Tai Chi Association of Australia: Existential Crisis?

The Tai Chi Association of Australia (TCAA) was founded in 1999 with an aim to establish a strong national independent organisation for all Tai Chi practitioners in Australia. The top priorities, as stated by the first President of TCAA Dr Paul Lam, were sharing knowledge and skills and member benefits in a form of health funds rebates for tuition fees and national database of Tai Chi instructors / classes. Initially, TCAA strongly supported the “Peaceful Challenge” competition which included Tai Chi, Push Hands and Wushu. The competitions attracted many enthusiasts and were a huge success until HIH Insurance collapse in 2001 and following Martial Arts Insurance crisis. The “Peaceful Challenge” organisers could no longer afford the required insurance for the competition and it was folded forever. The TCAA then organised their own competition but, in order to keep insurance premium low, without Wushu and Push Hands. At that time, the TCAA developed strong affiliation with the Australian Kung Fu (Wushu) Federation which was the National Sporting Organisation (NSO) for Wushu and Kung Fu. This was the beginning of converting the TCAA into a submissive envoy to the AKWF recruiting members to boost the AKWF numbers and customers for the AKWF/MAIA insurance. The TCAA Annual Competitions had to be “sanctioned” by the AKWF and all instructors were forced to undertake the NCAS accreditation course. The loss of independence was however met with great excitement which gradually transcended into apathy. As a matter of fact, some TCAA members, especially from good old days, simply believe that they have nothing to do with the AKWF or Kung Fu Wushu Australia.

In the TCAA Newsletter (November 2016) the current President Mr Ken Goh admits that TCAA should review the reasons for it to exist. Here they are:

  1. Helping members to get accredited through the Kung Fu Wushu Australia;
  2. Helping members to buy insurance through the Kung Fu Wushu Australia;
  3. Helping members to participate in the National and International Competitions sanctioned or organised by the Kung Fu Wushu Australia and the International Wushu Federation;
  4. Helping members to connect with National Authorities, i.e. the Kung Fu Wushu Australia;
  5. Helping members to share knowledge and skills (strangely enough, without involvement of the Kung Fu Wushu Australia!)

It is truly amazing that the President believes the TCAA is a member of the “Kung Fu Wushu Australia, renamed from the Australian Kungfu (sic) Wushu Federation” while they are completely different entities. TCAA was indeed a member of the AKWF and probably still is as the AKWF continues its existence (another surprise?!) The constitution of Kung Fu Wushu Australia allows for an association like TCAA to be an Associate Member which:

  • will be invited to have a Representative attend all General Meetings;
  • does not have the right to vote at any meetings;
  • at any General Meeting to which they are invited to attend, has the right for its Representative to be heard on any subject under discussion.

However, if the TCAA President is not aware of the Kung Fu Wushu Australia being a new organisation, it is highly unlikely that the TCAA even applied for its humiliating membership.

Access to National and International Competitions sounds like a great benefit but is it worth losing independence?

The TCAA Championship in 2016 “was approved by the Kung Fu Wushu Australia for selection of Australian Tai Chi national representatives to the IWUF (International Wushu Federation) 2nd World Taijiquan Championships Oct. 14 – 20 in Warsaw, Poland. Three highly accomplished athletes qualified to represent Australia, but regrettably the participation in Warsaw had to be withdrawn as there was no official available to lead the team to the venue.”  – TCAA Newsletter (November 2016)

Insurance and accreditation are other important issues that are perceived by the TCAA as fully resolved by affiliation with the Kung Fu Wushu Australia. It is obvious however that the TCAA has no idea to what kind of accreditation they are kindly granted access. The following “tip” from the TCAA newsletters (2016/2017) fully demonstrates this:

“If you have existing insurance, it is unlikely to meet the MAIA accreditation stringent requirements. You are advised to simply say you do not have valid insurance and apply for the MAIA insurance.” – TCAA Newsletter (April 2017)

It is important to understand that MAIA accreditation is officially different from NCAS accreditation. Although MAIA was officially derecognised by the Australian Sports Commission, its accreditation is still sometimes perceived as approved by the government. While the Kung Fu Wushu Australia may still have a valid NCAS involvement inherited from the AKWF, the instructors awarded with that “magic card” supposedly opening all doors ahead should not be seen as “government accredited”. The Australian Sports Commission’s officials, on many occasions, clarified that “the Government does not accredit any instructors. You are an AKWF-accredited instructor”.

