Here are a series of questions that I have been asked by students during training:

I have just had heart surgery and have been advised to start exercising. WIll Tai Chi benefit me?

As Tai Chi and Chi Kung are gentle exercise forms, the promote many physical and mental changes. Helping to lower blood pressure and bring relaxation by reducing stress will definitely be of benefit to you. The soft and gentle exercise burns as many calories as a 4 mile an hour walk, with the added benefits of strengthening ligament tendons and muscles. Using good posture and balance the core muscles get a gentle yet powerful workout.

As with any new exercise, take it slowly and don't push to hard. It takes time to relax the body and build in flow to the Tai Chi form. Patience and perseverance are wonderful tools with Tai Chi and Chi Kung. We have forgotten how to move, breath and relax when living our busy lives. Tai Chi will help re balance your body and mind, bringing peace and control to your life. Don't forget the social side of doing something so relaxing with others, developing a group energy which makes everyone move as one. WIll Tai Chi benefit you...? Definitely, but always check with your health professional that you are ready physically to do exercise. I know when my father had open heart surgery, he was encouraged to start exercising quite soon after his operation

How will Tai Chi help me avoid falls?

Tai Chi is a very gentle and relaxing form of exercise. When doing Tai Chi, the emphasis ia on balance, posture, control and coordination. When your muscles get stronger and your sense of balance improves, you will become confident and proficient at moving smoothly and in balance. Once you correct the bad habits of a lifetime of stress and pressure, shallow breathing, controlled falling to start walking, a sinking of your energy and body, allowing gravity to pull down on your head, neck and shoulders, you will feel more confident and in control of your body and of course mind.

If you have already had a fall, statistics show that doing Tai Chi can help prevent further falls by improving posture and balance. Did you know that in the UK, 6 mature people people a minute get taken into hospital as a result of fall related injuries? 1 in 3 older adults fall each year. Fall related injuries cause some 14,000 deaths a year from fractures. 50% of people who have fallen fall again,

Find out more in my fall leaflet by clicking the link below:

Click for Falls Leaflet


What is the purpose of learning tai chi?

People take Tai Chi classes for a variety of reasons. SOme simply want to get fit and achieve muscle tone and balance. Some wish to help to reduce their stress levels, finding new ways of getting rid of the worry about the past and the future and coming into a state of being 'in the moment', right here and now. Some wish to get help reducing their blood pressure and boosting their relaxation levels. Some wish to find peace in mind and body to help improve sleep patterns. SOme wish to improve their mobility and balance to help them get around in their everyday lives. But most of all, people wish to improve their physical and mental states, in order to gain confidence and a better lifestyle.

Tai Chi is a life choice, there are no quick fixes, it takes perseverance and practice to get the full benefits of Tai Chi. It can take between one and two years to learn the complete Yang style long for, which is split into three sections and any section can be done on their own. The purpose of learning Tai Chi is to get into a place, physically and mentally where you start to feel in control of your life and health.

Ia Tai Chi classed as an aerobic exercise?


Tai Chi is a low impact, gently aerobic exercise, in so much as you learn to breath correctly, taking breath deep into your lungs and opening up areas of your lungs that very often get limited use. THe movements, although slow in nature, are so controlled and coordinated that it takes effort to perform them correctly. That gentle effort increases the heart rate, increase breath depth and encourages oxygen rich blood to flow through the body. Add to this the gentle massaging if all the internal organs as you perform the moves and you get, stimulation to every part of the body, including of course the brain. Many students find themselves yawning a lot more, which is the bodies message that the brain needs more oxygen, which helps deepen the breathing even more, bringing life giving oxygen into the body. Say goodbye to the floor pumping, joint aching, sweat bringing heavy aerobic sessions and say hello to a gentle energy giving refreshing series of movement which are dance like in nature. one hour of Tai Chi can burn around 200 calories for ladies, which is he same as a 2 1/2 mile brisk walk. Men can burn around 250 calories for the hour (doesn't seem fair does it ladies).


Will Tai Chi help me to improve my balance?

