OUR TEAM

Our teachers are our greatest asset.

Instructors

In our approach to teaching, we emphasise care, kindness, patience and results.

In any school, and in particular in martial arts schools, nothing makes more difference than the quality, experience and character of the teachers.  They are the people who make the school great. We know that a great teacher not only needs to know their Kung Fu, they also have to know how to pass it on to others.  They also need a genuine desire to get the best out of their students. We run ongoing teacher training 5 days a week to keep our teachers sharp and motivated because we know that if they are not constantly improving, they are not good enough for our school.

All of our teachers are long term members of Nam Yang and all teach the same arts – no confusion, no contradictions.  

Master Iain Armstrong, our head teacher, has 38 years experience, is a two-time world champion and is head of Nam Yang’s international branches.  He is one of that rare breed, the real kung fu Master. Master Iain’s teaching is highly sought after around the world but he now spends the vast majority of his time here at the Kung Fu Retreat

All our teachers speak absolutely fluent English.  We do not use translators. Nam Yang is an international organisation and our teachers are used to dealing with people from the full range of cultures and backgrounds.  This is somewhere that you will be understood!   

We have 5 levels of

instructors

Master level Instructors are genuine Kung Fu Masters with over 30 years of experience.  They are a rare breed indeed. There are not so many around. We are very lucky to have some outstanding international Masters who speak fluent English.

Senior Instructors.  Experienced Kung Fu teachers who form the backbone of our teaching team.

Instructors. Not as experienced as seniors, but highly dedicated and competent teachers.

Assistant instructors.  Less experienced but still very competent.

Trainee instructors. 

We have 4 levels of

INSTRUCTORS

Master level Instructors are genuine Kung Fu Masters with over 30 years of experience.  They are a rare breed indeed. There are not so many around. We are very lucky to have some outstanding international Masters who speak fluent English.

Senior Instructors.  Experienced Kung Fu teachers who form the backbone of our teaching team.

Assistant instructors.  Less experienced but still very competent teachers.

Trainee instructors.

Not all of the teachers will be present at the Retreat all of the time so we try to make it clear under each teacher’s biography when they will be at the Retreat.  The Master level instructors are in high demand internationally and usually have heavy teaching commitments in a number of different countries. Many of the instructors have families and other commitments which prevent them from being at the Retreat all of the time.

Do please note that, in accordance with Kung Fu philosophy, we list our teachers in order of seniority.

Master Level Instructors

Master Iain Armstrong

Master Iain is the driving force behind the Kung Fu Retreat.  He and his wife founded the Retreat in 2007 and he lives and teaches here.  He is a Kung Fu philosopher and author with 36 years of living Kung Fu. Trained personally by Grand Master Tan Soh Tin in Singapore, he’s a two-time world champion and veteran of real street battles.  Famous for his high-quality Kung Fu teaching, his instructional films and magazine articles, and for his demonstrations of Iron Shirt Chi Kung, Master Iain is a mine of information but retains a very practical, down to earth, and realistic approach. Most people who meet him are struck by his air of calm, patience, and wisdom.

Iain learned his fighting skills on the streets of South London and has never forgotten those lessons. Over the years, he has coached the British full contact team, judged the world championships, washed in broken glass, been hit with a tree felling axe in front of 10,000 people in Trafalgar Square, met the queen of England, organised a lion dance for 10 Downing Street and promoted professional fight competitions.  Back in the days before digital, he wrote for ‘Combat’ magazine and now writes periodic blog posts. He sits on the executive committee of the BCCMA (British Council for Chinese Martial Arts) and runs training to qualify Kung Fu Teachers in the UK.

Master Iain’s specialities are the Tiger Fork and Double Crescent Axes.  Needless to say, he is also famous for his ability in the Tiger – Crane and Sun Frost White Crane arts.  He is known for his ability with Iron Shirt Chi Kung and is certainly one of the leading western practitioners of this fascinating but rather dangerous art.  He has plenty of stories to tell of Kung Fu training in Singapore’s least desirable back streets including an encounter with the God who guards the gates to Hell along with many colourful characters.  More often, though, he can be found talking to his students about Kung Fu’s history, philosophy, ethics, culture, values and traditions. He is a very popular teacher. Indeed he is often considered to be the Kung Fu Retreat’s greatest asset!  We think that you will like him.After beginning his training in London he began travelling to Singapore to learn with Grand Master Tan and over the years they have travelled to China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia and of course Thailand in the pursuit of the art to which they have dedicated their lives.  They have taught in very many European countries.

