Alan Baker BSc PGCE (FE) MRTCM
Member of the British Council for Chinese Martial Arts
Beginning his Taiji (Tai Chi) study in 1985 Alan originally studied Yang Style Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) in Oxford under Richard Druitt, who was himself trained by John Kells of London. John Kells was an indoor student of Dr. Chi who was an indoor student of Cheng Man Ching. Since then he has studied under various teachers both in the U.K. and China (visits in 1996, 2001, 2003). For the last twenty years he has been studying Chen Style Taijiquan with Karel and Eva Koskuba of the Chinese Internal Arts Association. In 2018 Alan became an indoor student of Karel and Eva, 20th generation Chen family lineage disciples of Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang.
Training with Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang
As well as Chansijin (silk reeling) Tui Shou and Ta lu (Push hands), Alan's study has covered:
Yang Style Short Form
Yang Style Long Form
Chen Style Laojia (Old Frame)
Chen Style Xinjia (New Frame)
Chen Style Xinjia Pao Choi (Cannon Fist)
Taiji Jian (Straight Sword)
Taiji Dao (Sabre)
Taiji Guandao (Halberd)
Alan has attend regular seminars and workshops with some of the top Taijiquan practitioners in the world, including Grandmaster Chen Xiao Wang, Master Chen Bing, Master Chen Yin Jung, Master Wang Hao Da, Master Jan Silberstorf and Mike Sigman.
Training with Master Chen Bing
Whilst working as a tutor for Oxfordshire Adult Learning (1990-2007) Alan undertook professional Teacher Training, graduating with a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (Further Education) in 2000.
Top: Storing Jin for Push - Yang Style
Middle: Being Introduced as Indoor Student with Mark Jones by Karel and Eva Koscuba 2018
Bottom: China Night at Ashmolean Museum, Oxford 2016
Although Alan leads classes, students are often split into small groups and taught by more senior students. If you attend classes you will probably, at some point, be taught by one of the following student instructors.
Li began studying with Alan over twenty five years ago. She can instruct students in all aspects of Yang and Chen Style Taijiquan including sword and sabre.
Li: “Tai chi excited me, the exercises, the Chi Kung (Qigong), the legends and the Form. The desire to know more grew; I attended workshops and experienced several different instructors, but at the end of the day decided the attitude and teachings of Alan most suited me. The martial side came as a bonus. After a while I ventured into sword play and a new dimension to T’ai chi opened up for me. I initially learnt Yang style but am now studying Chen Style.
I was taken with the fact that once self consciousness is overcome T’ai chi can be practiced anywhere any time, at a bus stop, in the office or in the park. Although I practice less now the quality of my practice seems deeper. I have made some very good friends and enjoy exchanging views. We are all very different people in shape size and ability physically, but I feel T’ai chi has something to offer everyone.”
Frances has studied Taijiquan with Alan since 1999 and can instruct students in Yang and Chen styles as well as Push Hands. Francis has completed a three year course in teacher training in Qigong with the Chinese Internal Arts Association. Frances is currently teaching the over 50s class in Dorchester.
Frances: "I developed an interest in Qigong following nearly 20 years of practicing yoga and started to pursue Zhan Zhuang standing practice in 1997. In my quest to learn more, I came across Alan’s Taijiquan Yang style classes, in which he taught not only Qigong warm-ups, but occasional standing, followed by this incredible routine of interlinked movements – the Form.
My study has covered Yang Style Short and Long Forms; Chen Style Laojia and Xinjia Forms, as well as Push Hands and Chansugong (Silk Reeling). I have had the good fortune to attend workshops by 19th Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang (Chen Style Laojia) and Karel and Eva Koskuba of the Chinese Internal Arts Association (Push Hands, Eight Animals and Ying & Yang Qigong). Over the years, I have also studied or attended workshops on Shaolin Qigong (Yijin jing), Taiji Ruler Qigong, Guolin Qigong for cancer patients and Five-Animal Primal Qigong.
My fascination for these ancient Chinese internal arts never ceases; the improvements in structure (posture), relaxation and mindfulness – however small – spill over into everyday life, gradually increasing both physical and mental well-being.”
Mark has been studying for well over twenty years. Originally learning Yang Style he also switched to Chen style about fifteen years ago.
Mark is an invaluable asset to the Wood Farm class in Headington, Oxford.