Instructors 2022

In this, our 25th 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 4 as weekend guests. As a bonus we have another instructor here just to provide an early morning Boot Camp session each day from Sunday through Thursday.

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

Tina Faulkner Elders

Tina Faulkner Elders began training as a young child in Gong Fu and Chin Na with her father, Gordon Faulkner. During this time Gordon was also teaching the internal practices and meditations of Mantak Chia. Over the years Gordon would frequently host one of Mantak Chia’s most senior students and illustrator, Juan Li. These early encounters sparked a lifelong curiosity for Tina and an eagerness to learn Taiji.

At twenty she moved to Beijing to study Daoyin Yangsheng Gong at the Beijing Sports University, graduating in 1996. At this time she entered international competitions, winning a number of medals. Whilst living in Beijing, Tina began studying with Master Shi Ming, a national treasure of China and author of Mind Over Matter.

On her return from China, Tina oped her own school in Aberdeen (Scotland) and taught regularly in America. She had the privilege of studying with and hosting Professor Li DeYin on a number of occasions and also acting as ambassador when Professor Li DeYin was invited to teach in New Hampshire, America.

Tina has continued to return to China, over the years, studying ‘Health Qigong’ known as Daoyin Yangsheng Gong at the Sports University of Beijing.

Around ten years ago Tina was introduced to Master Chen LiSheng, 15th Generation Disciple of Wudang Xuanwu. Tina’s school has recently been awarded the first Teaching Cooperation to the Wudang Daoist Wuji Gongfu Academy, thereby creating a direct cultural link to Wudang Mountain. Now her continued self cultivation takes her to WuDang to study Taijiquan, Qigong and more recently Baguazhang with Master Chen.

Tina regularly hosts Master Chen LiSheng in the UK and organises study trips to the Wudang Daoist Wuji Gongfu Academy, Wudang, China.

Her school has been running private and public classes as well as teaching in the healthcare sector for nearly twenty years. Some of the organisations include the Confucius Institute of Aberdeen and the Maggie Centre for cancer care.

Sonja Schillo

After 15 years of teaching Sonja Schillo continues to be fascinated by the seemingly endless world of Chinese martial arts and Chinese health exercises. Researching these terrific arts – Qigong, Baguazhang, Xingyiquan, Tongbeiquan, Taijiquan, and Tuishou – as well as deepening her own practice and being able to pass them on, delights her every day. Sonia’s dearest and closest teachers are Zhou Yi (Tübingen), Tian Jing Miao (Beijing), Sha Jun Jie and Li Bin (Kunming), and her students. In 2009 she became a tudi (indoor student) of Li Bin.

Resident in Berlin she teach weekly classes and gives regular workshops, as well as presenting seminars and conferences for various educational facilities, clinics and prisons.

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.

Margret Stürz

1988 – 1991 Margret Stürz became a certified dance teacher by Lola-Rogge-School of Hamburg in the tradition of Rudolf von Laban.

Since 1995 Margret has continued to work independently in various healthy sports areas such as Qigong, Pilates, healthy back, workout, relaxation, meditation, and has also led a Cancer-class.

Since 1996 Margret has practised Qigong, between 2001 – 2004 training with Dr. Michael Plötz-Hamburg / Heart-clinical-center Malente  to become a Qigong-Teacher.

In 2011 Dr Michael Plotz opened the School of Taijiquan and Qigong in Hamburg in collaboration with Margret. In 2014 Margret became a certified alternative medical practitioner also training in acupuncture and TCM.

Emma Lee

Emma discovered Tai Chi in 2002. She has been practising with Barry McGinlay for 20 years in London as part of Tai Chi Life and the Longfei Taijiquan Association of Great Britain.

Emma started competing in 2008. She is a keen competitor for Team Longfei and has won more than 50 gold medals at over 30 competitions, as well as World, European and British championship titles in pushing hands and hand and weapon forms.

Emma loves the holistic and diverse aspects of Tai Chi training – from meditation and stretching to weapons and combat – advocating the physical and mental health benefits of the practice. She enjoys seeing people empowered by their practice.

