Variable Easy (Sun Style) Tai Chi for Health

A new simplified system of variable length Tai Chi exercise for health

Variable Easy Tai Chi for  Health


 I have been studying martial arts for half a century and Tai Chi since 1996. I am the head instructor in a school of Sun Style Taijiquan in South Wales UK called the Swimming Dragon School of Sun Style Tai Chi that I started in 2000, the year of the Dragon, teaching the Classical Sun Style of Tai Chi (Taijiquan). My present mentor is Mr Per Nyfelt of Sweden who learned the art in China as the disciple of the late Sun Jianyun, the daughter of Sun Style founder, Sun Lutang . He became one of her special lineage holder disciples, recorded in a special lineage book. Mr Nyfelt speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese as well as very fluent English and he still travels regularly to China and continues to study Sun Style with Sun family members. His expertise and the help that he has provided for our School has made it a leading centre for the true classical Sun Family Style martial arts in the UK. We teach mainly Classical Sun Family Style Taiji Quan but also increasingly Sun’s other internal arts Bagua Quan and Xing Yi Quan. Our school is a founder member of the Sun’s Neijia Association, originally called the Sun Style Tai Chi Association of Wales but changed when we started providing services, especially the VETCH therapy, outside Wales.

As the head instructor of the Swimming Dragon School I was an experienced Sun Style teacher I was interested in the Style’s  application as a therapy for arthritis and attended the first UK “Tai Chi for arthritis” (TCA) course held in Oxford England by Dr Paul Lam of Australia, and then an advanced TCA instructors course held in Stockport two years later. After such “week end workshop” courses Dr Lam awarded me licences to teach his programme, (valid only for two years each time.)

The Tai Chi for arthritis programme was developed in Australia by Dr Lam as an ideal exercise system for people suffering from osteo-arthritis. There is normally  no cure except joint replacement, but unless the muscles around an affected joint are kept in good condition the arthritis will get worse. Thus exercise is important but the wrong kind of exercise will do more harm than good. Dr Lam said that although most Tai Chi exercise is good, Sun Style Tai Chi is the best for people with knee or hip  joint problems because of the more upright posture and the unique shorter stepping action of the style.

To train a Sun Style instructor to a level such that they are able to teach the 97 movements of the classical routine, or the 73 movements of the popular more athletic competition routine, takes from two to ten years. Experienced Sun Style teachers are still very rare. How then could the arthritis sufferers in Australia be provided with all the Sun Style instructors they needed?   Dr Lam’s solution was simply to train many new instructors to teach just six Sun Style Tai Chi movements at a one weekend course to enable them to teach just six movements to sufferers. The six movements were selected from the 73 movements of the competition routine and his Sun Style “Tai Chi for Arthritis” programme was born. Later six other movements etc. were added as it spread world wide as a famous therapy for arthritis sufferers.

Inspired by the ability of the copyright TCA programme to “fast track” train new instructors to teach movements from the 73 competition style, I decided to produce my own simplified fast track system but based on movements selected from the classical 97 sequence Sun Style instead, and devised a new and novel small cycle variable length structure. This system is now called “Variable Easy Tai Chi for Health” VETCH. Also like Dr Lam’s TCA therapy, the VETCH therapy is copyright. The UK copyright covers the novel teaching of sun style Tai Chi  movements in small cycles, whatever sun style movements are chosen to make up each cycle. It does not cover other Tai Chi styles. Like Dr Lam’s copyright therapy , a current licence is required to legally teach the copyright therapy. The difference is a VETCH instructors license last for life, unless it is revoked by the copyright holder. Updating is done free on line.

The existing programme usually consists of five modules, each one consisting of half a dozen or so movements selected from the classical 97 Sun Style routine. Modules are taught one at a time. Beginners can start any time attending our classes as it does not matter which short module is being taught on that day.

Normally other Tai Chi groups may have to have special courses for beginners as they cannot hope that raw beginners can fit in to a class of experienced pupils who are performing long standard routines. A beginner at these other groups may have thus to wait for a beginners course to be organized or attend a different class from more experienced students.

The local government Communities department for our South Wales area has organised short courses for me to train people who wish to provide the VETCH exercise therapy to special local groups, such as hospitals, old folks homes, displaced families etc. I provide the scheme with my free instruction, and award licenses to  those that  complete the short course for them to teach the copyright therapy to their group.

We have found that the VETCH system is also ideal as a training of beginners who intend to move on to the full classical sequences at a later date.

We would welcome those wishing to be trained to obtain a license to start teaching our VETCH programme. Please refer to our  teacher training scheme page.


About us. Our School and my VETCH therapy

Sun Jianyun

Daughter of

Sun Lutang

Per Nyfelt

John Jones