Instructors 2024

In this, our 27th event, in addition to our usual high level instructors we have invited some special new guests to join us for the weekend. We have a total of 12 instructors joining us, 8 for the full week’s duration and an additional 3 as weekend guests. As a bonus we are repeating, by popular demand, the early morning Baguazhang session each day from Sunday through Thursday, this year to be led by  Luigi Zanini.

As usual we consider ourselves very fortunate to be able to host a selection of high quality teachers, from all over Europe, offering an interesting and varied range of workshops, something which we believe offers valuable educational material for all tastes and approaches to these arts.

Full Week Instructors

Chiara Vendettuoli

Chiara Vedettuoli teaches Taiji Quan and Qigong.

She is a transpersonal Rebirther and Vipassana meditation practitioner. She began this path of research in 1990 thanks to Master Angelo Abbruzzo with whom she studied Taiji Quan and Zen meditation. In the same year she met Professor Corrado Pensa of the A.M.E.C.O. in Rome with whom she practised Vipassana meditation for many years. In 1998 Chiara took part in a three-month silence retreat at the Insight Meditation Society in Barre, Massachusetts (U.S.A.)

From 1999 to 2014 Chiara studied with Master Franco Mescola of the Taichi Research Centre in Venice.

In 2010, she won the Silver Medal at the Oxford European Tui Shou fixed-step competition. Since then Chiara has been studying with Master Sam Masich (Masich Internal Arts Method). She teaches Tui Shou in a male prison and qigong to young adults with mental issues.


Paul Silfverstrale

Paul Silfverstrale is a Swedish martial arts teacher, acupuncturist and naturalist (not naturist!). After ten years of training in Kyokushinkai karate he started practicing Wudang Practical Tai Chi Chuan in 1998 under the guidance of Dan Docherty. With Dan´s introduction, he resided and studied in Malaysia and Singapore and trained with other masters of the Hong Kong Wu-lineage. After 20 years of practice Paul was appointed Level 9 – “Principal Instructor” in the style by sifu Docherty. During the years he expanded his experience under Bapak Wilhelm de Thouars’ in Kuntao Silat. He has won many Tuishou and Sanshou tournaments, and has coached several champions currently coaching the Swedish national team. He is an expert in natural and evolutionary movement (EVO Training).

Lucia Ring-Watkins

Lucia Ring-Watkins is a 16th Generation Disciple of the Wudang Xuan Wu Clan with the clan name Yuan Wei Rong (袁微容)Her Shifu is 15th Generation Descendant Yuan Li Min.

Lucia has practised Tai Chi since 2002, and started out by training Yang Style with Barry McGinlay in London. After travelling Asia training various martial arts, Lucia went to Wudang Shan in China to train Tai Chi in 2006; since then Lucia has spent a total of two years studying full time in Wudang, and learned Mandarin to help communicate with her teacher.

She was accepted as a disciple in 2010, and now helps Master Yuan spread the Wudang style around Europe. Lucia has judged an international competition in Spain, taught in France and performed at the World Expo in Italy. Her teaching style reflects her Shifu and her lineage, and uses traditional basic drills to reach high levels of internal skill.

James Carss

James Carss began his martial arts journey at the age of 12 with wing chun kung fu and tai chi chuan. He studied both for 6 years before going to University and graduating in Sport and Fitness Science. James relocated to Hong Kong in his twenties to study at source and spent almost fifteen years living and studying chinese martial arts full time.

Experienced in many arts his specialism is Yiquan where he is a disciple of Hui Kit Wah and Chan Tak Chuen in the Han family of yiquan system. James is also qualified to teach liuhebafa, xingyiquan and baguazhang and is a certified instructor with the Hong kong Tai Chi Association.

Throughout his career James has maintained an emphasis on combat practicality and health whilst drawing on his own background and experience in sport science. He has a record of competing in both boxing and muay thai and working as a door supervisor.

Since returning to the UK he has founded the Xingyi Dacheng Boxing Association under the blessing of his teachers, and teaches students internationally across europe and North America. He is the author of three books: Yiquan, The Fighting art of the Han Brothers; Tao of Old School Boxing; and the Internal martial Artist Guide to Strength and Conditioning, In 2022 he developed the first yiquan mobile app.


John Bolwell

John began his journey into Tai Chi and related arts, 50 years ago in Manchester with Danny Connor and Rose Li.

