Instructors 2023

In this, our 26th 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 have another bringing back, by popular demand, the early morning Baguazhang session each day from Sunday through Thursday. As well as leading these sessions Luigi Zanini will also present some weekend workshops.

As usual we consider ourselves very fortunate to be able to host a selection of high quality teachers, from Europe and beyond, 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).

Margherita Padalino

Born in Catania in 1977, Margherita Padalino started studying Taijiquan in 1996 under the guidance of the Master Gianfranco Pace. Since 2002 she has attended ITKA (International Taijiquan Kung fu Association) instructor courses held by Master Pace, dedicating herself constantly to the study of various aspects of Chen style Taijiquan (health, philosophy, martial etc.). She is also involved with various initiatives offered by ITKA: Qigong/Nei Gong, ‘Classic Chen Style Taijiquan’ (adults program and children program), TSD System (Taijiquan Self Defense System) and Taiji Match. The latter gave her the opportunity to participate in Kickboxing, Sanda and Tui Shou competitions.

She has successfully participated in national and international competitions. In 2016, at the official Taijiquan world championship in Poland, she won the gold medal in the traditional Chen Style sword form and the bronze medal in the traditional Chen Style bare hands form.

Nowadays she continues practising and studying with Master Pace. She is also a member of the ITKA Technical Committee which has the aim of spreading the ITKA System all around the world.

She travels frequently with Master Pace during his national and international seminars, collaborating with him and creating relationships with people and schools which want to follow the ITKA System.

She also helds her own Taijiquan seminars, courses for children and adults, and collaborates with Master Gianfranco Pace, Master Giovambattista Scavo and Daniel Romeo in the ITKA ‘Taiji College’ project.

Javier Arnanz

Javier Arnanz was born in 1975 and has practised Chinese martial arts for 20 years. An internal student of Sam Masich he teaches the Masich Internal Arts Method in Spain. Javier has successfully participated in national and international tournaments as competitor and coach. Javier combines his teaching in Taichi and Health Qigong with his practice as an osteopath and his experience as sport psychologist training coaches in pedagogy and training techniques.

John Bolwell

John Bolwell 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 Thai Theatre stage fighting. 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 and last taught at the event in 2002.

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.

Gianfranco Pace

Born on 15th June, 1969 in Catania (Italy) Master Gianfranco Pace started studying Chen style Taijiquan when he was a teenager under the guidance of M. Shi Rong Hua, who instructed him with a ‘family’ sort of teaching. After about ten years of learning from him, in 1998 he travelled through China seeking the effective qualities of Taijiquan. Under the advice of his teacher, in 2001 he went to Chenjagou, cradle of Taijiquan, to study with M. Chen Xiao Xing, living in his home. On his return to Italy, he attended the seminars of several Masters of the 19th generation of the Chen family.

In 2003 Gianfranco founded the ITKA, International Taijiquan Kung Fu Association, presenting the entire traditional technical program, enriched by other exercises and his own method of teaching developed from his own practical experience.

His knowledge and abilities have led to him being invited to teach in different countries all around the world. For five consecutive years he has taught in New York, as well as holding seminars in Florida, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Chile, Argentina and Brasil. In the latter four countries he was able to establish ITKA schools for South America.

In 2015 he was appointed by the Italian Federation of Wushu Kung Fu as Master responsible for the entire field of Taijiquan.

In June 2016 he presided over an international seminar together with Gran Master Yang Jun, great grandchild of Yang Cheng Fu, direct descendent of Yang Lu Chan. The theme of the seminar was: ‘Chen style meets Yang style’. In March 2017 he presented another international seminar together with master Zhou ZhongFu (Wu Style) in Genova.

In 2009 he carried out the dream of building a school where it is possible to study and live for long or short periods: the ITKA’s main school is situated close to Catania. This allowed a new project, called ITKA College, to be started and now many people from many countries (even from Scotland), are studying intensively in order to reach a high level in Taijiquan.

Although having been been invited by several exponents of the Chen Style’s XIX generation to represent their school, Master Pace has never accepted these requests in order to continue developing the ITKA System. This a traditional and innovative method recognised in many countries all around the world, and since 2017 even in China, when the Wang Academy invited him to teach along with M. Wang Zhi Xiang and at the Sanya International Camp.

Sam Masich

Master Sam Masich has inspired thousands of students along their path with his unique interpretation of the Chinese internal martial arts. Over the last 37 years his work as a full-time instructor has taken him to over a hundred cities in Canada, the United States, Mexico, England, Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, Scotland, and China. Students from around the world have travelled to study with him in workshops and seminars such as his annual Summer Push Hands Training Camps held in Vancouver, Canada and in Berlin, Germany.
Recognized as one of the ‘100 Extraordinary Chinese Martial Arts Practitioners’ in the world today by the International Wushu Sanshoudao Association, Masich is a certified eighth degree master. He is the creator of the The 5 Section Taijiquan Program, a preparation program for traditional taijiquan that is taught in countries around the world. In 2016 Masich publicly announced The Masich Internal Arts Method (Maxiqi Neijiaquanfa 馬希奇內家拳法) and accepted five formal disciples (tudi), taking on the traditional role of master (shifu 師傅).

Luigi Zanini

Master Luigi Zanini is an Italian 5th Duan Baguazhang Gongfu specialist. He has a university degree in Foreign Languages and Literatures, 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

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.