Our Tai Chi teachers are highly experienced with a unique understanding of traditional Chinese internal health practices.
Cristian is an experienced teacher with broad experience of the internal health arts such as Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Meditation. In 2000, he founded “Wudang Principles UK” in Portsmouth & Southsea. He has also hosted events taught by world-renowned martial arts masters. Today the same school continues under its new name of the Five Elements Academy of Tai Chi and Qi Gong.
Cristian Lopez has over thirty years of experience in the internal healing arts, including Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Dao Yin, Kung Fu, Meditation and Tui Na (Chinese massage) and other Chinese internal health methods.
In the past, Cristian has enjoyed a varied career working as a Biomechanics and Movement therapist in the areas of Theatre, Dance and Drama therapy. Throughout his extensive career in Theatre Anthropology, Physical theatre and Dance, he never ceased his lifelong fascination with Tai Chi, Qi Gong and the areas of internal health, body rehabilitation and the benefits they could offer to our rushed society.
Cristian has devoted his life to helping others less fortunate. For most of his life, he has worked with refugee children, adults and students through Tai Chi, Qi Gong Therapy and other Chinese internal health arts. Cristian has also worked with vulnerable adults, health industries, the NHS, schools, colleges, university sports centres, and cultural centres around the UK and abroad.
Nowadays, Cristian works alongside his devoted students, the NHS and Councils. He is devoted completely to helping others from vulnerable groups and the community as a whole, both to alleviate immediate suffering and in pursuit of a better, happier world.
Captivated at the young age of 12 by his martial arts teacher and a sticker album that he discovered, left behind by a previous occupant in his new home he knew his destiny was written for him. Since then he has trained continuously for over thirty years in a variety of martial arts under instructors such as Enrique Quiroz (Karate, Gojo Ryu and Kenpo), Yang Hong (Original Family Yang Style Tai Chi), Chen Lei (Chen style Tai Chi), Ismet Himmet (Wudang Principles) Master Tan Li Long and Grand Master Shi Fei (Wudang Shan Mountains), John Barbery (Pak Mei) Norman Torok (Wudang Principles) Jacob Isaksson (Wudang Sweden) as well as Peter Jones, Master Earl Montague (Wales) and Grand Master Chen Xiao Wang (Chen Style).
Head Instructor and Founder of the Five Elements Academy of Tai chi and Qi Gong.
Neil Diggle has been practicing martial arts since his childhood and has been studying Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Dao Yin Yoga and meditation continuously under Cristian Lopez instruction for over ten years. He began his journey at a young age when he went to Judo lessons in his home town of Hayle in Cornwall where he grew up.
In his teenage years he then moved with his parents to Stubbington in Hampshire where he started practising Kung Fu Chinese Kick Boxing with Zheng Dao Lo Martial Arts Academy where he achieved several medals in full contact and formwork. As an adult, he moved to Southsea and continued to practices martial arts in his spare time.
Neil career within the health and social care industry started in the new millennium as a support worker for people with complex health needs and severe learning disabilities; during this time he achieved his Level 3 NVQ in Health and Social Care. Neil has a very caring and empathetic nature and is very sociable and friendly. It was around this time when he started his journey with Cristian at Wudang Principles UK which is now Five Elements Academy of Tai Chi and Qi Gong.
In 2008 Neil had a very serious accident after falling down some stairs on his Birthday which left him with an acquired brain injury. It was touch and go; he died twice and was in a coma for 3 weeks after a Craniotomy. In a split second his life had changed and nothing would be the same again. Neil was left with many personal challenges to overcome including memory loss, cognitive dissonance and changes to his personality. He also found that he had physical challenges to overcome which included being numb down his right side, similar to what people experience after a stroke. This was a neurological break which left his core strength and mobility seriously compromised!
After Neil’s accident, he found it difficult to adjust to having a hidden disability and his rehabilitation and recovery was very difficult. He not only had to adapt to being a totally different person but also experienced break downs in relationships, not being capable to work, being homeless and then having to navigate the benefits system to get the support he was entitled to.
Although this journey was unplanned Neil eventually found himself again; through his continued practice of Tai Chi movement and breathing work which helped his recovery and personal development. In 2018 Neil was delighted to be awarded a Diploma in Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Dao Yin Yoga from Five Elements Academy in acknowledgement for his continuous personal development and practice over ten years which qualified him as a Tai Chi Instructor.
Neil covers Cristian’s classes in his absence and has also covered and led Dao Yin Yoga Classes in Pure Gym, Portsmouth.