Dao Lu is a Community Interest Company, so we have a board of directors. We also have many volunteers, for whom we gratefully acknowledge their contributions and help develop their capacity in learning and coaching.
|Lead Instructor, Programme Lead
|Development and Learning Officer
Aileen Hamdan, Director and Instructor
Aileen Hamdan is a Director and Lead Instructor, particularly for the provision of Dao Lu’s Tai Chi for girls and women. She has been training Chen Style Tai Chi under Shifu Browne, 34th generation disciple of Shaolin Temple, since 2008. She also has the BCCMA Level 3 coaching qualification.
Aileen is passionate about promoting Tai Chi and its huge health benefits to groups such as older people, girls and women, and disabled people. She particularly advocates Tai Chi Fan as a tool to get more people engaged in training for a healthier lifestyle. Aileen teaches 5-8 sessions weekly including many pilot projects. She speaks and writes fluent Mandarin.
Ewa Nevisandeh, Director
Ewa is a student and volunteer at Dao Lu and has been since October 2015 when she first attended Tai Chi trial sessions in
Chingford organised by Aileen. In the past she practiced many types of sports (swimming, canoeing, sailing, skiing, and volleyball, cycling…) although she loved all of them none of
these became her passion. Tai Chi on the other hand from the very beginning became part of her life and a passion that she would like to share with others. She has volunteered with many projects such as Tai Chi for people with Dementia and for people with learning disabilities which made her truly
realise the amazing impact of Tai Chi. Through Tai Chi she has met many wonderful people and she knows that there are still many out there that would benefit mentally and physically from Tai Chi so she would like to help train others and give them the same opportunity to feel the joy of practicing this internal martial art.
Jason Monero, Director
My name is Jason, I am one of the board of directors for Dao Lu CIC. I lost my sight when I was 11 years old because of a brain tumour which caused a number of other difficulties including weakness on one side.
I became interested in Tai Chi as a young person as I always wanted to do some form of martial arts. I first attended taster sessions, part of Give It A Go programme in 2010 and 2011. I decided to join a regular weekly class at Dao Lu in 2013 and have not look back since.
I have been promoting Tai Chi within other projects such as social clubs, school projects, media work and General practice (GP) to try and broaden the awareness of the art.
I have taken part in a number of Tai Chi projects and performances. Tai Chi has helped me a great deal with my balance and strengthening my legs as well as my health and self esteem; Practicing Tai Chi every week has given me the stamina and ability that I have needed to get through the day reminding me how far I have come in my journey and it leaves me with the sense of accomplishment which is a good feeling. I feel my confidence has also improved.
Learning Tai Chi will help you with your health and wellbeing as well as your mental health and fitness level with perseverance.
Belinda Calaguas, Director
Belinda joined Dao Lu CIC in May 2015, but has practised Tai Chi off and on in the Philippines and the UK since the 90s. In February 2023, she completed and acquired Level 1 Yang Tai Chi Teacher qualification from the Deyin Taijiquan Institute in the UK, learning under Shifu Tary Yip and Shifu Faye Li Yip.
Relearning Tai Chi in 2015 helped Belinda fully recover from burn-out at her previous employment. She loves learning hand and weapon forms – fan, swords, staff. These exercises benefit not only physical and mental health. They also keep the brain working and making/learning new connections. Apart from Dao Lu classes, Belinda also attends Tai Chi and Qigong classes with the North London Deyin group with teacher Sam Ma.
Belinda joined the Dao Lu Board in 2021 and is especially interested in securing funding and developing projects so Dao Lu can offer and promote more Tai Chi and Qigong classes to the local population in the borough, and to grow Dao Lu’s student/member numbers. She is also interested in supporting interested long-term students to step towards being teaching assistants and training to become instructors themselves – a journey Belinda has embarked on. Belinda teaches beginner Yang Tai Chi (a curriculum including Yang 8, 16 and 24 hand forms) once a week, as part of the Dao Lu offer.
Sankofa Small, Director
Sankofa has been training with Dao Lu since 2013. She finds training in the open air a very spiritual experience, breathing in and out mindfully and having time to take in the beauty of nature and to learn to be aware of and control my body in motion, and when still. Sankofa says Tai Chi has been great for her coordination, memory, strengthening her immune system and boosting her overall sense of wellbeing.
Read more about Sankofa’s Tai Chi journey so far.
Aaron Whitaker, Instructor
Aaron has been studying Tai Chi with Shifu Browne since 2009. Aaron has been teaching Tai Chi since 2012 and teaches 3 regular classes a week as well as special sessions for older people. He has experience of Chen, Yang and Wudang Tai Chi and is proficient with stick, broadsword, straight sword, fan and ball techniques. He has a good knowledge of Qi and Qi Gong and is passionate about Tai Chi and Chinese culture.
Joe McPhoy, Instructor
Joe trained in Chen Style Tai Chi and Kung Fu under Shifu Browne between 2008 and 2013, and many other teachers before for other disciplines of martial arts. Joe is passionate about getting young people active. He teaches Tai Chi, kickboxing and other lessons at Dao Lu, YMCA and Age UK. Joe is also a personal trainer and a specialist in chair massage for head and shoulders.
Itricia Byer, Instructor
Itricia Byer has been training in Chen style Tai Chi since 2009. She also has BCCMA coaching qualification Level 2.
She has been a member of the Dao Lu family for many years, starting out as an assistant instructor in the girls and young women’s sessions. Once she became a black belt Itricia began to teach independently in the wider community. Working in colleges and local community settings teaching Tai Chi, delivering sessions in hospitals as a form of gentle exercise for patients to aid recovery, as well as working with Age UK, and supporting people with additional learning needs.
Over the years Itricia’s growth and better innerstanding of using Tai Chi meditation and Qigong to unite the mind, body and spirit for overall well-being, has led to her passion for Tai Chi and its ability to harness and strengthen the qi energy within the body.
We are always looking out for people with passion, different talents and skills to join the Dao Lu Board and Team, working together to make small changes at one small step at one time to the local communities and beyond. Please contact us if you would like to have a chat with us.