Meet the Team

Barry (Man) McGinlay
Principal Teacher

Barry is a World Tai Chi champion, European gold medalist, and has coached International, World, European and National Tai Chi champions. He is a trailblazer for Tai Chi in the UK.

He is an instructor of the Longfei Taijiquan Association of Great Britain. Barry is taught Tai Chi by Master Simon Watson, Master Richard Watson, Master Wang Yanji, Professor Li Deyin, Master Faye Li Yip and Master Tary Yip under the lineage of Master Li Tianji.

With over 30 years of experience, Barry is dedicated to teaching all aspects of martial arts and has been a Tai Chi and Qigong practitioner for 18 years. He is a full time professional martial artist and teaches internal and external
martial arts to a diverse range of students. He also teaches internationally and organises workshops and retreats in England, Thailand, Cambodia and China. These trips combine experiences of Eastern culture and philosophy with Tai Chi and Qigong training. All of these events have been popular and successful.

Being active within the London Chinese community, Barry has built strong links through teaching Tai Chi and Qigong, and from participating and performing at their cultural events. He is interested in the fusion of the performing arts and martial arts and has studied at the traditional school of Beijing Opera in China, and amongst other projects, has collaborated with professional dance choreographers to bring Tai Chi to the stage.

Barry works consistently within the local community. He has worked with children with special needs and behavioural issues, and students with medical conditions, including recovering cancer patients and students with heart-related conditions.

He has a very hands-on approach to his teaching practise and is dedicated to teaching the self empowerment that is generated within the individual’s learning experience. He focuses on one-to-one attention for individual and specific needs and encourages all students to explore new boundaries and so reach their full potential.

Barry remains focused and committed to both the internal and external aspects of martial arts. Barry has studied Hap Ki Do for over 30 years and has been teaching the discipline for more than 15 years. He is the head instructor of the London School of Hap Ki Do and is the founder of Tai Chi Life, a vibrant contemporary school based in the heart of London.

Barry is a family man, with a long-term partner and three children. He currently practises and teaches in North and Central London.

Emma Lee

Emma discovered Tai Chi in 2002. She is a Tai Chi world champion and three times European Tai Chi Pushing Hands champion.

Emma has taught for over 10 years within Tai Chi Life and is a certified instructor of the British Council for Chinese Martial Arts and the Longfei Taijiquan Association of Great Britain.

Emma has a special interest in Pushing Hands and other partner work. She particularly enjoys strength, flexibility and endurance training. Her instructional methods are hands on, motivational and fun.

Joelle Simpson

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 changes with age, and children whom she believes can find self-esteem and focus through physical awareness and fitness.

Joelle’s career has focused on body work for many 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 martial arts studies Joelle continued to train in body work, studying deep tissue and Thai massage. She is 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 for themselves. Joelle’s 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.