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.
|Aileen Hamdan||Chair||Lead Instructor, Programme Lead|
|Colin Bootle||Secretary||Webmaster, Photographer|
|Sankofa Small||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.
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.
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.
Belinda Calaguas, Director
Belinda joined Dao Lu in 2015, but has practiced Tai Chi off and on in the Philippines and in the UK since the 90s. Re-learning Tai Chi helped me fully recover from burn-out at my previous employment. I love learning forms, fan, swords – I think of these exercises not just in terms of their benefits to my physical and mental health, but also to keep my brain working! I joined the Board in 2021 and am especially interested in helping secure funding and developing projects so Dao Lu can offer and promote more Qigong classes, along with Tai Chi, grow our membership/studentship, and support interested long-term students to become teaching assistants to our instructors. Dao Lu has a very active social and education scene! I benefit a lot from students and instructors sharing interests, resources and helping each other learn more about the theory and principles behind Qigong and Tai Chi.
Aaron Whitaker, Instructor
Aaron has been studying Tai Chi with Shifu Browne since 2009. Shifu Browne is a 34th Generation warrior disciple of Shaolin Temple China and studied there for many years. 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, 34th generation disciple of Shaolin Temple, 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.
Marilyn Moseley, Volunteer
Marilyn has been training Tai Chi with Dao Lu since its set up in 2013. She feels that with Tai Chi she is learning various new skills while exercising – best of two worlds. Inspired by Dao Lu’s objectives and everyone’s hard work, Marilyn finds time in her busy life of running a small business to help our treasurer with bookkeeping using her professional bookkeeping skills.
Read more about Marilyn’s Tai Chi journey so far.
Daniela Garlaschelli, Volunteer
Danny is a Dao Lu student and volunteer. Danny has been training Tai Chi with Dao Lu since May 2015. She trains 3 sessions every week and helps run women projects at Dao Lu. Danny has truly benefited from Tai Chi by getting rid of her insomnia and constant tiredness. She is determined to practice and promote Tai Chi for the rest of her life. Danny also brings in her gardening and conservation skills and knowledge to the Dao Lu community.
Read more about Danny’s Tai Chi journey so far.
Previous volunteers and students
Berit Zimmermann, Volunteer
Berit was a director from 2013 to 2015. She has been interested in Chinese culture and language for many years and started studying Mandarin in 2002 in Shanghai. Berit previously practised Wing Chun and also worked as gym instructor for five years but always wanted to try Tai Chi. During the London Olympics in 2012 Berit attended a trial Tai Chi lesson in Lloyd Park organised by Aileen and loved it. Since then she has been training regularly (Chen and Yang style, broadsword, straight sword and fan) and also qualified as an assistant coach. Berit has been working with Aaron and Aileen on a number of projects for disabled and older people as well as families.
Rebecca Ramsden, Young Volunteer
Rebecca started training Tai Chi with Aileen in September 2015. She found Tai Chi very useful to help her cope with the stress from exams. She was surprised that Tai Chi looked so easy but actually was very difficult! Her school mates sometimes laugh at her because she cannot help practising Tai Chi at lunch time in a corner! Rebecca is a very busy young person doing her GCSEs, but she tries to find time to help teach other young children at Dao Lu family projects. She enjoyed helping out and coaching because it helps build her confidence.
Read more about Rebecca’s Tai Chi journey so far.
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.