Yes, the attention to gaining good posture and physical control will allow you to get control of your balance. When doing Tai Chi, being able to shift the weight from foot to foot, to allow stepping in a controlled manner will allow you to use your body as a unit. This gives you the ability to move effortlessly and with control around the space. Core muscles will strengthen and your awareness of what your body is doing will bring confidence and balance. If you do Tai Chi on a regular basis your balance will improve substantially. this was asked by an 83 year old lady who was suffering with imbalance and a fear of falling. Within 6 to 8 weeks she was standing on one leg and hold poses and doing the warm up exercises with ease. She didn't even notice that she had improved,

I have arthritis, will tai chi help me?

Tai chi has been shown to help reduce symptoms of some people who suffer arthritis. It has also been shown to help those with Fibromyalgia. Local pain specialists have referred their patients to our classes and have been surprised at how quickly their patients have improved, not only in posture and balance but their pain has reduced.  Learning to move more efficiently and strengthen ligaments, tendons and muscles have a profound effect on joint mobility. Not only in terms of strength, but the slow movements are gentle enough to provide a relaxed exercise process, which also brings moisture into the joints helping to lubricate them. Tai Chi has also been shown to help build stronger bones and can help delay and ease the symptoms of arthritis.

Do you teach Qigong?

Yes, I teach several different forms of Chi Kung which are learned over time. Chi Kung is the 'mother' of Tai Chi, it is the way to build stronger chi energy, which brings health and vitality to the body and mind. Chi Kung is a series of movements done in sets of 8 which exercise the chi and builds your energy levels. Chi King is like a gym where weights and exercises build strength for a sports minded person to use in the chosen sport. Footballers use the gym to build strong muscles, which they then use on the football pitch. Chi Kung builds strong energy which is then moved around the body with the Tai Chi form.
What is Chi? How does it work?

Chi is your life force. the energy which allows you to do everything in your daily routine. When you bend to pick a chair for example, your chi energy moves to your hands and back and legs to give you the energy and strength to pick the chair up. When you work in the garden, your chi energy is used to allow you to perform a myriad of tasks. SOme people think chi is a mystical energy which you get from somewhere else, but it is your own personal energy which lives in your body. The Chinese say the Dan Tien which is two inches below your navel is where the chi 'lives' and that chi is notoriously lazy and hard to motivate into action. Chi Kung exercises the chi and Tai Chi uses the chi to perform the gentle yet powerful movements of the form. WHen you watch the Shaolin Monks doing their spectacular feats of strength and endurance, they are using their chi energy to leap, roll, and move around. When they press spears against their abdomens and resist the pushing, they say they concentrate their chi around the point to bring added strength.

If you breath you have chi energy. the trick is to try and control that energy to make your life easier. Students often comment that their hands feel hot and 'full' of energy when doing Chi Kung and Tai Chi. The more Tai Chi the practice the stronger their chi becomes and the more energised they feel.

What type of tai chi do you teach?

























I teach the Yang style long form, which was introduced by Yang Cheng Fu in around 1912. He spent much time adapting the old style Yang form reducing the amount of fast and physical movements to create a smooth and gentle well being form which I now teach as the Yang style long form. I also teach the Gim (tai chi sword), pushing hands, Gong Fu meditation, standard chi kung, the 8 brocades, shibashi and fragrant Buddha chi kung forms.

The emphasis is on balance, control and posture when performing the Tai CHi movements. I teach three levels of Tai Chi... Beginner, intermediate and advanced. Each level introduces more awareness of how the movements work and how to generate and move chi energy around the body more efficiently. Classes are of mixed ability and everyone is welcome, regardless of age and fitness. Everyone start their own journey when joining a class and their journey is their own. No-one is judged against anyone lese and the speed and pace is agreed with each student. After all, I want Tai Chi to be relaxing and fun, whilst concentrating on the accuracy of the movements in the form.

How long will it take me to learn tai-chi?

