Health, Wellbeing

AND Self Defence?


- Its not what you think

Current Class locations: 


Monday evenings, Daybrook Baptist church hall (On Mansfield road, Daybrook)


Monday afternoons, Alfreton Leisure Centre (in the park if the weather's fine - down by the cricket circle)


Monday mornings & Tuesday evenings, St Peter's Centre, Churchside, Mansfield

More info:

Details about all of these on the "Current Classes" page - here

Upcoming events:

Heads up folks! 

The next Saturday training session will be some time in early 2023 - stay tuned for the date once I've had chance to check my calendar.

2-3pm Chen Sword (or sabre) form - no prior experience required, bring a sabre if you have one, just in case we get chance to play with those too.

3-4pm Chen empty hand form - suitable for people learning both the Lao Jia Yilu (old frame first form) & Chen 13 form.  We'll probably do a bit of partner work exploring the applications of the movements too.

Each session £5 - come to either or both - and as usual, there will be tea!

Exactly which bits of each form we work on depends on who comes, but the aim is to deepen your understanding, focus on particular chunks solo and with partners, and have a few run throughs of the whole form, so wherever you are in your knowledge of Chen style Tai Chi, you should enjoy it 🙂

Who's in?


For anyone who doesn't know the hall, it's St. Peter's Centre, Churchside, Mansfield, NG18 1AP, here's a google map link. There's plenty of parking at the hall - just come through the gateway and if it's the weekend, you can ignore the blue stickers saying "permit only" - they only apply during weekdays 9-5.

Saturday Afternoon Training sessions -  see Dragon River Facebook Group for more details.

What is Tai Chi? & what isn't it?

What Dragon River Tai Chi IS:

  • Practical - everything we do is based on biology and body mechanics
  • A physical challenge (at least, if you want to work hard - you can) - there's a fair chance you might ache a little after the health & self defence focused session!
  • A mental challenge - just like most worthwhile things - a little patience & persistence is handy
  • Like the best things in life - something you sometimes do with a partner
  • A proven method of self defence, where technique and softness generally take precedence over size and strength (although the daytime classes don't tend to cover this aspect)

What Dragon River Tai Chi IS  NOT:

  • Mystical and Esoteric - everything we do is explained in practical terms and basic mechanics - no new age hippy stuff or mysticism here!
  • Simple - there's a lot to take in, but hopefully you'll enjoy the varied things we do to learn them
  • Focussed on gaining 'belts' - just learn & improve at your own pace
  • Something you can learn in 12 weeks - although the basics are straightforward, Tai Chi is something you can keep improving throughout your life
  • Entirely based on solo work- sometimes you'll be working with a partner too
  • Overly serious and po faced - you may smile once or twice, or wince at my bad jokes
  • Just about waving your arms about - There's MUCH more to Tai Chi than just striking a mystical pose in red pyjamas!

But overall, its fun to learn and practice, and in over 20 years practice, I can honestly say I always feel better after a training session, no matter how tired, stressed, or generally rough I felt beforehand - hopefully you will too!

What do you learn in a class?

All classes generally start with various loosening and foundation exercises such as Reeling Silk body mechanics exercises, Chi Kung breathing exercises and then one of several Yang or Chen forms*.  Push hands (2 person drills developing sensitivity, balance and timing) exercises, relaxation exercises and a whole range of other activities make up a big chunk of the class too.

We generally focus on the health benefits of Tai Chi but some classes also offer an option for those who want to practice the self defence aspects and benefit from the enhanced fitness generated by the more dynamic routines of the Chen style hand and weapon forms.

*Form - a pattern of linked postures - what most people think of as Tai Chi

See the "Current Classes" page for more details of sessions currently running and what they focus on.

Who am I?

Classes are taught by me - Dave Ashbey - training in Tai Chi since 1993, and teaching since the mid '90s.

Me in China, 2003, posing for a quick pic in the training hall of the village where some say Tai Chi was invented - before the headmaster noticed!

If you're interested in finding out more, send me an email at [email protected]

or message or call me on 07981 488890 to ask any questions you might have. Remember - there are no daft questions!

Alternatively, take a look at my Youtube channel videos or Facebook page.

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