Master Iain is usually based at the Kung Fu Retreat except during Mid September to Mid October and Late March to late April.  He may be absent for periods of a few days at a time in order to visit his family, renew his visa or perform demonstrations.

Master Dougal Simmons

Senior Level Instructors

Dave

Dave has a calm nature and cares about the people he teaches.  As well as teaching he also takes charge of student welfare. Dave’s initial success in kung fu drew on his experience as a Karate teacher in England and a strong determination to constantly work hard to improve. He has a background in personal training and specialises in strength against body exercises.  Dave became attracted to the Kung Fu Retreat as he wanted to get away from modern commercial martial arts and commit his life to the study of genuine Kung Fu. He enjoys exploring the spiritual aspects of traditional Chinese martial arts and their associated culture. He meditates regularly and helps look after the Retreat’s prayer house and altars.

Dave is based full time at the Kung fu Retreat.

Craig

Craig is a very easy going, popular teacher who can make complex movements seem easy.  He is naturally very athletic and keeps up a high level of physical fitness. He has a flair for weapons training and teaches our weapons classes twice a week.  He is also interested in San Da (Chinese boxing) and teaches this as well. Craig has had a varied and interesting life and worked in roles as diverse as skipper of a pleasure yacht and diver!  He thrives on meeting different people and enjoys exploring the art of Chinese kung fu with all its varied techniques. He has a deep wish to focus properly on learning and understanding our arts and likes living in the mountains and forests of Northern Thailand with its mix of cultures and ethnicities.

Craig is usually present from September to April.

Instructors

James

James is a diligent student of Kung Fu and an easy-going teacher. He connects well with his students which really helps their learning. James had been in the same line of work for 15 years and eventually wanted a different way of life. He began travelling and found his way to our Kung Fu Retreat. He loves how at Nam Yang we challenge ourselves mentally as well as physically. This enables him to learn more about himself every day which is reflected in his teaching. He is a good example to our students and leads from this ethos of self-development.

Coming from Surrey, England James speaks English and since arriving, he has also been studying the Thai language with a few other instructors with the intention of learning more about Thai culture and being able to integrate better.

James is based full time at the Retreat.

Kanika

Kanika has a warm personality and is very approachable.  She is deeply interested in kung fu in all its aspects including philosophy, culture and wisdom.  Kanika comes from a background in Tae Kwon Do and has great flexibility. She came to the Kung Fu Retreat in 2015 and discovered that Nam Yang’s Kung Fu was her true calling in Martial arts.

As well as English Kanika speaks Hindi and Bengali. 

Thomas

Thomas has a very strong interest in Meditation and regularly undertakes vipassana at Tham Wua Forest Monastery.  His patient character is proving popular with our students and he pays good attention to detail. As an Assistant Instructor, Thomas also takes the lead role on running the Qigong and Meditation for Life Balance program.

He will be continuing in this role until May 2019. Thomas is from France As well as English, he also speaks French.

Assistant Instructors

Ophir

Ophir found Nam Yang looking for personal recovery, injury management and healing.   He found our training and stretching routines aided him in this direction and found more than what he was looking for regarding personal development.  Eager to make his life better and aid those around him, he joined our instructor team seeing that it would do just this!

Ophir is usually present at Nam Yang 4-6 months a year. He also assists with the Children’s Classes.

Suyin

Suyin is a strong student and assistant Instructor of the Retreat and has a very outgoing and warm personality. She wanted to go beyond fears, maintain and build a strong structure, focus and discipline.  She found the Retreat was the best place for it.

Suyin assists in the Student Care Team and maintaining the Retreat Grounds.  She is Aussie-Swiss and speaks English and French.

Aurelian

Aurelian arrived to Nam Yang for the instructor team looking towards an opportunity to grow his character.  He discovered this allowed him to succeed further into his mission of creating and holding spaces where everyone can develop their fullest potential!  

Aurelian takes charge of Organizational Development (roles and responsibilities) at the Retreat, and is our Google Drive Organizer. 

