WahLee T'ai Chi was borne out of a desire to improve the quality of people's lives. It was started by Chris Whalley (Chinese name 华理—HuaLi in pinyin or WahLee in Wade-Giles script) and is based in Dunedin, New Zealand.
Wah Lee T'ai Chi was started in 2000 by Chris Whalley. (His Chinese name is pronounced Wah Lee - hence the name Wah Lee T'ai Chi). Chris has a BA in Chinese language (Mandarin) and Chinese history, and a 3 year Diploma in Physical Education, both from Otago University. He also has a Diploma in Teaching, and was a secondary school PE teacher for 12 years. He is currently doing postgraduate study at Otago University on the history of "T'ai Chi" in New Zealand.
Wah Lee T'ai Chi is an exercise system based on traditional Wu Style Taijiquan, and Da Yan (Wild Goose) QiGong. It is the result of more than 30 years of dedicated personal study and research into what Taijiquan really is. This pursuit has taken Chris to Australia, Canada and finally China, and has allowed him to meet with, and study from some of the world's top Taijiquan masters. It was during the visits to China that an initially skeptical Chris learned what Taijiquan really was, and what top-level practitioners were capable of doing. Wah Lee T'ai Chi comes from a desire to make this profound art accessible to Westerners looking for an alternative to established exercise systems, which will provide equivalent or better physiological and psychological results.
Wah Lee T'ai Chi Wu Style Taijiquan is unique amongst Taijiquan styles because it has not been modified, simplified or homogenized. It has not been changed or watered down by unqualified enthusiasts. It is authentic Wu Style Taijiquan from the direct descendants of the founder of Wu Style Taijiquan, Master Wu JianQuan (Shanghai). Chris' teachers are either direct descendants, or "inner school" students descending from him.
Wah Lee T'ai Chi uses a combination of traditional Taijiquan and QiGong exercises, and Western movement teaching methods. What has been created is a unique, progressive exercise programme, which breaks down this complicated Martial Art and health system, into smaller attainable components. The programme is based on sound, recognized biomechanics and motor learning pedagogy, using traditional Wu Style Taijiquan training exercises.
Wah Lee T'ai Chi assumes that most people, who want to learn "T'ai Chi", do not have an extensive movement background. That is, people who have not studied dance, gymnastics, martial arts or aerobics for a significant amount of time, will find the acquisition of new movement patterns difficult to remember, so will need to be taught in a sequential manner using proven teaching methodology to facilitate learning acquisition.
In today's modern world, we all recognise the need to earn a living and that this must be balanced by having fun. Having fun is a state of mind, but in order to achieve that state of mind there are two precursors: the ability to move fluidly, and knowledge. There are many kinds of movements (exercise) and knowledge in the world, and once one realises that some are better than others a choice must be made as to how one untilizes the free time one has away from work.
The exercise components of WahLee T'ai Chi are DaYan QiGong (Wild Goose Chi Gong) and Wu Style Taijiquan. WahLee T'ai Chi's knowledge component comes from the realization that a lot of the knowledge is already in you, and that there's a lot of misinformation out there that needs to be seen through quickly so that you don't waste too much of your limited time on this planet. From this exercise and knowledge comes the realization that there are greater things out there than you and me and that you can start making your own path in life.
WahLee T'ai Chi is about having fun.
It's about keeping life simple.
It has come about after almost 30 years of dedicated study of these profound arts in New Zealand, Australia, Canada and China.
It's about fitting it all into a Western lifestyle.
It's about making the most of your time on this planet.
And finally it's about how to access all of the things mentioned above.