“Barry has been my guru for several years and his presence as a teacher and friend keeps pushing me forward in my own quest as an innovator. Barry brings a certain clarity and joy to his teaching, making it accessible to any and everyone. His approach is contemporary yet grounded and he is very much a, ‘practice what you preach’ man. In my eyes, ‘a true warrior yogi'”
James D’Silva, creator of The Garuda Pilates Method, The Garuda Apparatus and founder of The Garuda Studio. He has worked with Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow, among others, and has also created best-selling fitness DVDs with Trudie Styler
“I have been practising tai chi and qigong at Tai Chi Life School for over 10 years. I started with one class, progressed to two, then three and so on. I now enjoy attending 12 classes per week! Below are some of the benefits that I have gained from this training:

Physical benefits: – increased flexibility – increased muscle, tendon and ligament strength – increased tone and better shape – better balance – better posture – less troubled by previous clavicular, back and dysmenorrhea pain – more scope with what I can achieve with my body

Psychological benefits: – stress relief – increased confidence – more calm – more rational

Additional benefits: – travel within England, Great Britain, Europe and worldwide – socialising with training colleagues – concentrated experience in living a healthier lifestyle – regular opportunities to challenge yourself

Barry is an enthusiastic, encouraging, patient, Mr Motivator, and in turn his students reflect this. His classes are engaging and addictive, and his use of a wide range of music has to be heard to be believed. Barry has the ability to help people achieve far beyond what they might have imagined.”

Emma North, Nurse
“I have always been interested in martial arts, and in tai chi and qigong in particular, but never found the right school or right moment to start. I started my tai chi journey with Tai Chi Life School over eight years ago and never looked back. There is a saying ‘When the student is ready, the teacher will come’ which is exactly what happened to me.
My regular training has helped me to find balance in my life, to improve my posture and ease my back pain. I have learnt to keep my calm and a clear head in a demanding job and hectic city lifestyle. I have also never been physically fitter and happier with my body.

My teacher Barry has the talent to get the best out of every student, no matter what their ability or age. He keeps our classes fresh, interesting and inspiring. I love his down-to-earth attitude and non-guru-style approach, which is not always the case with other teachers of martial arts. The group of students is a lovely mix of people from all walks of life, very friendly and inclusive.

Are you ready to start your tai chi journey? You have found the right place!”

Maria Sekertzi, Operations Manager
“Just to say if you want to learn Tai Chi and you’re in London you can’t get better than Tai Chi Life!”
Muktanander Mettavasa, a teacher and practitioner of Asian arts.
“Classes work on many different levels for me:

  • Great exercise building strength and flexibility
  • Great stress busting
  • Great diverse community
  • Great sense of achievement when you complete the form!”
Frank, Teacher
“Tai Chi Life School has been a fantastic experience. Barry is a patient, passionate and dedicated teacher who insightfully links the physical, theoretical and spiritual, always ensuring you take away something extra with each class to continually progress.”
John Clarke, Trader
“My wife and I have been training at the Tai Chi Life School for three years and we’ve enjoyed every minute. Barry and Emma have created an inclusive, relaxed atmosphere that produces students able to compete at the highest level. Highly recommended.”
Jim Boulton
“Barry is an amazing teacher who embodies martial arts and practices and applies its principles throughout his life. It is an honour to know him. I started learning taijiquan in around 2005. At Tai Chi Life School the atmosphere is very open. There are no secrets (to reference an old master). You will never be made to feel ashamed for lacking knowledge, or for seeking it. Barry’s lineage is very clear, and everyone in the school has the opportunity to train regularly all the way to the top of that lineage. You will benefit from the experience of true masters, who also are paragons of passing knowledge on instead of witholding it.

Taijiquan has certainly changed my life for the better. Over the last 8 years I have become fitter (or fit, actually), happier, more relaxed, calmer, stronger, more able to cope with stress, able to sleep better, more comfortable with myself, and more open. Many negative things have diminished or disappeared. I cannot attribute these changes merely or solely to the process of becoming older and gaining life experiences. This might all sound a little pompous but I sincerely believe that to study taijiquan is to prolong your life and to become a happier person.

As something of an understatement, I think that Tai Chi Life School is an excellent place to take up taijiquan. The classes are very good value; the access to knowledge is extremely good; Barry is a superb teacher; the atmosphere in class is friendly and welcoming. The thing I find about tai chi is that there’s always more there than meets the eye. You will always find something new to explore, and not in a kind of nebulous inner journey type of hand-wavy fashion, but genuinely beneficial or delightful knowledge that can be practiced, refined, applied and passed on.”

Alex May, Independent Game Developer
Taijiquan 2012 World Champion, Taiwan
“When I started Tai chi I just wanted to try something different. I never thought that I would find so much in Tai chi and love it so much! But it’s not just this martial art that is amazing; it’s the school, too. The teachers and the group make it a fantastic place to train and learn! I miss it very, very much!”
Elena, Art Historian
“I have been going to Barry’s Tai chi classes once a week for the last 6 years. During this time I have improved my fitness, stamina and coordination and have found the classes have really helped me deal with the stresses and strains of daily life. He creates a very good atmosphere and uses a variety of methods to teach. The classes include a good warm up, various Tai Chi forms and Qi Gong. Barry is extremely enthusiastic about his work and this makes his classes enjoyable and challenging. No class is the same. We sometimes do the form to music which is something I particularly enjoy. He has created a community of lovely people who come to his classes regularly and also organises trips and classes with other senior Tai Chi teachers from abroad. I recommend his classes highly.”
Emily Dux, Osteopath
“I started doing tai chi with Barry two years ago where I used to go along once a week on a Saturday. I was quite shy and never really spoke to people and then used to run off at the end of class. I now do three classes a week and for the last couple of years doing tai chi I have become much more confident in life, feel blissed out on a regular basis after class. When I first saw people doing the broad sword I thought that I would never be able to do it and would never be allowed to but then I built up the courage to ask and then a few months later went to the British open and competed in the beginners doing the sword. In the open group weapons form, three of us got silver medals which I was both surprised and very excited by. I like the variety in the classes as well so sometimes it will be really relaxing, sometimes my brain will by whirring with new information and at other times I walk out with my legs shaking dripping with sweat – lovely. One thing that doesn’t seem to vary is Barry’s enthusiasm which I really appreciate.”
Kate Renshaw, Manager, Only Connect (OC) Inspire
“The best thing about Tai Chi Life for me is the way it combines two things: on the one hand, working closely with a small group of warm-hearted and wonderful people, and on the other, being part of a tradition with deep roots and inexhaustible riches. Without those roots it might be fun, but shallow; without the warmth, it would be pompous and stiff. So it’s a great combination. And since it’s the teacher that sets the tone, all credit to Barry McGinlay, as well as his colleagues and his own teachers! We students are very lucky.”
Dr Patrick Curry, Independent Scholar and Writer
“I started practicing Tai Chi 10 years ago. I had been training with Barry McGinlay at the Women’s Self Defence Academy and he suggested to me that I try Tai Chi. I was quite surprised that he taught Tai Chi as what we had been doing in class was quite dynamic and I couldn’t imagine him doing what I thought was for ‘old’ people. I trusted him so I decided to give it a try. What I found there intrigued me – graceful, fluid movement coupled with surprising strength. At first, my body didn’t want to comply with moving in this new way and even when I began to garner an understanding of how my body should move, it seemed to not want to cooperate. However, once I relieved myself of the pressure to ‘get it right’, like pieces of a puzzle, things started to come together.

Over the years I have found that Tai Chi is a continual learning process. It’s like learning a language; you learn new words and constructions, but you never know it all. That’s the beauty of it! If you want to learn something new and like to be challenged whilst reaping enormous health benefits – both mental and physical – make Tai Chi a part of your life. Young or old, fit or not so fit, Tai Chi is for everybody.”

Maureen Vigille, Fashion Designer
European tuishou pushing hands champion
“I have been attending Barry’s classes for nearly three years and having tried yoga and dance I thought I would try out a few tai chi classes but was hooked from the first one! Barry’s classes are fun, challenging and with the safety of a group which has now become a family I am taking on new challenges I never could have imagined. Words really can’t describe the magnificence Barry has created but I would recommend classes to any (and everyone!) I know.”
Kaya Haywill
British Tai Chi Champion 2011, 2012
“I was drawn to Tai Chi because I felt there was something amiss in my life, not answers as such but perhaps the need to ask the right questions. Having previously studied Karate while at school I wanted something that was similar and Tai Chi was the perfect choice as it balanced meditation, exercise and martial arts in one. I have always been someone who is embarrassed by failure or my own sense of self non-fulfilment, however from the very first lesson I found Barry to be a considerate and encouraging teacher. He immediately made me feel at ease and I felt I was being guided through an experience of learning rather than being taught something. It took around 3-4 months before I started to understand what Tai Chi truly was and how it was beneficial, the next year saw rapid development. I found it not only calmed my often erratic mind but also was greatly beneficial to my health, I have suffered asthma since childhood but Tai Chi allowed me to give up the steroid inhalers I was using every day, even now I only use the mildest medication in extreme circumstances. I have found that my work life has improved as well allowing me to focus better and concentrate for longer. I trained with Barry for 5 years (leaving only because I moved abroad) and I continue to use the forms and exercises he taught me on a near daily basis. It is something I hope to continue for many years to come.”
Jonnie Hurn, Filmmaker
“I wound my way up some dusty stairs, guided by the smell of joss sticks and the sound of music. At the top I entered a large hall, and through that hall, a sun-filled room. I found a group of calm and busy people, sweeping up, cutting fruit, preparing tea. Barry was choosing music. And then he led the qi gong class. I remember it as a challenging and beautiful experience. I left happy and certain that I had found something special.

A few years on and tai chi life school is a significant part of my life. From qi gong I have added tai chi hand form, then swords and other weapons, and then, more recently, pushing hands. I cannot imagine many better ways to spend my time than training with Barry and the school, particularly in the open air at Regent’s Park.

Barry’s teaching is varied and inspiring. Emma, as supporting teacher is patient, determined and generous in spirit. She is often my guide when I am finding my way of moving in forms. And, like Barry, Emma has had significant success at tai chi competitions across the world.

Barry has created a school where new and old students are welcomed, accepted as they are and supported in their own journeys. I have found the school to be a place where I can find my own space and also connect with others. Students, guided by Barry’s approach, are open, accepting and encouraging.

I am very excited to be part of Tai Chi Life School and relish continuing to develop and grow, to be inspired and challenged and supported through my tai chi life journey with many friendships along the way. Thank you, Barry.”

Rebecca Neal
“As a Shiatsu practitioner I often recommend my clients Tai chi and Qigong for generating the energy and balancing its flow. I trained 24 forms and sabre with Barry. His passionate devotion to Tai chi reflects in energetic and friendly classes. Plenty of warming up exercise helps to develop strength and stamina, and it was great to learn not only the applications, but how to feel the Martial spirit.”
“I started Tai Chi in March 2011. I wanted to do something relaxing for my mind and to tone my body. I had become bored with yoga as I had practiced it on and off for years. During the last 18 months of Tai Chi Life School classes, Tai Chi has become a really important part of my life. I have learnt the short form, practiced partner exercises to see how to use the moves to defend myself and embraced the philosophies behind Tai Chi.

Tai Chi has taught me to think of learning more as a process; to spend time, enjoy each step instead of trying to race to the finish line to attain some goal, certificate or qualification. For me, Tai Chi is about letting go and becoming in tune with your body and mind, as well as being fantastic for giving your body an all over workout. I would recommend Barry’s teaching to anyone wanting to begin in Tai Chi, you’re never bored in his classes and the students I have met are really lovely people too.”

Kim Stokes, Internal Communications Coordinator
“It is a great pleasure to write this testimonial for my teacher, Barry. I found the Tai Chi life school shortly after moving to London and was instantly won over by Barry’s openness and wisdom, and by his extraordinary skill honed from years of dedication to his art. I came to Tai Chi with little knowledge of what to expect, but under Barry’s guidance, my practice of Tai Chi has grown into an important part of my life. Our classes were always challenging but also fun, and Barry fostered a great bond of friendship and camaraderie among us. Barry is everything a good teacher should be – patient, humble, willing to push to get the most out of his students, able to explain the deeper meaning and thinking underpinning what we learn, passionate and, above all, one who leads by example. I have had many teachers and mentors in my life, both in my professional life as a doctor, researcher and editor, and also in my hobbies of music, dancing and writing. I can honestly say that Barry is one of the most inspiring and influential teachers I have ever had and I am proud to be numbered among his students.”
Dr Vijay Sharma
Specialist Registrar in Histopathology, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary
Honorary Clinical Lecturer, University of Aberdeen
Honorary Deputy Editor, BMJ Evidence Centre, BMJ Group