He has been particularly interested in exploring relationships between martial arts, healing arts, and performing arts. To this end he has complemented Tai Chi training with study in such areas as Beijing Opera ‘Warrior Role’ and Traditional Thai Massage. Also, with the study of weapons systems from various cultures.

He has travelled extensively to both learn and to teach and looks forward to sharing some of these skills and learning some new ones at Caledonia this year.

John is an Honorary President of the Tai Chi Union for Great Britain; he attended the very first Tai Chi Caledonia as a participant.

Helmut Oberlack

Helmut has been practising  Taijiquan and Qigong since the early eighties. He is co-founder of the German Taijiquan & Qigong Network and the German Umbrella Organisation for Qigong and Taijiquan.

Since 2000 he has been publishing the Taijiquan & Qigong Journal.

He teaches in North Germany.

Gordon Faulkner

Gordon Faulkner is the Director and Principal Instructor of the Chanquanshu School of Daoist Yangsheng Arts, a school with five branches of study: Quanshu, Daoyin, Neidan, Anmo, and Dao.

Gordon has had a lifelong interest in oriental culture but only began his martial art training in 1968.

As an Armed Forces Veteran with 22 years’ service in the Royal Air Force, he has trained with, been trained by, and ultimately trained members of all branches the British Armed Forces.

It was in the early 70s during his RAF service he encountered Chanquanshu, which led him to the ‘internal arts’ that would become his main practice.

During his military service, he became a founder member and General Secretary of the Royal Air Force Martial Arts Federation.

Recognised for his outstanding abilities in these fields in both the West and inside China, in the early 1990s he was invited to study the Daoyin Yangsheng Gong system with Professor Zhang Guangde of the Beijing University of Physical Education (BUPE).

In 1995, he became one of the first Westerners to be qualified as a Senior International Judge certified by the China Daoyin Yangsheng Gong Association and the China Wushu Society.

In 1999, at a ceremony held in the BUPE, Professor Zhang accepted him as a closed-door disciple (Ru Shi Di Zi in the Confucian tradition) and made him a successor to the Daoyin Yangsheng Gong lineage.

Gordon went through the Daoist Bai Shi ceremony on Wudang mountain in 2003 where You Xuande, the 14th generation Grandmaster of Wudang boxing, made Gordon a 15th generation lineage holder with the clan name of You Lisu.

He has taught throughout Europe and the USA, but presently Gordon teaches just a small group of dedicated students and, of course, his daughter Tina.

Academically, Gordon is a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society and member of the Society for Anglo-Chinese Understanding.

Mauro Bertoli

Mauro Bertoli began his martial training as a child, first practising Judo and then continuing with Karate.

In 1985 he practised Shaolin Kung Fu with Master Chang Dsu Yao reaching the rank of black belt. In 1987 he began practising Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) “Yang Style” from that moment on he gradually detached himself from external styles to dedicate himself body and soul to “internal (Nei Jia)” styles.

After the death of the Head of School, he continued his learning journey and in 1994 he founded, together with other practitioners, the “Group 108”, an association which aimed to deepen and spread Chinese internal styles. He continues to attend seminars of various internal styles with Masters of the highest level and of various styles.

In 1995 he met Master Yang Lin Sheng and became his student, obtaining his black belt and also becoming an instructor in the Chen and Yiquan style taijiquan disciplines

In 2001 he took a long study trip to China, practising with many masters. He collaborated with Federico Motta Editor of an encyclopedia, dealing with the part concerning the art of Taijiquan.

In 2013 he founded and became president of ARTY (Taijiquan Yiquan Research Association) and obtained the position of National Master with CSEN (CONI-recognized Sports Promotion Body).

He participated as a teacher in the “Tai Chi Tcho” in La Chaux-de-Fonds (CH) in the 2015/2017/2019 editions, in 2017 at the 6th International Push Hands Meeting in Prague (CZ), in 2022 at the “21st International pushing hands Hannover meeting” all prestigious international seminars with practitioners from all over Europe.

He has thirty years of teaching experience, especially in Yang style Taijiquan, Sword, Qigong and Pushing Hands gained by holding courses and seminars in Italy and abroad.

Luigi Zanini

Master Luigi Zanini is an Italian 5th Duan Baguazhang Gongfu specialist. He has a university degree in Foreign Languages and Literature, has taught martial arts since 1990, and is an officially recognized master and teacher in Chinese traditional martial arts and anti-aggression systems. He started practising  Kungfu in the late 1970s and has studied classical Kungfu since his youth: Shaolin, Tanglang, Tantui, Baguazhang, Hakkakuen, Wingchun, Yiquan. He has traveled extensively, is fluent in five languages, and has studied, practised and crossed hands with many teachers and masters through Europe and the USA.

