Tai Chi for Health, Relaxation and Martial Arts 

This website is the legacy and reference site for activities of Tai Ji Circle which opened in 2004 and ceased trading in December 2022. As a charity it ran from 2013 and finally closed in August 2023.

Shifu Liu Quanjun’s current London classes and workshops are online and in venue. Classes are now being run via Shifu Liu’s new business website Taiji Circle Lucky Dragon, all bookings should be made from there. Sign up to the new mailing list on that website for information or contact him by email. Thank you.

Until closure, Tai Ji Circle was a north London school and charity dedicated to sharing and promoting Chen Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) and qi gong (chi kung) practice. The weekly tai ji classes and monthly workshops for beginners to advanced levels were directed and taught by Shifu Liu Quanjun and the charity was managed by Christine Jones with expert help from the trustees and colleagues. Shifu Liu and Chris are disciples of Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang, the 19th generation lineage heir of the Chen family Taijiquan, that is the origin of many modern Tai Chi styles taught around the world today. We provided:-
•  A comprehensive Chen Tai Ji (tai chi) training programme
• Traditional and Modern Chen Taijiquan hand forms
• Chen style Push Hands and Martial Applications
• Chen style weapons forms
• Ongoing classes for beginners Foundation classes to advanced levels
• Traditional training as in China
• Friendly place to train – everyone is welcome
• Weekly classes, monthly workshops and some free sessions

Shifu Liu continues to impart his experience and skill through regular classes and workshops see Taiji Circle Lucky Dragon.

Benefits of Chen Tai Ji training:
• Improve health and fitness
• Increase stamina, coordination, balance and flexibility
• Decrease stress and increase relaxation
• Study with a genuine Chinese taijiquan master, Liu Quanjun, 20th generation disciple of Chen lineage head, Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang
• Individual posture correction from Master Liu
• Increase self confidence and improve your quality of life

During lockdowns in 2020 we kept in touch with our taiji family of students to maintain social interaction and to keep training with Shifu Liu live on Zoom even if at home before returning to our venues.

Prior to Covid-19 in 2020 we were very fortunate to have many annual visits from China of Master Chen Ziqiang, the son of Grandmaster Chen Xiaoxing and nephew of Standard Bearer Chen Xiaowang. Master Chen Ziqiang is a 20th generation direct descendant of the Chen Taijiquan Family. He is the Chief Coach of the prestigious Chenjiagou Taijiquan Academy and a renowned tai ji teacher and martial arts champion. Both he and his students have achieved overwhelming victories in numerous competitions both in China and worldwide. Master Chen Ziqiang’s Tai Ji is impeccable and he is ranked as one of the true great masters within the Taijiquan community. It was an honour to be able to welcome him back for London workshops in 2023.

Master Chen Ziqiang in the centre with Liu Quanjun and Chris

Chen Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan is the Cantonese spelling) Tai Chi (Taijiquan of the Chen style) is practiced as a sequence of slow or dynamic movements and forms, that combine ‘soft’ and ‘hard’, with ‘fast’ and ‘slow’ actions. It is performed in a relaxed, balanced and natural way that adheres to the philosophical Daoist (Taoist) principles of Yin Yang, the Chinese theory of opposites. Chen style Taijiquan has bare hand and weapon routines suitable for beginners foundation practice to advanced levels, push hands and martial applications and techniques. It can be practiced meditatively and slowly in a high stance, or faster in a lower stance for increasing stamina and power, (which makes it different from other tai chi styles) but also makes it suitable for different age groups to practice.

CHEN TAIJIQUAN and QI GONG TRAINING available with Shifu Liu for all levels.

During Covid-19 we asked everyone to follow the government and NHS guidelines, and as a charity we had a regularly updated Risk Assessment for In Venue classes.

Shifu Liu teaching GM Chen Xiaowang’s Yifei Gong at Tai Ji Circle to support lung health in February 2020 classes before the first lockdown in March. Daily practice of breathing and movement exercises at home helps to keep us healthy.

“In the beginning use the body to move the ‘energy’ – much later you can use the ‘energy’ to move the body!” Liu Quanjun

More on Chen Taiijiquan


In-Venue & Online

Evenings: Islington Chinese Association + Online Zoom 
18:30-19:30     Tai Ji: Cannon Fist Laojia Er Lu
19:30-20:30    Tai Ji: Chen Fan form/Chen Single Sword

Evenings: Islington Chinese Association + Online Zoom 
18:30-19:30    Tai Ji: Chen Foundation Class for Beginners
19:30-20:30    Tai Ji: Xinjia Yi Lu (New Frame 1 Form)

07:00-08:00    Early Morning Chen Foundation Practice – Online Zoom 

Evenings: St Paul’s Church Hall, Camden Square + Online Zoom
18:30-19:30    Tai Ji: Chen SIngle /Double Sabres
19:30-20:30    Chen Push Hands & Martial Applications Training

