Tai Chi Academy

Tai Chi Academy

The Academy, which has no religious connections, has been conducting Tai Chi classes since 1982.  Through research, experience and inspiration, the Academy has developed a well-formulated and time-proven method of teaching Tai Chi which produces fast and effective results.

What will Tai Chi do for You?

Tai Chi Academy

If You were to Gather this Knowledge
of Tai Chi Yourself:

Tai Chi Academy

… you’d have to invest much time and money to study and train for at least 10 years

or you can tap into the resources available from the Tai Chi Academy at a convenient location close to home or online!

Tai Chi Academy

Meet Brett & Fontane

Chief Instructor Brett Wagland, who is the director of the Academy, has devoted 40 years to the training and research of the best methods available.  He himself has benefitted tremendously from practising Tai Chi and is passionate to share these life tools with you.

Fontane Ip is the assistant director of the Tai Chi Academy.  She has 33 years of teaching experience in relaxation and internal health techniques.  As well as Tai Chi, Fontane specialises in Qigong (energy cultivation) and meditation training.  She teaches very uncommon Qigong practices which are rarely known even in the internal health arts circle.  Her teaching style is methodical and easy to follow.  She excels in explaining the relevance of this ancient wisdom as it applies to our daily lives.  She is highly regarded by all those who learn from her.  As well as gaining tremendous benefits, they are inspired by her elucidation which has enabled them to realise both the breadth and depth of the Emei Healing Qigong.

Brett and Fontane are the creators and presenters of the television series “Let’s Get Fit”, an innovative exercise program of 65 episodes, based on Tai Chi.  This most popular program on Foxtel’s Lifestyle channel is the first of its kind in Australia.  The series was also broadcast in Central America, South America and Europe.  They have successfully trained thousands of people of all ages and occupations to enjoy the many health benefits of Tai Chi.

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They also conduct stress management workshops and courses for government departments and private companies.  Brett has been conducting regular special classes for the Canberra Hospital to promote health and well-being.

Brett and Fontane have studied with well-respected teachers, including Grandmaster Fu Sheng Yuan, 5th generation ambassador of Yang Style.  They also had the good fortune to train with the founder of the Hun Yuan Tai Chi system, Grandmaster Feng Zhi Qiang, Feng Xiu Qian (his daughter) and Chen Xiang (his senior disciple).

Finally, no matter where you live, it is possible to train with Brett and Fontane!  Their knowledge and skills are now accessible to you anywhere, anytime.  You’ll find the Tai Chi online lessons methodical and easy to follow, the hallmark of Brett’s and Fontane’s teaching styles.

FAQ - Tai Chi & Qigong

As people from all walks of life are discovering, Tai Chi (also transliterated as Taijiquan), originated in Ancient China, is a time-proven health art that uses circular, flowing movements to calm the mind and relax the body.  Taijiquan means the Supreme Ultimate Fist. 

Behind the gentle movements is a wealth of philosophy, medicine and science.  Also known as meditation in motion, it is the perfect blend of relaxation and activity.  Practising Tai Chi exercises the body holistically while quietening the mind.

Internally, the soft, smooth movements massage the organs, improve blood circulation and promote diaphragmatic breathing.  Externally, the joints, tendons, and muscles are loosened and gradually strengthened. 

Tai Chi is about balance and harmony, but most of all it is about human happiness.

The continuous flowing movements of Tai Chi are based on the principle that running water never stagnates. The gentle movements relax your muscles and joints while strengthening your body.

Through movement and meditation, Tai Chi brings you the health of body and peace of mind.

“Relaxation does mean nothing or emptiness.
The Tai Chi movements are relaxed but alive.”
– Grandmaster Fu Sheng Yuan

Tai Chi Chuan means the Grand Ultimate Fist.  Because Tai Chi has developed as a martial art, it makes use of efficient methods to train the body-mind.  The art of Tai Chi has been evolving for thousands of years. It is not the product of one man or one family.  Its evolution has involved the collective genius of the Chinese culture.

Tai Chi has combined the knowledge of Chinese medicine, meditation techniques, philosophy, military strategy, and martial art training to achieve a high degree of sophistication and effectiveness.  Whether you are training for the martial or health aspect, the foundation is the same, that is, strengthening the legs, relaxing the shoulders, calming the mind and sinking the qi (internal energy) down, throughout the Tai Chi form.

