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Christian values

Compassion, consideration, kindness, restraint, respect and mercy all have value in a martial arts class. However, charity has no place.
Charity is intended to give to those in need. This attitude is antithetical to martial arts training

A business

A martial arts school is a business. This means that the instructor must pay for hall rental, petrol, publicity, web hosting, professional affiliation, insurance, teaching resources and (of course) their time.
Students pay to learn the art. There are no free taster sessions.

Warrior spirit

People e-mail our school explaining that they do not possess the wherewithal to learn a martial art but would like to purchase the combat skills regardless. They are actually serious.
We cannot imbue anyone with 'warrior spirit'
. Not everyone is cut out for martial arts practice. This is simply a fact. In the same way that not everyone likes The Bee Gees.

Student expectations

Students often expect

  1. Ignoring etiquette

  2. Not bowing properly

  3. Wearing shoes when entering the instructor's home

  4. Wanting to learn a new form movement despite the fact that the preceding one is far from correct

  5. Expecting an understanding of the tai chi principles just to emerge without practice or study

  6. Cherry-picking syllabus topics

  7. Wanting to undertake training when not fit enough

  8. Injuring themselves at the gym/running/gardening and then asking to be 'fixed up' in class

  9. Wanting to undertake training when distracted, unfocussed, stressed and unable to concentrate

  10. Treating a group session like a private lesson

  11. Expecting martial competence that exceeds the external martial arts without doing anything like the amount of training typical of those systems

  12. Failing to perform an application adequately and then looking surprised when told to keep practicing

  13. Complaining that they cannot remember the form when at home

  14. Buying a DVD-R to play on a DVD player that is not DVD-R compatible and then expecting us to fix it

  15. Wanting to undertake training when emotionally uptight

  16. Receiving one-to-one attention and then asking for more

  17. Coming to chat after the class has finished

  18. Telling us that they don't have time to practice at home (we don't teach time management skills)

  19. Asking for more advanced material knowing full well that the current skills are lacking

  20. Wanting to undertake training when not medically capable

There are countless other examples but the point is fairly simple: students are often confused about class. They think that they have bought the skills. They have not. They have only paid for tuition.

Tai chi

Not everyone can learn tai chi. The art is not elitist but it is advanced. It is not easy to learn. Patience, self-discipline, commitment and dedication are necessary.
It requires a state of mind uncommon in modern society.


Not everyone is physically, mentally or emotionally suited to tai chi. We are all different. The insurance requirement is pretty self-explanatory.


Latitude with combat standards would result in the student getting beat up in the street. Incompetence equals defeat.


Attempting to negotiate with Sifu Waller is pointless. He is eager to share the art but can only do so with students who have the requisite skill set.
An instructor has no need to discuss/explain/make an account of himself to a student. Pushing the matter will end badly.

When you come to the dojo, it is a recognition the teacher there has something you want. He will give it to you in his own way. You must accept that. If you do not, you are free to leave. The dojo, however, is never run by consensus.

(Dave Lowry)

What can we give you?

Even if we wanted to be charitable with students, what could you expect from us?
We cannot carry you through the form movements. We cannot download martial skills into your brain. We cannot cure laziness or apathy. We cannot make you brave.
We cannot make you tall, small, rich or happy.

Taking us for granted

Once upon a time Sifu Waller used to loan out books, DVDs, movies and training equipment to students who could have easily purchased those items for themselves.
People took him for granted. They stole his goods, didn't return things and got defensive when asked to give Sifu Waller back his own equipment.

Don't ask

If you think that we owe you some charity, take a moment to think about what is on offer in our class. Spend some time trying out the other tai chi classes in the region.
Then you'll understand: we don't owe you charity.

A cunning thief...

A dedicated student aims to steal their instructor's art. This is akin to acquiring a trade secret. Only by taking
responsibility for their own learning can a student hope to learn the true depth of the art.
Your body performs the fighting skills. Your body makes the art manifest. Nobody can give this to you. It must be taken.

Prove it

If you want more from us, show us that you can do tai chi. Prove your competence.

Worth reading

Are you a martial artist?
Are you strong enough?
Getting your own way 
Learned helplessness
Meet us halfway
Strong mental attitude 
Tailored learning
Verbal understanding 

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Page created 15 April 2008
Last updated 9 September 2009