I would suggest that you give yourself at least 20 sessions, not days, but actual formal classes, to get the feel of how Tai Chi can help you. Usually the first few sessions involve you relearning how to move, balance and breath and getting familiar with Tai Chi movement. You will make better progress if you take what you learn during the sessions and practice in between classes as well. You will soon get to grips with the movements and feel the benefit of Tai Chi practice. You will know after 20 weeks whether it is for you or not. You should be able to do it by yourself at this point, having developed a confidence in your body and balance. My goal is for students to be able to practice on their own to develop their own skills. The most important thing is to keep practicing on a regular basis, so that you can get the most out of the sessions you pay for. Your journey is unique, like you. Some people take 12 months, others take 2 years to learn the basic form to a good level, and be prepared for the next step into the intermediate level. I will not move you on any faster than you can cope with, your needs are paramount in learning the form and I will always listen to what you need.

One of the biggest mistakes is to rush on with learning new sections before you are comfortable with the old. More haste less speed. What normally happens is that a student may wish to rush, but eventually has to admit that they need to spend more time getting to grips with what they have already been taught. I find that racket sports players, dancers and golfers seem to pick the form up quickest.

Would you recommend using a video, to learn tai chi?

I have not seen a good video for self-study for beginners. Videos are best used for helping to remember what you learn in a class as a review. You will need a class with a good teacher that you can relate to where you can get immediate feedback. I tried video tapes and books when I started to fancy learning Tai Chi, but it was slow going and I never truly knew whether I had done the moves correctly. The other aspect to consider is that Tai Chi is energy work and without guidance you will find it very hard to 'feel' what is going on. Yes you could learn the moves, but the connection to your chi energy will always be compromised. Tai Chi is doing, not reading and watching.

Once I started learning from trained Tai Chi instructors I really began to feel what was going on and the movements felt so completely different I wondered why I didn't join a class earlier. I have never looked back since.


I am Christian. Do I have to perform any religious practices or learn about spirituality as part of the class?

I too am a Christian and have had the same thoughts when I first started practicing Tai Chi. Tai Chi is taught as a well being exercise and although is is derived from the martial art Tai Chi Chuan (Grand Ultimate Boxing) is not primarily concerned with fighting. There is no religious doctrine taught in the classes. Often a tai-chi teacher's individual philosophy or "spirituality" becomes the basis for their "Tai chi Spirituality" ideas, when in fact it has nothing to do with art of tai-chi itself. These should not be imposed on the students. Tai Chi is no different to Zumba or Pilates classes, we train in Tai Chi to bring strength, balance and a sense of well being and peace to our lives.

Some religions frown upon anything which takes time out of their members' religious time and will not allow Tai Chi or Yoga in their buildings. I always respect the opinion of others even though it may be misguided If you have any concerns please speak to me.

I do Karate, if I do Karate slowly am I doing Tai Chi?
No, you are doing "Karate slowly", you are not doing tai-chi Karate is an external art, relying mainly upon strength and speed .Though some think that there are some conceptual similarities, the mechanics of the two arts are very different. Tai-chi is an internal art and has specific characteristics that make it unique. Not relying on physical strength, but co-ordinated movement with control and balance. Every move in the Yang Style long form is based on Tai hi Chuan and can be used as either an attack or a defense move.If Tai Chi moves are done quickly it can be used as a martial art. However, that is not the purpose of my Tai Chi classes. Exercise, balance, control, relaxation and peace of mind bringing a sense of self confidence and belief that life can be easy.
What do I wear when doing Tai Chi?

Tai Chi is not dependent upon clothing or equipment. Simply wear loose comfortable clothing. As a rule I would suggest tracksuit bottoms or similar, T-Shirt or sweatshirt of similar. Comfortable flat shoes, like daps (plimsoles) or trainers. have a towel available in case you find yourself getting hot and perspiring, a bottle of water to replenish your fluid levels and a snack bar if required. As long as you have a 4 foot by 3 foot space, you can practice Tai Chi and Chi Kung.

Some people insist on doing Tai Chi barefoot, this is fine, but trainers or daps (or Tai Chi shoes) will give added support to the ankles to avoid twisting or straining the strong but delicate ankle ligaments and tendons.

Should I do anything particular after training?
I would recommend drinking plenty of water over the following 24 - 48 hours. Due to the internal massage and compression of muscle groups during practice, toxins which can build up in muscles are released into the bloodstream. These need to be washed away by a good amount of water. If you don't pay attention to this, these toxins can make you feel tired and run down for a couple of days. the urinary system will remove these toxins and refresh your body.