Hun Yuan Tai Chi

“Hun” means mixed and “Yuan” means circle, so together they encompass everything in the universe.  Hun Yuan also refers to the movement of the universe or the Tao which is the force behind all phenomena.  This Tai Chi system specifically focuses on fostering a deep level of relaxation, cultivating energy to nurture oneself, and developing natural freedom of movement in the joints.


The Hun Yuan Tai Chi system was developed by Grandmaster Feng Zhi Qiang (1928-2012), one of China’s greatest martial arts experts.  He is known universally for his amazing feats of internal power.  Grandmaster Feng has been featured on the front cover of several issues of the international American publication, T’ai Chi Magazine.

In Beijing, Grandmaster Feng had the unique opportunity to learn from two of the most well known and respected teachers of their time, Hu Yao Zhen and Chen Fa Ke.

Hu Yao Zhen (1897-1973) was a famous traditional Chinese medical practitioner, a qigong master, and an expert in Xin Yi Chuan (Heart-Mind Boxing).  He became known as the father of modern qigong in China.

Chen Fa Ke (1887-1957), the 17th generation of Chen Style, was humble of character and emphasized martial virtue in his teaching.  He defeated challengers without causing injury. Only a master of great skill would be able to do so.  Chen Style Tai Chi is the progenitor of the Yang, Wu, Sun, and Woo styles of Tai Chi.

Due to the knowledge and insight that Grandmaster Feng has gained from his two teachers, he has been able to develop the Hun Yuan Tai Chi system which enables practitioners to achieve noticeable results quickly.  Most of all, the practice of Hun Yuan Tai Chi is very enjoyable!

The Academy is proud to pass on this knowledge to you.  Brett and Fontane are dedicated to helping you gain the benefits that have made Tai Chi famous so that you will enjoy an enduring quality of life.  The Hun Yuan Tai Chi form, consisting of twenty-four movements, takes only eight minutes to complete.  Busy people can easily fit it into their lifestyles.  Relaxation, a sense of well being, true freedom of movement, and better health are all within your reach!


Tai Chi uses calming, structured movements to counteract the stress of living in today’s fast society. The mind is constantly stimulated and strained by work, relationships, money, etc.

Even in sleep, the mind remains active. A stressed mind makes errors and interferes with the healthy functioning of the body. The fluid movements of Tai Chi have a calming effect on the nervous system which in turn helps to relieve stress in daily life.

A calmer nervous system will also assist in regulating the digestive system, strengthening the respiratory system, improving the cardiovascular system and boosting the immune system. Tai Chi enables you to enter into a state of balance and tranquillity which allows the body-mind to heal naturally.

To simply observe people practising Tai Chi is a peaceful experience. They reflect a sense of serenity and mental well-being.
After a Tai Chi session, you always feel relaxed, refreshed and content.

Tai Chi is a low-impact exercise without taxing the body. This makes Tai Chi suitable for many people – age from 16 onwards to older adults and all genders. People who have heart conditions or suffer from arthritis will also find Tai Chi beneficial.

Slow and smooth movements are safe and beneficial for everyone.

They allow people of different ages, capabilities and strength to exercise, each to their own limit, and to become stronger and healthier. It is easy to injure your body if you train fast and hard. Practising slow movements enables you to be more aware of your body and to avoid injury. For example, if you have a back problem or knee condition, with awareness you learn to adjust your body alignment. This allows your body weight to travel through to the ground, instead of being trapped in the lower back or knee, where problems may develop.

Moving slowly improves coordination and balance which helps to prevent falls. Fast movement often brings a degree of tension. When you are tense, you can no longer discern differences clearly. For example, if you are supporting a heavy object, and you add a pebble to it, you are unlikely to feel the difference.

Moving slowly induces relaxation which in turn promotes awareness. Increased sensitivity allows you to feel different parts of your body more acutely and thereby improve coordination and balance. Better balance will prevent falls.

Tai Chi walking is likened to the stepping of a cat: slow, light, relaxed and natural. Once you have achieved this, you will be able to move swiftly and accurately, and yet stay relaxed as a cat.

Coordination at first may just involve the limbs. Then it extends to the waist, the spine, the breath and ultimately, the circulation of chi [internal energy] through the body’s meridian pathways.

Tai Chi is designed to train the body thoroughly and evenly. Slow, smooth and continuous movements relieve muscle tension and train the weak areas of the body, especially the joints, tendons and ligaments.

