/relevance/parts you liked.
Learn to interact with the text.

Consider the question

Read the assignment questions carefully. What is being asked of you? When answering, refer to the text and make quotations.
Look for themes, principles, lessons. Make lists of ideas. Do not cheat yourself.


With the questions, there are right and wrong answers. But the main purpose of questions is to encourage students to organise their thoughts regarding the art.
It is quite easy to have some sense of what is taking place/required - yet clarity and understanding are often lacking. Questions train the student to think more clearly and concisely.

These words are easy to understand, and these teachings are easy to follow.
But no one understands the words, and no one follows the teachings.

These words follow a principle, and the world has an order.
But no one understands the principle.

Because no one recognises the inner wisdom of things, the sage is mistaken for the fool.

(Lao Tzu)


Some students spend years with our school and never read a single book from the reading list. This is not the way to make progress in tai chi.
Enthusiasm alone should drive the seeker to learn more about the art.

school database

Page created 18 April 2007
Last updated 16 June 2023