7.b.-my-teaching-experience-qualifications Section

My Teaching Experience and Qualifications

I have been interested in teaching since my mid-teens. I was fortunate to have several excellent teachers while I was in school, noteable Derek Glew who taught me woodwork and Dave Aldiss who taught me hockey. My father was a school teacher later on in his life, getting his Degree in Education while I was in school. Encouraged by him, from my teens I began to watch how my teachers taught, noticing which teacher produced the best students and which methods worked both for me and for others.

I realised before I started teaching that the skill sets of ‘teaching a skill’ and ‘proficiency in that skill’ do not have a high degree of overlap. The skills of teaching are very different from those of gaining a skill.

As an student and adult I practiced a number of different sports: notably hockey (school, club, county and South of England teams) but also rugby, cricket, tennis, squash and basketball to award level. I had many different coaches in these sports and I had many different teachers outside of sports in my education and first profession.

I began assisting teaching as a hockey coach at school in the UK and then in the USA when I was living in Connecticut in 1980. I achieved my first coaching certificate in hockey in 1978. I then qualified to teach tennis while in at Durham University through the British Lawn Tennis Association in 1983. Since then I have coached basketball, cricket, hockey, squash and tennis. In 1987 I stopped playing all other sports and just concentrated on practicing taijiquan.

Over the last 30 years I have taught many different things professionally, (taiji, hockey, cricket, tennis, squash, basketball, woodwork, joinery, cabinet making, musical instrument construction, house building, timber framing, accounting, business studies, computing, economics, English, finance, history, physics, psychology, horticulture, soft & top fruit cultivation and pruning.) As you might imagine I greatly enjoy teaching

My partner Kim and I are home educators and all three of our children were home educated.

I teach for the (LCETB) Limerick & Clare Education Training Board  in Ireland and am a member of the Teaching Council of Ireland.

My Taijiquan Teacher Training and Teaching

For over 25 years I have researched and explored the process of teaching taijiquan to others and the process by which students learn. I have evaluated the efficacy of many taijiquan teaching methodologies. I have explored what works best for which type of student and when it is best used. I have experiements and explored a wide variety of methods of communication of both taijiquan and the theory of its skills base.

I first trained as a teacher at the British Tai Chi Chuan Association under John Kells, coaching in his school from 1988 to 1993 when I left for Ireland. I generally taught two and occasionally three classes each week under his supervision. His influence on my current teaching is very slight.

I began teaching in Ireland in 1993, in Scarriff and then in Limerick in 1994 where I have taught continuously since then.

I taught under John Ding and the JDIATCC for several years and undertook teachers’ training with him from 1997-2000. His influence on my current teaching is marginal at most.

I taught taijiquan at the University of Limerick from 1996-1999 and have taught in Limerick Prison since 1995.

I trained with several other teachers (see My Taijiquan Training,) exploring their teaching methods and ability as well as studying with them to improve my taijiquan skill.

My overwhelming taijiquan teaching influence has been Wang Haijun. His ability to communicate the skills of taijiquan and the process of learning are superb. I have never met anyone who came even close to him in this regard. His ability to encourage the “eating bitter” required to develop significant taijiquan skills, without his being either dominating or demanding, is itself a great skill. It is through his tuition and by continuing observation of him that my own skills in taijiquan and as a taijiquan teacher make their progress.


If you are interested in my ideas on education please see the EDUCATION part of my website (still to be uploaded) and the TEACHING TAIJIQUAN section in my articles section.