Winner in 1988 of the Italian Championship in bare hand and weapons forms, he holds official degrees in Baguazhang, Yiquan and Krav Maga. For forty years he has focused in the Baguazhang of Sun Lutang’s family system, Liu Dequan sixty-four hands, Liang Zhenpu, Gao Yisheng and Wang Shujin lineages; in Xingyiquan, Yiquan of the Wang Xuanjie lineage and Xingyi Dacheng of the Han brother’s family. He has touched many terrains, from boxing to wrestling and grappling. He is a certified International Judge/Referee at major martial events in Europe. He is certified in Chinese Traditional Medicine, Tuina and Qigong with the Nanjing Academy (China), and studied Raja Yoga Meditation in Italy, UK and India. He has been teaching Qigong in massage schools,
high-schools, universities, hospitals and multinational companies.

Since 1990 he has been an invited teacher at major European Taijiquan and martial arts events: Scotland (Stirling University), United Kingdom, France, Croatia, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and Hungary among others. Since 1990 he teaches Baguazhang, Yiquan and Qigong throughout Europe and has created the Ziran Neigong Quan school, where he currently trains only experienced practitioners in a three-years comprehensive, no nonsense practical Baguazhang instructor curriculum. He shares his passion and knowledge with a group of skilled martial artists and friends across Europe, with whom he continues his journey and growth. He regularly organizes seminars, retreats and events on Internal Martial Arts.

Professionally Luigi is a Business Development Manager in a multinational company, but also a coach, an NLP trainer, a journalist and a writer. He has published numerous articles on martial arts since the 1990s in magazines of different countries and has presented Qigong and Baguazhang on specialized journals. He has co-authored many Italian books and magazines and has starred in international martial arts magazine covers. He authored, among others, the book "Kungfu" with Yves Kieffer in 1997 (Italian) and published "A Study on Bagua Boxing" (Italian) in 2020, which will be soon followed by a revised English language edition (2022).

Guest Instructors

Dee Swift

Dee Swift

Dee Swift has been teaching Yang Style Tai Chi and Qigong for 30 years. She was at the first ever Tai Chi Caledonia as a participant and returned as an instructor in 2004 and 2005 before diving in again last year to lead weekend workshops. Dee teaches a full curriculum of solo forms, partnerwork, weaponry, qigong and meditation from her base near the Lake District.

Naxo De La Encina

Naxo De La Encina

Having a father who was a professional boxer, Naxo learned boxing concepts from a young age. He continued his martial path with 4 years of karate in his childhood and then, from the age of 15, Ninjutsu with Raúl Alcaide of “Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu”, eventually gaining 4th Dan.

Later he found sensei Francisco Castillo Escalona from the “Ninjutsu Ruy San” School, who granted him the rank of Ninjutsu instructor, 3rd Dan.

In 2010 he began to practice Wushu with Alvaro Flores, who introduced him to Chen Taiji and Tuishou. He furthered his studies in these areas with a variety of great professionals, such as Cesar Sanchez, Juanjo Estrella and Johan Duquet.

Having met Master Wen Taiyuan in 2014 he has since focused his training on the Chen style of the Zhang Zhijun line. Naxo regularly travels to ShenZhen (China) to train with him, where he focuses on training his style of Taiji and Tuishou.

Other achievements include: black belt in other martial disciplines; more than 15   classes teaching all types of students; experience in guiding groups internationally; multiple Tuishou Championships, both fixed step and moving step, at national and international level, in countries such as Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Russia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and China.

His skills have been recognised by his becoming coach of the Tuishou Dragon Taiji team (this team has accumulated more than 100 medals in the last 8 years) as well as Director of Dragón Taiji International.

Since 2013 Naxo has also been an instructor of Naked Kill, a female self-defense system.   He has achieved Grade III in Pedagogy and Psychopedagogy.

As well as having several articles published in various magazines such as Dragonz, Golden Dragon, (Spain), Taichi Magician, (France), Legend of Tuishou (Russia), Naxo has written and published a book “Memories of a Martial Artist”, which reached  more than 1000 sales in less than 3 years. He is cvurrently working on two more writing projects to contribute to the world of martial arts.