07:00-08:00    Early Morning Chen Foundation Practice – Online Zoom

Saturday Workshops 
St Paul’s Church, Camden Square + Online Zoom
13:00 – 16:00  Chen Tai Ji Workshops – see website Events

At Islington Chinese Association + Online Zoom
10:00-11:00    Tai Ji: Chen Foundation Class for beginners
11:00-12:00    Tai Ji: Chen 19 Part Form – general 
12:00-13:00    Tai Ji: Chen Laojia Yi Lu Form

Class levels
• Foundation Chen is suitable for new students to taiji and all levels for essential technique practice and correction
• Chen 19 Form is suitable for students progressing from Foundation (3-6 months)
• Laojia Yi Lu (classic Old Frame 1 Form) practice with thorough understanding of Foundation training and knowledge of the 19 Form
• Laojia Er Lu (classic Old Frame 2 Form) knowledge and understanding of previous levels
• Chen Sword, Chen Fan and weapons, good hand forms practice is required
• Xinjia Yi Lu and Er Lu (Chen New Frame Form 1 and 2) are advanced routines (Xinjia Er Lu currently no class)
• Taiji Ball strength training is open to all levels (currently no class)

Chen Taiji for Beginners

Foundation Chen Tai Ji (tai chi) Classes

Shifu Liu Quanjun’s London classes and workshops are now being run via the new Taiji Circle Lucky Dragon website, all bookings can be made from there. Thank you.

Discover the roots of Tai chi (taiji) and try the traditional form of Chen Taijiquan (tai chi chuan) with renowned London Chen master Liu Quanjun. Learn how to relax and benefit health through our practical Chen Foundation classes, discover the hidden power in this authentic internal martial art, and understand theories and philosophies that underpin the practice.

In 2024 there will be four weekly Chen Foundation Taijiquan classes (Sunday mornings, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday evenings) that beginners can attend and join, these classes are in venue and online. Plus two early morning Online Zoom classes Wednesdays and Fridays 7:30-8:30am. See timetable below.

Shifu Liu teaches the syllabus of standing practice and silk reeling exercises that are the basis for learning Chen taijiquan forms practice. Learning Chen Taiji takes time, persistence, perseverance and repetition of the movements to improve posture, balance and coordination, it’s not a quick fix!

Foundation Classes with Shifu Liu from 7 January 2024 – Venues

The Islington Chinese Association
Sundays: 10:00 – 11:00
Mondays + Tuesdays: from 18:30-19:30 
21 Hatchard Road, London N19 4NG
Archway underground or Upper Holloway (Rail), walk or bus down Holloway Rd, to Marlborough Road.

St Paul’s Church Hall
Thursdays: 18:30-19:30 
Camden Square, London NW1 9BP
Camden tube or Upper Holloway overground

To qualify for concessionary fees (please apply to support@taijicircle.com):-
• full-time student
• unemployment, housing or on incapacity benefit
• over 60 or under 18 years
• chronic health issues, ask Chris or Shifu Liu (email us) and check with your doctor that it is alright for you to practice
• children under 16 in adult Foundation classes are free with parent

Whether you are new to Taijiquan or more experienced, practicing the foundation training is essential to build strength, calmness, and to gain full energy which is necessary for more advanced practice. Our Foundation classes are recommended for all new students to gain a grasp of the essential requirements of the Chen style.

Everyone welcome, no previous experience is required.

If you have health issues please let us know and have permission from your doctor before joining our classes.

Training for our Chen Tai ji Foundation includes:-
• Nei Gong, internal practice
• Jiben Gong, warm ups and silk reeling exercises
• Understanding tai ji movement principles and the role of the dantian (energy centre) and kua (groin),
• Training for health benefits, agility and better balance

Objectives of the Foundation Chen Taijiquan Classes
• Release and learn to soften and relax tension, using your natural breath
• Learn the basic stances and hand positions of the Chen style
• Gain better alignment, balance and coordination
• Standing practice and posture correction for improved alignment and strength
• Understand Silk Reeling exercises, to gain control of balance and weight changing, and to circulate energy throughout the body
• Use of yin yang theory in Tai ji practice
• Understand some of the basic theories and philosophies underlying Chen Taijiquan
• Understand how the martial applications are within apparently simple movements even at the Foundation level.

“Thank you so much for this amazing material and for organising everything in such a clear way. This course is by far the best one I have ever taken, and I’ve tried quite a few places!”
AN. 2020

Chen Xiaowang

Standard Bearer of Chen Taijiquan

Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang was born in 1945 in Chenjiagou (Chen Village), Henan Province, China and is currently the standard bearer of the 19th generation of the Chen family. He is a senior national martial artist and professor in the Chinese Martial Arts International Promotions Centre. Upon the solid foundation of the experience of his ancestors, Chen has not only been successful in Taijiquan himself, but has tirelessly promoted his “family martial art” throughout the world. He is direct descendent of the legendary Chen Wang Ting, originator of Chen Taijiquan in the 17th Century, and the grandson of Chen Fa’ke, renowned as the greatest Taijiquan master at the beginning of the 20th Century.