The Kung Fu Wushu Australia’s approach to insurance as a requirement for membership / accreditation has been evolving: see their Membership & Insurance Policy. A relatively reasonable requirement to have an insurance for a particular amount in 2010-2012 has been finally developed into an exclusive deal when members MUST buy insurance from a particular insurer. It is not clear what is more amazing: the boldness of the Kung Fu Wushu Australia or spinelessness of the TCAA happy to support such an aggressive practice by encouraging its own members to abandon their freedom of selecting their insurance based on their own interests, not the interests of the “peak body”.

Indeed, not being a governing body, accrediting body or supporting and protecting body for its members poses the difficult existential question for the TCAA. What is its purpose apart from being a loyal voiceless agent supplying unsuspecting members/customers to the national monopoly?

Wushu Council Australia – Insurance

All Tai Chi, Qigong and Wushu instructors that are members of our state associations can enjoy our comprehensive yet affordable public liability and professional indemnity insurance.

Please note that, unlike some other bodies, the Wushu Council Australia does not make this particular insurance a compulsory element of the membership of the State Associations. We believe all instructors should have an insurance but they have the right to choose the most suitable for their needs options.

We also worked very hard to provide an opportunity for all practitioners and students to have access to personal accident insurance.

For enquiries please write to secretariat@wushu-council.com.au.

Tai Chi, Wushu & Qigong in Today’s World

The Organising Committee is inviting everyone interested in Tai Chi, Qigong and Wushu to take part in the forthcoming inter/multidisciplinary Conference in Sydney at Macquarie University on Tai Chi, Wushu and Qigong in Today’s World.

The aim of the conference is to provide a venue for an interdisciplinary forum for both Australian and international scholars engaged in research on the arts. The scope of the conference is intentionally broad in the hope to bring together scholars, practitioners and teachers from different fields and various directions including, but not limited to, cultural, literary, philosophy, religion and social studies, sports and medicine. It is expected that together with plenary speakers, the conference will also include workshops and seminars as well as paper and poster presentations by practitioners, teachers and researchers. The publication of selected refereed papers will be considered.

The round table/forum for the teachers of Tai Chi, Wushu and Qigong is envisaged during the conference where the challenges and problems instructors face will be discussed.

To register, visit Eventbrite.

To follow the Conference, visit the Dedicated Facebook Page.

Oceania Wushu Rules


Being based in Australia, the Wushu Herald is bound to be interested in how our region’s Wushu athletes, coaches and individual practitioners are represented in the International Wushu Federation (IWUF) which was established on October 3rd, 1990 and is the international federation governing Wushu in all its forms worldwide. Currently, the IWUF has 146 members, across five continental federations worldwide. The IWUF is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and is also a member of both ARISF and Sport Accord.

The IWUF is devoted to development of Wushu throughout the world, to enrichment of people’s lives by making them healthier, both mentally and physically, and to promotion of friendship and understanding between all people through the spirit of sport.

The IWUF is governed by the Executive Board and several Committees which, in total, include 62 people from all over the world. The diagram above shows the distribution of representatives from five continental federations relative to their respective populations (as of September 2017). It can of course dramatically change after the upcoming IWUF Congress, but at the moment the number of Oceania representatives in all IWUF Committees is clearly unproportionate to its population share. With just 0.5% of the world population, Oceania’s representatives enjoy 6% of the total IWUF Committee members which is probably due to their most adorable, charismatic and persuasive foreman whose smooth talk can apparently convince the IWUF President that he is the best man to be the President of the Oceania organisation, and that the simple act of renaming the Kung Fu Wushu South Australia into Oceania Kung Fu Wushu Federation is a magic move to revitalise Oceania Wushu and boost its membership.

