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Taijiquan membership is subject to certain mandatory criteria:
Not training another martial art
No medical problems
Attitude & etiquette
- weekly classes
Friendly to other students
Playful rather than macho
Not struggling unduly
Not up to it
Taijiquan students who are not suited to martial arts training will be moved to tai chi for fitness. This is not a penalty. Your health and wellbeing must come first.
Most people who join our class are not expecting to learn a martial art.
In fact, they are usually pleasantly surprised to find out that there is the opportunity to learn taijiquan skills alongside the health/fitness, meditation and relaxation training.
New starters commonly opt to undertake martial training because it looks exciting but not intimidating.
Martial arts are dangerous
The British Medical Association Guide To Sports Injuries states:
Combat sports such as boxing, judo, karate or kung fu make tough demands on the body; training is intense, and participation requires all-round fitness. Regardless of the fitness of the participants, however, the aggressive blows traded between opponents means that these sports always carry a serious risk of injury.
It is our aim to offer a taijiquan (supreme ultimate fist) program that enables students to gain a comprehensive range of fighting skills. Typically the student is not exactly 'hard-core'.
They want to have fun, they want to gain martial abilities but they do not want to make too big a commitment.
The beginners grade is about reaching a basic level of health. It is not a martial grade. Students wear a white T-shirt and explore preliminary concerns.
The onus is upon starting to get fit, stronger, more supple, better coordinated and somewhat more relaxed. Good alignment, ergonomics and elementary physics are all introduced.
Students learn how to focus and work with one another in a constructive manner. It should take the average student about 4 months to complete the beginners syllabus.
Beginners wear a white T-shirt.
There are 13 grades in the taijiquan syllabus:
Black (1st dan)
Black (2nd dan)
Black (3rd dan)
Black (4th dan)
Black (5th dan)
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.
12 workshops a year
In order to gain the necessary level of practice and exposure to relevant material, white - green belt student training the taijiquan syllabus must attend 12 workshops/boot camp/private lessons each calendar year.
16 workshops a year
Blue - brown belt students require 16 workshops/boot camp/private lessons each calendar year in order to grade.
Not enough workshops attended?
Not to worry. We will simply carry the outstanding amount into the new calendar year.
Periodically, there will be opportunities for lower grade students to explore basic martial concerns and insights. Mainly at workshops. But also occasionally in class.
These serve as a chance for you to experience how the taijiquan principles are employed. Sifu Waller can also observe your behaviour when partnering with other students.
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 principles known to be around 2000 years old yet it was not revealed
Students will benefit immensely from buying class DVDs. The harder you work at the start of any endeavour, the easier the work will be in the long-term:
Long Yang form (section 1)
DVDs can be
purchased in class.
• Demonstrate a good attitude: friendly, receptive, sociable, respectful, polite, hard working
• Arrive before 6:30 PM so that you can make the most of the night
• Complete all beginners material quickly
• Read some books from the reading list (in particular Adam Hsu's The Sword Polisher's Record)
• Build-up your strength and flexibility
• Read this website as thoroughly as you can
• Attend all lessons and workshops (if possible)
• Seek to establish a home training regime appropriate to your grade
Taijiquan membership does not pressure the student in any way. You may train as much or as little as you want.
Of course we would prefer all martial students to attend every class and train daily at home. But this is your concern, not ours.
We only get involved when you ask to do something that exceeds your capacity and the request is unrealistic/dangerous.
You may train weapons on weapons night providing you are capable of doing so safely. Students are required to supply their own weaponry. Rachel will indicate which ones are suitable.
Taijiquan students may study:
Stick drills (3 sets)
Workshops are important
Ideally, you want to gain the widest range of fighting skills as quickly as you can. The greater the exposure to our syllabus, the faster you will learn.
Subject to fitness
Most of the workshops are suitable for all taijiquan students. Some are not. If in doubt, please ask Rachel for advice.
It is good to try a taster session for more advanced material. The experience will give you a sense of things to come, and the opportunity to see how different skills knit together as the syllabus unfolds.
However, the mainstay of your training must be suitable for your current grade.
Lessons with Sifu
Once you have completed the beginners (intro) to Rachel's satisfaction, you will start working with Sifu Waller. This will be a big step up in terms of training.
It will be mentally demanding as well as physical.
Asking for more?
Prove that you can handle it. Read the FAQ regarding weapons forms. Our insurance company insists that students are taught relative to competence.
If you want to learn more advanced material, you need to be capable of wielding the sword. Otherwise you will just get hurt. Do not ask for more if you are not going to put in the work.
Sifu Waller loathes time wasters.
Moved to tai chi for fitness
Taijiquan students who do not attend lessons frequently enough will be moved to tai chi for fitness. This is for your own wellbeing rather than a penalty.
We must also adhere to the TCUGB insurance requirements. It is not possible to train any martial art with a low level of commitment. All martial arts have a risk factor attached.
Poor attendance coupled with limited home practice is a recipe for injury.
If a beginner considers themselves unable/unwilling to attend 8 workshops/boot camp/private lessons each calendar year, please don't insult your instructor by asking for charity.
Your time management skills and your finances have nothing to do with Sifu Waller. Don't try and make your problems his problem.
Should you feel incapable of attending the requisite number of additional training opportunities, either resign yourself to remaining in the beginners syllabus indefinitely or opt out and do tai chi for fitness instead.
A taijiquan student is welcome to opt out of the martial training any time they like. Switch to the tai chi for fitness syllabus instead.
This is a practical choice if you feel that the martial expectations are too much for you to manage.
Some people find the prospect of combat and the associated level of fitness to be intimidating or not suited to their requirements after all.
Refunds & cancellation
Our membership policy is akin to a gym membership.
We request 7 days notice if you are planning to quit. That way the student has the time to cancel their standing order in advance.
Should the standing order be inadvertently sent after notice has been given, we will immediately refund the amount.
If you fail to give notice, don't attend classes or decide to cancel after the first of the month we will not refund the monthly fee.
18 April 1995
Last updated 6 February 2011