At a very young age, Chen received rigorous training in Chen family Taijiquan theory, forms, weapons, push hands, and free sparring from his father, Chen Zhaoxu, and his uncles, Chen Zhaopi and Chen Zhaokui. In 1980, he became a board member of the Henan Institute of Sport and began teaching Taijiquan professionally. He entered the National Taijiquan Competition winning gold medals for three consecutive years (1980-82). In 1985, he represented China in the First International Martial Arts Invitational Competition in Xi’an receiving the World Champion title for Taijiquan. Chen continued to compete in sizable competitions and was awarded the title of champion in Taijiquan more than twenty times.

Chen served as the sole deputy elected from Taijiquan circles to the Chinese National People’s Assembly. In 1988, he was awarded the Contribution to Martial Arts prize by the National Institute of Martial Arts, and the Chinese Government recognised him as a “Living National Treasure.” He is recognised as one of four “Buddha’s Warrior Attendants,” the four outstanding exponents of the 19th generation in Chenjiagou. Chen Xiaowang was chairperson of the Henan Province Chen Push Hands Taijiquan Association; deputy head of the Wushu Academy of Henan Province; and technical advisor and official assessor for the standardised competition routines for the Chen, Yang, Wu, and Sun styles of taijiquan. In 2010 he was honoured with the highest distinction in Chinese martial arts, the 9th duan wei.

Chen has created two condensed forms of the Laojia and Xinjia forms; a 38-posture form and a 19-posture form, and the 9-posture form for beginners. He told inside Kung-Fu Magazine in 1991, “I have tried to do away with all the repetitions and simplify the exceedingly difficult moves without destroying the characteristics of Chen Style Taijiquan, with special emphasis to attack/defense and the chansi technique.”

He has represented China sharing martial arts knowledge with people all over the world. His deep Taijiquan skill has allowed him to defeat all martial artists who have challenged him. Over many years, Chen has taught tens of thousands of Taijiquan students both in and outside of China.

Chen has held many positions of leadership in areas of martial arts, calligraphy, culture, and Chinese medicine and currently holds various positions in many international and Chinese Taijiquan institutions. He was the principal in the films on Chen family Taijiquan produced by Chinese Central Television (CCTV) and has choreographed and directed martial arts films. Additionally, he authored a number of renowned books and essays on Taijiquan. His books and videos have been translated into many languages and have been published worldwide.

Chen is also leading a project to rebuild the house of Chen Changxing, the fourteenth generation Chen family. A project made possible by the contribution of his disciples and all the students who have bought his beautiful calligraphy, (example right) “Jing , Qi, Shen”, Essence, Energy, Spirit, which TJC use the motto on our T shirt.

Chen has contributed significantly to the international promotion of Taijiquan. In 1990, he left China on a mission to promote Taijiquan to the world. He established the World Chen Xiaowang Taijiquan Association and has since been touring Europe, North America, South America, and Asia promoting and teaching Taijiquan. The distance he travels each year is equivalent to twice the circumference of the earth. In February 2003, he accepted an invitation to return to his hometown, Jiao Zuo, to author a Taijiquan book for elementary and high school students. Both the people and government of Jiao Zuo warmly welcomed him.

Chen’s big heartedness, his outstanding Taijiquan skills, and his personal characteristics make him highly respected around the world. He is truly the most outstanding Chen family Taijiquan master of his generation and a world-renowned martial artist.

Coronavirus 2020
Check the link on information about Yifei Gong, created by Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang to support and strengthen immune system and lung health in the flu season following the Coronavirus outbreak of 2019-2020.

Chen Xiaowang’s website

Video of Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang and other masters talking about the history and demonstrating the Chen style


Taiji Circle Lucky Dragon with Shifu Liu

Taiji Circle will restructure in 2023 as Taiji Circle Lucky Dragon.  Taiji Circle has operated for 9 years as a charity led by Chris Jones and Shifu Liu Quanjun as Executive Directors (and the help and support of many other trustees and volunteers) bringing amazing practice and learning opportunities in Taiji & Qigong for students across London and beyond.

In 2023, Taiji Circle will continue its objectives and classes but will be under the direct leadership of Shifu Liu (Chris and former Trustees are still involved).  Shifu Liu is remains deeply committed to delivering rich deep teaching and guidance to students with the aim of learning and developing the full system of practice in Chen Taijiquan and qi gong. 

Check out the new Taijicircle website and make direct bookings for classes, workshops and consultations with Shifu Liu.

Taiji Circle Lucky Dragon Party 2023

Thank you as ever for your continued support of the school and wishing you a very warm, relaxing and peaceful festive break. “Practice inner peace first” Taiji Circle Lucky Dragon