Our System

Many Strands of the Brocade

Tai Chi Ch'uan as taught and practiced within Midlands Tai Chi Ch'uan is much, much more than just a relaxation or exercise class.  It gently stretches mind, body and imagination and opens all sorts of doors into all sorts of fascinating experiences.

For those who want more than just 'Chinese aerobics', our students are offered the whole system of Tai Chi Ch'uan comprising eight interlinked disciplines (often referred to as the'Eight Strands of the Brocade' in Tai Chi Ch'uan texts) which together make up the whole. 

Note: Not all Tai Chi Ch'uan styles have the same eight strands – these are the ones we teach:

To add still more depth of knowledge and discovery we also spend time exploring and applying the underlying principles such as:

True to our traditional roots, many aspects of Chinese culture are also woven into the fabric of our training including:


The Aims and Objectives of the Midlands T'ai Chi Ch'uan Association are broadly as follows:


The first Bedworth T'ai Chi Ch'uan group met at the Bedworth Arts Centre in Warwickshire in February 1993, with twelve students (some of whom continue to train to the present day). Following the passing of the late Master Chee Soo in 1994 and uncertainty around the future of the International Taoist Society, Midlands T'ai Chi Ch'uan was formed in April 1995 as a constituent member of Midlands Wing Chun Kuen. In 2001 the Association was recognised as a fully independent member of the British Council for Chinese Martial Arts and now has approximately 100 students training through its Clubs and Adult Further Education classes. The aim of the Midlands T'ai Chi Ch'uan Association is to teach and maintain the purity and integrity of the Lee Family style of T'ai Chi Ch'uan and to promote the health and well-being of its students.

Membership and Training

Training with Midlands T'ai Chi Ch'uan is based upon the traditional Chinese ‘family’ model, with emphasis on always showing respect for yourself and to others.  There is none of the rigid discipline or formality typical of many Martial Arts styles, only self-discipline and courtesy.  Classes are relaxed, informal and fun, so that students may gain maximum benefit from their T'ai Chi Ch'uan practice in an atmosphere of trust and friendship. 

In order to preserve this very special training environment, membership is by invitation only, at the discretion of the Chief Instructor.  All students undergo a four session probationary period, paying only for lessons attended.  On completion of this probationary period, provided the student has demonstrated an acceptable attitude, they are invited to join the Association, at which time they pay the annual membership fee and member to member insurance premium, obtained through the British Council for Chinese Martial Arts.  No member is permitted to train without valid insurance. 

Membership of the Association allows students access to all Association Club training, seminars, workshops, demonstrations, etc., the right to wear the Association uniform and take part in promoting the Association’s activities.  The right to continue as a member of Midlands T'ai Chi Ch'uan depends on individuals maintaining an acceptable attitude and adhering to the rules and Code of Conduct of the Association.  In this way we ensure that everyone can train in a safe, comfortable and productive manner. 

Minimum age for membership is 18 years and there is no upper age limit.

The Club Constitution setting out in detail the aims and practice of the Association is available for reference at all times

Personal Development

Our Tai Chi Ch'uan is concerned solely with personal well being, so the Association has no grading or coloured sash / belt system, nor is there any form of competition.  However, there is a bi-monthly Advanced Student Development Programme for students wishing to gain a deeper level of understanding and practice in a regular workshop run by the Chief Instructor.

This Programme also provides an opportunity for students who wish to develop their practice to the required level of competency leading to qualification as a full Instructor for the Association.

Instructors for the Association continue their personal and professional development through regular training workshops run by the Chief Instructor

Fees and Insurance

Membership fees and insurance premiums are payable annually in advance: Currently £25.00pa 

Training fees are paid per session: £5.00

Chief Instructor Profile

Sifu Gee Higham

Following a lifelong interest in martial arts and Chinese culture, I began practising Lee Family Style Tai Chi Ch'uan at an Adult Education evening class in Coventry in January 1988.  In poor health, suffering from a variety of problems including osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, my health and mobility were so poor that on that initial session I struggled to join in the warm up or even manage the first sequence of the Short Form.  However, I experienced such a positive effect that I was instantly ‘hooked’ on Tai Chi Ch'uan.  Within a year of training I was discovering a life without pain or loss of mobility, for the first time.  This very personal experience of the healing benefits of the Lee Family Style of Tai Chi Ch'uan has motivated me to introduce and promote the Taoist Health Arts to groups and individuals through classes, demonstrations, talks and seminars whenever the opportunity has arisen, in the hope that it can inspire others to feel the same benefit.

Living in Coventry, it was my great good luck to be able to attend regular training sessions under the direct guidance and teaching of Prof. Chee Soo, founder of the International Taoist Society, who was then based in Coventry.  This was in addition to attending, and later assisting at, several evening classes each week, learning Lee Family Style Tai Chi Ch'uan and Feng Shou.  Master Soo remains my inspiration and I am forever in his debt, and that of all my fellow students and Instructors, for their patience, encouragement and support .

After qualifying as a full Instructor with the ITS in November 1992, I started a class in Bedworth Arts Centre, Warwickshire with twelve nervous students and one very nervous instructor! We have moved on from the Bedworth Arts Centre, the evening and morning classes are still flourishing, with some of the original members from those early days still actively training. Other classes soon followed and the Association now has around 100 students training in and around North Warwickshire.

Following the sad passing of Prof Chee Soo, the Midlands Tai Chi Ch'uan Association was established through the kind assistance of Sifu Shaun Rawcliffe of Midlands Wing Chun Kuen.  Midlands Tai Chi Ch'uan became a fully independent Association and registered member of the British Council for Chinese Martial Arts in 2000 and Sifu Rawcliffe remains Honorary President of the Association.

Alongside teaching and training in Tai Chi Ch'uan, I began studying Wing Chun Kuen under the instruction of Sifu Shaun Rawcliffe in 1993 and have twice visited Hong Kong with groups of Sifu Rawcliffe’s students to train with his own teacher, Grandmaster Ip Chun, acknowledged as the world’s foremost authority on Wing Chun.   It is rare to be fortunate enough to train with two masters of Chinese health and martial arts and I am profoundly grateful for these opportunities.

In 2002 I took a sabbatical from martial arts training to complete a year long study course to gain a Further and Adult Education Teaching Certificate, as part of my continuing personal development. I have also gained an IIHHT qualification as an Holistic Health Therapist.

Over the past ten years I have had several articles published in various publications, including COMBAT, Martial Arts Illustrated and Qi Magazine.  Tai Chi Ch'uan, TCM and martial arts is my full time hobby and my pre-occupation with Chinese culture and the Taoist arts has extended to teaching Chinese brush painting, three years learning to speak Cantonese and a trip to Beijing to study Tui Na (Chinese Massage) and Qi Gung at the University Hospital.  Since 2006 I have been acting as group leader for many of my students on cultural and training trips to China in conjunction with SCIC of China.

So much for my past and my present.  As for the future … what will be will be.  But it will be with Tai Chi Ch'uan, of that I am sure.

Gee Higham

Equal Opportunities Policy & Practice

Midlands Tai Chi Ch'uan actively operates a non-discriminatory training environment and non-compliance with our code of equal training opportunity can result in expulsion from the Association.  Training is tailored to suit personal circumstances and we will endeavour to adapt teaching and learning techniques to enable every student to realise their full potential.