Assistant teachers
Qigong & tai chi

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Assistant teachers

Assistant teachers work with Rachel to teach the
tai chi for health and tai chi for fitness curriculum. They are all enthusiastic, friendly and enjoy training tai chi.
Nobody takes themselves too seriously.

Who are they?

Marc Boivin, Karen Laws, Dr Ben Beattie, Chris Young and Dr David Cousins.


Marc has 10 years practice behind him. He likes to attend boot camp, workshops and private lessons with Sifu Waller.
By gently, patiently, moderately working on his taijiquan over many years, Marc has succeeded in developing a considerable amount of whole-body strength.
He is studying qigong, chin na, taijiquan and baguazhang.
In class, Marc likes to help beginners work through their form pattern and partner work. Easygoing and modest, Marc is very approachable and fun to work with.


Karen has been with the school for 5 years. Her main interests are tai chi, qigong, Taoist Yoga, massage, core strength, cardio work and psoas exercises.
When Karen first came to class she had very stiff elbows and really bad back/shoulder ache from her job as a screenwriter.
After working with Sifu Waller (and taking responsibility by practicing every day) Karen was able to release the tension from her elbows entirely and rid herself of the back/shoulder pain.
As a consequence of her enthusiasm, Karen has significantly increased her strength, suppleness, flexibility, balance, as well as improving her poise and mobility.


Ben has 2 years experience working directly with Sifu Waller and is making strong progress through the qigong, taijiquan and baguazhang material.
In addition to attending evening classes, Ben takes every opportunity for additional practice.
A regular visitor to his instructor's house, he likes to go to boot camp, workshops and private lessons.
As a medical doctor, Ben is fascinated by the taijiquan use of the human body. Ben shares Rachel's interest in Asian teas.


has 2 years experience working directly with Sifu Waller and has demonstrated a serious commitment.
With an extensive background in martial arts (including karate black belts) Chris brings a lot of insight and martial experience to his taijiquan and baguazhang.
Chris endeavours to attend a large number of additional training opportunities, in particular - workshops with Sifu Waller and private lessons.
Possessing terrific people skills, Chris is a 'natural' when it comes to teaching students. Chris shares Rachel's interest in Asian teas.


David has been with the school for over 2 years and is an incredibly talented, funny, modest guy.
He has a background in both karate and Chinese martial arts, 2 medical degrees and an impressive professional career.
David is a man of diverse interests and many hidden skills e.g. David designs, bakes and decorates stupendous birthday cakes for his sons.
Thoughtful, insightful and astute, David is a keen observer of human behaviour. He finds himself deeply intrigued by qigong, taijiquan and baguazhang biomechanics.


Assistant teachers all possess qualities necessary for tai chi instruction:

  1. Friendly and personable

  2. Interested in other people

  3. Caring

  4. Reliable

  5. Earnest

  6. Committed

  7. Trustworthy

  8. Genuine

  9. Punctual

  10. Motivated

Expressing the teaching

Being an assistant teacher is a challenge; it requires the student to articulate skills and ideas in a way that makes sense to other people.
This requires considerable effort. Expressing the teaching to somebody else is not easy.


In order to explain, you must dismantle things, give examples, illustrate and demonstrate. You need to answer questions and to re-consider your own perceptions.

Taijiquan assistant?

Sifu Waller has never had an assistant instructor.

Mark is an extremely successful high school mathematics teacher. When we asked him when he really learned calculus, he said, "When I first taught it. There is no better way to learn anything than to actually teach it. When I teach something, I have to confront many fundamental questions: What is the motivation to learn this topic? What are the basic examples? On what aspects of this material should I focus? What are the underlying themes? What ties the ideas together? What is the global structure? What are the important details? These questions force me to discover the heart of the matter, and see exactly what I truly understand and what I still need to work on."

(Edward B Burger & Michael Starbird)

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Page created 2 March 1995
Last updated 21 February 2018