About Us

The Middle Way School of Tai Chi is a direct descendent of the Natural Way School ran by the late Alan Peck. The teachers at the Middle Way School were Alan’s most distinguished, senior students and were already recognized as teachers in their own right. They now combine their skills and experience to continue this Tai Chi lineage – the tradition of Dr Chi Chiang-Tao.

Classes meet on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at the Lam Rim Centre for Whole Health in Bedminster, Bristol. Instruction is offered in Tai Chi from beginners through to advanced level in Short, Long and Sword forms, as well as in Push Hands and San Sou.

History & Lineage

The Yang-style of Tai Chi practised at the Middle Way school originates from the early 19th century. It was Yang Cheng-Fu who is largely held responsible for standardizing and popularizing the Yang-style, which is the most widely practised form of Tai Chi in the world today.

Yang’s most notable student was Cheng Man-Ching. Known as the Master of the Five Excellences, a reference given to Confucian Scholars who had excelled in Medicine, Tai Chi Chuan, Calligraphy, Painting and Poetry, Cheng had spent about 6 years studying under Master Yang Cheng-Fu learning Long form, Sword and Tui Shou (Push Hands). Professor Cheng became a pioneer by bringing Tai Chi out of China and into America. His disciples were pivotal in furthering our tradition well into the 20th century, embedding it into western culture.

Dr Chi Chiang-Tao, known as the ‘Master of Yielding’, as it was this quality, he felt, which allowed even the weakest person to be strong. Through yielding a weak person can meet the force of a strong person; you open before the oncoming force and let it pass you. It is said that once this has been mastered a slight pull will be sufficient to topple your partner.[1] Dr Chi became a disciple of Professor Cheng’s in 1955. Later in his life he decided to take on a young westerner called John Kells who eventually became his disciple. Together they created the British Tai Chi Chuan Association in London which became the first and oldest Tai Chi school in the UK. He was completely dedicated to Yielding as he felt that it was this quality that allowed even the weakest person to be strong.

Alan Peck began his Tai Chi study in 1977 under John Kells who by then had been recognised as the first Western Tai Chi master at the Chinese T’ai Chi Chuan Association. At the same time Alan had started to study Tibetan Buddhism under Venerable Geshe Damcho Yonten as well as well respected energy healer Bob Moore. In 1983 he founded his Natural Way Tai Chi School, moving from Bristol from London and after being recognised as the top student of John Kell’s school he began an intensive period of study directly under Dr Chi in Vancouver.

Alan Peck went on to run the Natural Way school for over 25 years until his death in March 2010.

[1] Richard Farmer, http://www.risingdragontaichi.com/artchi.html