When you train in hard exercise programs which emphasise brute force, your muscles become strong and over-protect the joints. This means that the joints are not trained. Due to the density of the joints, there is less blood circulated to these areas than to the muscles. This makes the joints more difficult to heal once damaged.

In Tai Chi, slowness, relaxation and correct alignment enable you to relieve the tension in your muscles, thus allowing the joints to be exercised thoroughly and strengthened gradually. Slow, circular and continuous Tai Chi movements loosen any stiffness in the joints, tendons and ligaments, resulting in greater freedom of movement.

Circulation to the joints will also improve, and so hasten recovery in existing injuries. In order to experience a deeper level of relaxation, it is necessary for you to build a strong basis. The legs are the first and most important aspect of building this foundation. Many sportspeople in Australia are prone to knee and ankle injuries, in spite of their physical fitness. Tai Chi strengthens not only the muscles of the legs but also the tendons and joints. This training, when it is performed properly and under expert instruction, will greatly strengthen the knee, the most vulnerable joint in the body. Stronger legs will lead to a stronger lower back which will improve your overall posture.

The following analogy illustrates this slow, smooth and continuous training method. If you have 1,000 litres of water in a container, 10 metres above a concrete slab, and you release that water in one splash, perhaps you might get a clean slab. However, if you take the same amount of water, and let it drip onto a concrete slab continuously, the water will eventually wear a hole in the slab. This same process is applied in Tai Chi training. The joints are exercised slowly and continuously until they become strong and flexible.

Slow and continuous movements stimulate circulation, which is essential in maintaining your health and vitality.Slow, relaxed movements calm the mind.

 For centuries, the Chinese have realised the benefits of slow, natural movements. Practising this way has a calming effect on your mind and nervous system. As your breathing and heart rate slow down, your mind and body feel relaxed, refreshed and energised. This is quite different from hard and fast training which tends to result in tiredness and lack of energy.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, keeping the heart rate low during exercise is more beneficial than accelerating the heart rate. Warming the body while the heart rate remains low is the result of deep mental and physical relaxation.

Qigong (also transliterated as Chi Kung) is the art of cultivating internal energy. “Qi” here refers to yuan qi, that is, your original energy inherited from your parents, and “gong” simply means the work involved in the cultivation of energy.

Traditional Chinese medicine talks about the smooth flow of qi or life force energy throughout the body. The unimpeded flow of qi helps to develop a calm mind and a healthy body. This energy can be enhanced by various methods.

The practice of Qigong is one such method. It employs relaxation, intention and various postures to create harmony and balance in the mind and body. This state of calm is conducive to cultivating energy (qi) in our bodies.

The use of the mind is the main ingredient in the cultivation of qi. The regular practice of Qigong has a very beneficial effect on our health and well-being.

There are three types of Qigong:

1. static (sitting, standing – similar to meditation),
2. semi-dynamic (little or no stepping but with upper body movements) and,
3. dynamic (every part of the body is moving, such as Tai Chi)

People usually associate the 2nd type, semi-dynamic, as Qigong. Most do not realise that Tai Chi is a very sophisticated form of Qigong. It is precisely the relaxation and energy circulation aspects that distinguish Tai Chi from other forms of exercise.

In our physical classes and online lessons, students learn all three forms of Qigong. All three share the same characteristics: calmness of the mind and relaxation of the body which are conducive to the cultivation of qi. In all three forms, correct posture is emphasised as it is essential to the development of one’s Qigong.
Practise Qigong for a happier and healthier life!

Emei Mountain, one of China’s four designated sacred Buddhist mountains, is in the Sichuan province. It is a beautiful place with waterfalls, verdant green forests and ancient temples. It has been a refuge for those seeking self-cultivation and on the quest of enlightenment. In 1227, a Taoist monk made his way to the Lofty Eyebrow Peak, the summit of the Emei Mountain and meditated there until he became fully enlightened. After he had realised his true nature, he took the name, Bai Yun (White Cloud) and created the Emei Qigong system …….  Read More


Tai Chi Classes at Aranda, Weston and Curtin begin the week 30 Apr.

Suggested Reading:

“The Art of the Straight Line : My Tai Chi”, by Lou Reed

“No Fight, No Blame: a Journalist’s life in Martial Arts”, by Michael Dorgan
Grandmaster Feng Zhi Zhang, founder of our Hun Yuan Tai Chi system, is featured in the book.

“Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us”, by Michael Moss

“The Web that has No Weaver : understanding Chinese medicine”, by Ted J. Kaptchuk