Qigong & tai chi

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Assistants 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.
Despite being conscientious and keen, nobody takes themselves too seriously.

Who are they?

Teaching assistant: Chris Young
Helpers: Julia Pattison, Maria Peppa and Peter Hobson
Volunteer coordinator: Chris Young
Social secretary: TBA


Chris possesses terrific people skills and is a 'natural' when it comes to teaching students. He is an versatile mentor; offering a zero-pressure approach to the cultivation of the desired skills. With an extensive background in martial arts (including karate black belts) Chris brings a lot of insight and martial experience to his taijiquan. He is very involved with the running of the school and became an 'indoor student of taijiquan' in 2019. Chris endeavours to attend additional training opportunities. Hardy and robust, Chris has no fear and is always eager to try new things. His adventurous, experimental attitude makes Chris open-minded and receptive. 
As Volunteer Coordinator, Chris ensures that all teaching assistants have an equal opportunity to engage with students and deliver the material in an appropriate way.


Julia became an 'indoor student of taijiquan' in 2020. She is a highly disciplined student with a comprehensive daily training routine. Her progress through the syllabus has been strong and her fighting spirit is formidable. Typically the first person to volunteer (for anything), Julia is an extremely nice person to work with and shows her enthusiasm at all times.


Maria is a very keen, athletic individual with a highly sociable, friendly personality. Maria is extremely approachable and enjoys interacting with other people. She finds herself deeply intrigued by qigong, massage and taijiquan biomechanics. Maria is interested in eco-related matters, new science and engineering. Her hobbies and lifestyle reflect her appreciation of nature and the desire to find harmony, balance and grace.


Peter is a 'nuts and bolts' guy; keen to know how things work, why they work and how to improve their functionality. He enjoys a wide variety of past-times and hobbies, and is an extremely patience, measured individual. His training has been enhanced by considerable reflection, insight and methodical exploration. Peter is an exceptionally curious, thoughtful gentleman with a great sense of what tai chi is about and is always a delight to talk with.

Assistant levels

There are 3 stages of assistant in our school:

  1. Helper (tai chi for health)

  2. Teaching assistant (tai chi for health)

  3. Assistant teacher (tai chi for health)

1) Helper

Helpers occasionally help Rachel but have no ongoing responsibilities within the school.

2) Teaching assistant

A teaching assistant is responsible for multiple groups within the tai chi for health class and will attend to these on a frequent basis.

3) Assistant teacher

An assistant teacher can (to some extent) step-in and cover the class for Rachel when she has other responsibilities within the school.


ssistants 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 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.


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)

contact details     Sifu Waller     rachel waller

Page created 2 March 1995
Last updated 20 June 2022