Emma trained in Adult Nursing at King’s College London and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals where she has continued to work for the last 14 years. She has been privileged to be able to share her Tai Chi and Qigong practice with patients as part of a cancer management programme, as well as by presenting her thoughts on Tai Chi and Nursing to senior nursing colleagues.

Ben Morris

Ben Morris has studied East Asian martial arts for over 20 years: Kyushindo Judo, Taiji, Xing Yi & Bagua. He is an active competitor winning several national and international competitions in Tui Shou and ground grappling. He works full time as a lecturer in Health Psychology at Leeds Trinity University and is the founder of teaching martial arts in the West Yorkshire area of England. He has published several books on martial arts/philosophies of the orient and conducts research into the benefits of physical activity upon psychological health. He is a member of the Yiheyuan School of Internal Arts under master’s Colin and Gaynel Hamilton.

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.

Yanira Jigetsu Rodriguez

Following a high-performance national-level athletics career, Yanira began her taijiquan studies in 1996 at the National University in her native México. In 2002 she became an instructor in the University taijiquan program. As Taijiquan expert she teaches Taiji in Europe and North America. With a further certifications in Physiotherapy, Point specific Acupuncture, Therapeutic massage and Meditation, she helps students to follow their heart through art.

Guest Instructors

Wilhelm Mertens

Wilhelm Mertens has been teaching Taijiquan and Qigong for many years in Hamburg (Schule für berührende und bewegende Kunst). He started learning in 1979 with Chrisa Proksch, and spent many years with Ben Lo, Peter Ralston and Patrick Kelly. His career as a bioengineer and his 10 year experience as social pedagogue are an asset for his teaching. Between 2003 and 2005 he also was the chairman of the German Dome association Qigong and Taijiqaun (DDQT).

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.

Pim van den Broek

Pim van den Broek has been practising Tai Chi Chuan since 1999, and previously practiced Kempo, Tae Kwon Do and Pencak Silat. He trains and has trained with various teachers in the Netherlands and abroad and has stayed in Asia multiple times for longer periods for further deepening his Tai Chi Chuan, Qigong, Reiki and Yoga knowledge and experience. He is co-founder of the North Sea Tai Chi Festival (, an organization that tries to promote tai chi chuan, and especially pushing hands, in the Netherlands. Pim has also been a guest teacher in the programme for government approved teachers in Martial Arts for a number of years. In addition to the lessons, he regularly organizes workshops in the business sector where tai chi is used to clarify communication processes.

Bartosz Samitowski

(7th Level of I Liq Chuan, 3rd Instructor Level)

Bartosz Samitowski began his adventure with Chinese martial arts in 1991. Since 2008, when he met Sam F. S. Chin, his training and teaching interests have been exclusively related with I Liq Chuan. In the autumn of 2010, with Master Chin’s approval, he opened an official I Liq Chuan school in Warsaw. He cooperates closely and regularly trains under Sifu Chin. He’s been helping in international development of I Liq Chuan since summer 2011 and has led seminars in various countries. On August the 1st 2014, in the cradle of I Liq Chuan – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, he took part in the Bai Shi ceremony, thus becoming an indoor student of Master Sam Chin and a member of the 2nd generation of the I Liq Chuan lineage. Apart from training I Liq Chuan, he earns his living as a Jungian psychoanalyst and teacher and supervisor of psychotherapy. He’s also a semi-pro musician.

I Liq Chuan (literally translated as Mental-Physical Martial Art) is an art of cultivating consciousness based on Tai Chi and Chan (Zen) principles of non-assertion, non-resistance, harmony of yin and yang, oneness and the present moment.

Boot Camp Barry

Barry McGinlay is a World Tai Chi Champion, European Gold medalist and coach to National, European and World Champions. He is certified as an instructor with the Longfei Taijiquan Association of Great Britain. His teachers include Master Simon Watson, Master Richard Watson, Master Wang Yanji, Professor Li Deyin, Master Faye Li Yip and Master Tary Yip in the lineage of Master Li Tianji. With over 30 years of experience, Barry is a professional martial artist who teaches internal and external martial arts to a diverse range of students.