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Tai Chi Life School was founded by Barry McGinlay, who has over 25 years experience practicing and teaching Tai Chi. He trained extensively under master Simon Watson and master Richard Watson as part of his Longfei Taijiquan Association training.


Barry teaches both the Yang and Chen styles of Tai Chi. His patient, compassionate approach gives students a strong foundation in Tai Chi techniques and principles. He blends traditional training methods with a modern, scientific perspective.


In addition to the main Tai Chi forms, Barry also provides instruction in Tai Chi weapons including sword, staff and spear. He is dedicated to helping each student access the many physical, mental and spiritual benefits of regular Tai Chi practice.


Emma started practising Tai Chi, with Barry McGinlay, in 2002, and competing in 2008. She has won British, European and World championship titles.


She has a particular love for Tai Chi Pushing Hands, or Tui Shou, (Tai Chi partner work) as she feels it is like another language, and teaches us so much about ourselves and our partners. 


Emma teaches Tai Chi in Canada Water, London SE16, as well as working as a nurse.


She enjoys teaching Tai Chi to strengthen those who are soft and soften those who are strong. She finds practising stick work and pad work to be quite primal and loves watching people having fun discovering and playing with this practice. 


Emma has experienced the benefits of her Tai Chi practice permeating into her every day life and loves to advocate this in her classes. 


Emma loves the positive social aspects that practising Tai Chi in a class can bring and loves to facilitate a friendly, fun and supportive environment where people can experience the benefits of this.

Joelle’s holistic interest in how the body serves us mentally, physically and emotionally underpins her approach to physical fitness and care. She is particularly interested in working with women as their bodies change with age, and children, whom she believes can find self-esteem and focus through physical awareness and fitness. 


Her career has focused on body work for the last 22 years. After studying physical theatre specialising in mime, she began studying martial arts which led to her first performance job; leaping about on stage as a Pink Power Ranger. In 2001 she was cast in a Channel 4 documentary about female gladiators, which furthered her interest in martial arts. Seeking an expert teacher with passion for, and a true mastery, of martial arts, she met Barry McGinlay and began her martial arts journey which continues to this day.


Alongside her martial arts studies, Joelle continued to train in body work, studying deep tissue and Thai massage. She has become a qualified L3 personal trainer and has also completed the L1 England Boxing Coaching course.


Through her personal study and training from multiple disciplines focused on body work, Joelle sees first-hand its healing, restorative and strengthening abilities, and wants to help others find this within themselves. Her goal is to help you discover this about your own body’s strength and abilities, which she believes is crucial to living a healthy and robust life - physically, emotionally and mentally.


"Barry brings a certain clarity and joy to his teaching, making it accessible to any and everyone. His approach is contemporary yet grounded and he is very much a, ‘practice what you preach’ man."

James D’Silva

"I have learnt the short form, practiced partner exercises to see how to use the moves to defend myself and embraced the philosophies behind Tai Chi."

Kim Stokes

"Barry is an amazing teacher who embodies martial arts and practices and applies its principles throughout his life. It is an honour to know him."

Alex May

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