Trainee Instructors

Veronica

Veronica was interested in the comprehensive approach to fitness and the philosophical way of life that Kung Fu represents.   Once she came to Nam Yang, she instantly fell in love with the school as it exemplifies these concepts. She enjoyed Nam Yang’s dedication to its members so much that she decided to join the instructor team.

Veronica is usually present at Nam Yang for a few months at the beginning and end of the year.

Camille

Camille was looking for a permanent change in her life and a chance to help others to change their lives in a positive way.  On arriving at the retreat, she found she could achieve this by being an Instructor at Nam Yang. Camille looks forward every day as a teacher to aiding others in Kung Fu, Chi Kung and Meditation, assisting them in bettering themselves physically, mentally and spiritually.

Camille is based full time at the Retreat.  She is our Email Marketing Coordinator. She is also a member of our Communications Team.

Shawn

Shawn came to Nam Yang looking to cultivate the spirit of Kung Fu within himself.  He found the retreat provided the opportunity for self development on multiple levels, which guided him directly to our instructor team!  Shawn looks forward to aiding others in working towards these same goals of self care and development of spirit.

Shawn is based full time at the Retreat. Shawn assists with organic farming and gardening at the Retreat.  He is also a member of our Communications Team.

Leonardo

Leonardo came to Nam Yang to dive directly into the world of Kung Fu and learn the underlying elements, principles and philosophies.  He is keen to learn as much as he can and assist in spreading our art and philosophy. Leonardo intends to open a Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat in Brazil in the future.

Leonardo is a member of our student care team.

Ciara

Ciara has a background in Jeet Kune Do, Wah Lum Praying Mantis, Krav Maga, Yang and Chen Tai Chi, Kickboxing, Capoeira, Fencing and Stage Combat! She loves the discipline, dedication and sense of family that comes with the training. She came to Nam Yang hoping to better understand herself, andfound much more. She’s eager to share the legacy, traditions and art form with the people around her to make the world a better, more aware, place.

Ciara is usually present at Nam Yang from July to January. Ciara assists with the Children’s Classes. She is also a member of the Student Care Team.

Testimonials

What People are Saying

Support Team

Miss Pu

‘Miss Pu’ (pronounced Boo) is the unsung hero of the Kung Fu Retreat.  She manages all of the administration and finance, runs the workforce, manages the water, electricity, internet and gas, makes sure that we have food to eat and fixes all of the niggling little problems which constantly arise.  She also manages all of the building work and managed the building of the whole Retreat from its beginnings as a soya bean field without so much as a road or a water supply!

She achieves all of this whilst coping with two hyperactive children and being married to Master Iain.

Miss Pu comes from the very South East of Thailand and has a Master’s degree in Anaesthesia Nursing.  If she can’t fix it for you – give up!

Leung

Leung means ‘uncle’ – a term of respect for older people in Thai.  He is our gardener and chief builder.  He is very good at growing vegetables and keeping the trees looked after and helps with most of the other work as well.  He seems to have grown in happiness since he came to work with us.  Leung is ethnic Shan.  He migrated from Burma to Thailand quite recently and speaks Shan plus a little heavily accented Thai.  He is much more a ‘doer’ than a talker.

Leung is married with a daughter.

Pi Bok

‘Pi’ is a term denoting someone older than your self but not as old as, say, your parents’ generation.  So her name is ‘Bok’.

Pi Bok is our massage therapist and has been for many years now.  She is very experienced at Thai massage and gets right down deep into the tissues.  She can also do oil massage and herb massage.  When needed she helps out with other jobs around the Retreat and she likes to come with us when we arrange outings and social events.  Pi Bok is very friendly.  She is ethnic Shan but was born in Thailand.  She speaks both languages and reads Thai fluently.  She also speaks a little English.

Pi Bok is widowed with an adult daughter and son.

Iris

Iris has been working for the Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat remotely as an administrative assistant since 2014. She has been working in the customer service industry for more than nine years. With her extensive experience in this field, strong work ethics, and dedication to Nam Yang’s ethos and core values, she is always happy and ready to give a helping hand to the students. She works with Master Iain and the rest of the kung fu instructors in tasks such as answering the students’ enquiries, booking the students in, and helping the students plan for their marvelous time and life-changing journey at the Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat.