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Meet the Academy Instructors


Costakis  Stephanides

Tel 01603460446

I have been practising Tai Chi Chuan for 35 years.

I am a student of John Ding and a registered instructor with the John Ding International Academy Tai Chi Chuan.

My previous teachers included pupils and instructors who traced a lineage back to Cheng Man Ching one of the first Orientals to teach in the west.

I have also spent time in the Far East with The Henan Shaolin wushu monks under the direction of Master Ma Nian, and at the London Shaolin temple under the direction of Shi Yan Qing.

At present I am studying with Jamyang Buddhist center in London completing the FBT course and Lamrim Chenmo teachings. And embarked with the British school of Yoga on a tibetan medicine course. and of course continued instruction from Master Ding recently completing the sword form and sabre form instructors course.

I began teaching after eleven years of practise, with the permission of my teacher.

Presently and in the past I have taught  classes at Center Parcs, for Norwich and Norfolk Dance, Norwich Hospital trust, and Norfolk County Council Education department and social services department, the Vauxhall centre,  unit 81 and private tuition  classes. Corporate clients have included British Telecom, Norwich Union, Barclays Bank and the RAC.

Coming from a professional performance background, means I have well honed communication skills. I bring to my work a passion and an understanding that comes from the cultivation of humility and patience.


Derek Simpson

Tel 07905086959

Tai Chi CV for Derek Simpson MBA.


My main interest in Tai Chi is for health improvement and applying the art to everyday tasks and sporting activities.  I found Tai Chi training particularly beneficial when I was in my forties as I began to notice my joints stiffening up and I was suffering from stress related issues due long hours working at a computer desk.


Fortunately, my employers offered a Tai Chi course as stress relief and a form of gentle exercise during the lunch breaks.  Since my youth, I had an interest in Martial Arts and found to my surprise that Tai Chi Chuan has a very sophisticated self defence system that does not rely on youthful strength and vigour.   Instead it uses relaxation techniques and balance which are extremely beneficial for health improvement and stress relief.


I started learning Tai Chi 20 years ago and my instructor was Cosmo Stephanides.  He was impressed by my enthusiasm and suggested I accompany him to London to train with his master Sifu John Ding.   10 years have passed since I started training with Sifu Ding and I am now a qualified instructor with his Academy.   During that time I found one of the benefits of Tai Chi was the return of joint suppleness together with a new found level of relaxation and additional core strength that were previously unachievable.


Over the last 8 years I have continuously taught Tai Chi to students which have included the staff at the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, South Norfolk Adult Education and additionally private classes.   It has been very rewarding to see my students gradually improve their balance and core strength reaping the many health benefits the Tai Chi training.  Recently, I have looked at introducing Tai Chi principles to other sports that require relaxation and core strength such as riding.  The short courses were very successful and give the participants an introduction to Tai Chi as a way to lessen their body tension.  These benefits allowed the students to successfully advance further in their chosen sport.

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Sally Leich

 Tel:- 01842878246 / 07584981296;  e-mail:-

Tai Chi was something I always wanted to try and I eventually found a class and started in 1996, attending an Ad’ Ed’ class run by Cosmo Stephanides. He was an inspiring instructor, teaching the Cheng Man Ching style initially. I took to it straight away and later was delighted to be given the chance, along with Cos, to join John Dings centre and start his Level 1 Instructor training course. I completed this in 2000 and have been teaching on and off ever since. I thoroughly enjoy practising and teaching Tai Chi and Qigong and sometimes use it as a therapy in itself as well as using it as part of my other complimentary therapy work. I find all aspects of Tai Chi fascinating but particularly like to focus on its health benefits and have done the Tai Chi for health courses and various Qigong courses including learning the wild goose form with Bo Ou Mander and doing some of Master Micheal Tse’s Qigong for health courses.

I work as a Complementary therapist doing Trager, (a subtle form of bodywork and movement re-education which relies on therapists being able to tune in to their clients in a meditative state so every session will be focused to a clients particular needs), Touch for Health kinesiology and muscle balancing (which again requires total focus and an ability to listen and tune in to the intuition of the client), Kinergetics (another form of kinesiology where directed energy is the main form of correction), Reflexology and Indian Head Massage and also Canine massage and bodywork. I find that Tai Chi and Qigong combine very well with these therapies and I use many of the exercises and Qigong meditations for my clients. Being able to feel and work with energy in my Tai Chi practise has added a new dimension and increased the depth in my therapy work. By the same token my therapy work helps me to work with students’ structure in their Tai Chi practise, it helps to identify exactly where energy blocks are occurring both in their learning and when posture testing. I always find it particularly intriguing how different disciplines and approaches overlap and frequently end up reaching similar conclusions and results. The more we explore the interconnections in life the more we realise how much more we can learn about ourselves and all beings. One of the things I love about Tai Chi is that just as in life itself, there is always so much more to learn!

I have given the introductory Tai Chi/Qigong classes at Centre Parcs many times and also relaxation exercise classes there and elsewhere. I have also given Tai Chi for Health Intro’ classes for the Forest Heath council employees and Activity Norfolk. I often take the class at the Vauxhall Centre in Norwich which is all done sitting down, for wheel chair users, and I have frequently taken sit down classes at Old People’s homes. I use Tai Chi, Trager and Kinesiology to work on balance issues with clients and students and find it really encouraging that the NHS now have ongoing research on the benefits of Tai Chi and regularly use it for Stroke patients etc.

I take individual classes for people which can be tailored to their particular needs and abilities and also currently run 2 weekly classes.

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