Phil Muil - Growing up in South Africa, doing Judo and with a father who was a semi-professional boxer Phil began martial arts seriously in 1981.First studying Tae Kwon Do with Orello Ellis (world, European and British champion) and winning national tournaments in free sparring. During this time he also trained in Kung Fu with Clive Parkinson (world Kung Fu champion) and with other styles, Karate, etc.
In 1987, Phil embarked on a major change of direction, beginning; Tai Chi Chuan, Chi Kung, Aikido, meditation and Yoga. Although he continued Aikido for three years, it and yoga fell by the wayside as his interest in Tai Chi, Chi Kung and meditation grew.
Phil began Tai Chi with Cheng Man-ching Yang Style under Richard Druitt and explored various influences over the next several years.
In 1996 Phil & Emma met Karel & Eva Koskuba and immediately recognised the high level of their skill, and have been studying with them ever since. During this time they have studied Classical Yang style and Chen style Tai Chi ( & a little bit of other styles). Phil & Emma have visited China a number of times, twice in the company of Karel & Eva and been introduced to and trained with their teachers.
In 2006 Phil & Emma were present at the Ceremony ( in Chen Village) where both Karel & Eva were invited to become disciples of Grand Master Chen Xiaowang, making them 20th Generation Lineage Holders of Chen Style Taijiquan. In 2015 Phil & Emma were accepted as Indoor Students (disciples) of Karel & Eva Koskuba.
Phil & Emma have been able to meet and study with some of the top masters in the world today; Chen Xiaowang, Chen Bing, Chen Xiaoxing, Du Xianming, Chen Yingjun, Chen Zhiqiang, Yao Chengguang, Feng Zhiqiang & Wang Haoda. Other teachers studied with include; Jan Silberstorf & Mike Sigman.
In 2013 the Oxford School of Taijiquan & Qigong co-hosted (with Sussex Taiji) the first UK seminars by Master Chen Bing.
In 2013 Master Chen Bing became President of the Oxford School of Taijiquan & Qigong and in 2017 Phil & Emma were honoured to be accepted as 13th Generation disciples of Master Chen Bing, which was formalised in a ceremony in Chen village in 2018, and they continue to receive regular instruction from him.
Phil has been attending retreats and studying meditation at Amaravati Buddhist Monastery since 1990 . Phil is a qualified Mediator and worked in this capacity for several years. Both of these are a strong influence in his approach to studying & teaching Taiji.
Emma Westlake Emma’s interest in physical movement began when she was young, firstly training in dance and then later becoming a junior international athlete. Her long term interest in health and healing led her to a degree in physiology at Oxford University where she captained the university women’s athletics team. An illness contracted whilst travelling led her to become more interested in holistic approaches to health and well-being.
Emma began studying Tai Chi in 1991 and teaching in 1995. She first started learning with her partner, Phil, practising the Yang style short form. In 1996, they met Karel and Eva Koskuba of the Chinese Internal Arts Association and started studying classical Yang style. This led on to studying Chen style and contact with Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang. Through the Koskubas, Emma (and Phil) have attended many workshops with visiting Tai Chi masters and, during trips to China, have trained with some of the top Tai Chi/internal martial arts practitioners in the world including; Chen Xiaoxing, Chen Bing, Du Xianming, Chen Yingjun, Yao Chengguang and Feng Zhiqiang.
In 2017 Emma (&Phil) were honoured to be accepted as 13th Generation disciples of Master Chen Bing, which was formalised in a ceremony in Chen village in 2018, and they continue to attend his seminars.
Emma is also a practising Craniosacral therapist with a particular interest in pre and peri dynamics and has been attending yearly meditation retreats since 1991. These influences feature in her understanding and teaching of Tai Chi Chuan.