Note: While most of the data used in this analysis was taken from the IWUF website, some of it has been adjusted according to the advice from Mr Glen Keith (former President of the Oceania Wushu Federation and a Vice President of the IWUF who stepped down from these positions in 2015) who now claims to be the Senior Vice President of the brand-new Oceania Kung Fu Wushu Federation (not to be confused with the Oceania Wushu Federation currently listed on the IWUF website as an official continental member) – the word of the Senior Vice President HAS TO BE TRUE!

Oceania Wushu: Multiple Representation Disorder?

In anticipation of the fast-approaching 14th World Wushu Championships and the International Wushu Federation (IWUF) Congress in Kazan, Russia, we asked Mr Glen Keith, a former Vice President of the IWUF, to clarify several confusing facts about Oceania Wushu structure. He kindly agreed to answer our questions.





WUSHU HERALD: There are two websites claiming to be the official sites of the Oceania representatives to the IWUF: http://www.oceaniawushu.org/ and http://oceaniakungfuwushu.com/.

GLEN KEITH: The correct website is http://oceaniakungfuwushu.com/ and I am in the process of closing down the website http://www.oceaniawushu.org/, which is now redundant.  I am also in the process of de-registering the formal structure associated with the Oceania Wushu Federation Limited.

WUSHU HERALD: Accordingly, there are two organisations: Oceania Wushu Federation Limited (NZBN 9429041506516) and Oceania Kung Fu Wushu Federation Limited (ACN 159 557 892).

GLEN KEITH: There is only one official organisation, being Oceania Kung-Fu Wushu Federation Limited.

WUSHU HERALD: The IWUF website states that the continental member for Oceania is Oceania Wushu Federation Limited although the contact details appear to be of Oceania Kung Fu Wushu Federation.

GLEN KEITH: I will remind the IWUF to update their website.

WUSHU HERALD: Oceania Kung Fu Wushu Federation claims to have 12 members 10 of which appear to be in the process of formation. Their logos clearly show the streamlined approach to this process.

GLEN KEITH: I have no reason to dispute the information on the Oceania Kung Fu Wushu Federation website with regards to membership.

GLEN KEITH: General Comment: In Jakarta 2015 at the IWUF Executive Meeting and Congress, and for personal reasons, I formally withdrew my candidacy for President of the International Wushu Federation.  I also at this time (for the same personal reasons) decided to stand down from my role as President of the Oceania Wushu Federation.  I recommended to IWUF that Mr Walt Missingham take my position as President, given he was the Senior Vice President of the Oceania Wushu Federation.  This was later ratified by IWUF and Mr Missingham was duly nominated and elected.  My current position in the Oceania Kung Fu Wushu Federation is that of Senior Vice President. 

Mr Glen Keith refused to comment further and it remains unclear why it was necessary to create a new Oceania Kung Fu Wushu Federation while keeping the old one. We continue our investigation.


The International Wushu Federation (IWUF) is the international organisation recognised by the International Olympic Committee. The IWUF governs Wushu in all its forms worldwide and currently has 146 members, across 5 continental regions including Oceania. Australia is the biggest Oceania country and its Wushu, Tai Chi and Kung Fu practitioners are affected by the policies and decisions of the IWUF and its Oceania Continental Member regardless of their formal affiliations. 

Mr Glen Keith’s Manifesto in his bid to be elected as the IWUF President in 2015 was the subject of the Wushu Herald article (https://issuu.com/auswushu/docs/wushu-herald-2015-vol-03-no-03) and can still be found on http://www.glenkeith.org/.