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Martial Art Types

Discover Martial Arts Types at the London Academy of Eastern Arts in Kingston-upon-Thames

Tai-Chi Chuan was established in the 16th century in Henan province by Chen Wang-Ting of Chen Jia Gou in the Qing Dynasty.


With its origins in Wushu boxing, it absorbed all the famous forms of boxing at the time, especially the 32 movement ‘Chang Quan’ (Long Boxing) of Qi Ji-Guan (a well-known Chinese general and military strategist) combined with the ancient internal arts such as Daoyin and the concept of the meridians from Traditional Chinese Medicine and the theory of Yin & Yang.


The Academy of Eastern Arts offers training at all levels for health and martial practice in Sun and Sha Family styles of Taiji, both ‘free-hand’ and sword forms. International standardised forms in all styles are also taught for those wishing to enter the competition. Tui Shou (pushing Hands) is also introduced following the beginner’s course.


Tui Shou is designed to allow practical martial applications of hand moves against a training partner in a controlled manner. This gives the practitioner insight into the ‘meanings’ of the movements and postures. Over time, one develops the sensitivity to anticipate the opponent’s intention and redirect the attack using the opponent’s own force and directing one’s own internal energy. Total physical relaxation, calm and a focused mind are enhanced through Tui Shou practice.


Eight core postures are fundamental to Tui Shou translated from the Tai-Chi form:

• Ward Off (P’eng)
• Roll Back (Lu)
• Press (Chi) & Push (Ang)
• Pull (Tsai)
• Split (Lieh)
• Elbow (Chou)
• Shoulder, (Kao)
At an advanced level, movements are applied spontaneously for combat practice and/or competition.

Tong Bei is one of the lesser-known internal arts and was rarely taught broadly until quite recently.


It literally means “Generating Power from the Back Boxing” The training methods of Tong bei quan are based on 72 techniques and traditionally, this art form was taught as basic training of stance work employing angles of movements, arm and leg techniques, as well as body conditioning.


The Late Grandmaster Sha Guozheng, together with several other masters, simplified the understanding and, thereby, training of Tong Bei skills by pulling together the individual techniques and developing various sequences (forms) which contain some or all (depending on the sequence) of the 72 techniques. At The Academy Of Eastern Arts, Tong Bei techniques are practiced in both ways (individual techniques as well as various forms).


Some Tong Bei techniques are also integrated within the Sha family, Tai Chi and Xing Yi, and the basic skills of Tong Bei and body conditioning can complement any martial art training.


Shifu Birinder’s additional knowledge and extensive training in Chinese Medicine allow him to personally prepare herbal medicines for both internal and external use to aid body conditioning. Some of the ancient formulas and medicines used have been passed down to him by the Great Grandmasters.

Xing Yi Quan translates as Mind-Form Boxing and is the oldest of the internal arts of China.


It has a reputation for being the secret fighting art of the Chinese military, which was developed by General Yue Fei and later expanded by Ji Ji Ke. Its applications are characteristic of rapid and explosive power with continuous forward attacking movement. Even when stepping back, the exponent still attacks.


In Xing Yi, the practitioner learns the six harmonies (Liu He), three internal and three external. It utilises body shape or form with the ‘mind’ intention to release internal power.


The core practice of Xing Yi is based on San Ti Shi (specific standing practice to develop the six harmonies); the five element fists – Metal, Water; Wood, Fire and Earth; and the 12 Animals – Tiger, Dragon; Tai (often referred to as the Chinese Ostrich); Horse; Alligator; Snake; Swallow, Sparrow-hawk; Bear; Eagle; Chicken and Monkey. In addition to these core forms, there are several connecting forms and advanced sequences: 2 person sparring practices (Dulian/San Shou Pao) and weapons forms.


Traditionally, Xing Yi is initially taught with hard, obvious power (Ming Jing) and refined to softer, less obvious internal ‘hidden’ power (ang Jing) and eventually developed into Hua Jing. (Neutralising power).


At the Academy Of Eastern Arts, the complete syllabus of Xing Yi is taught, and from the very beginning, ‘Ang Jing’ principles are introduced. Whilst the appearance of Xing Yi can look very physically demanding, it is, in fact, a very suitable practice for people of all ages and can be adapted to one’s own abilities.

Ba Gua Zhang translates as eight palm changes.


The 8 trigrams (bagua), each representing natural phenomena – Heaven, Earth, Water, Fire, Mountains, Lakes, Wind, and Thunder- make 64 combinations of hexagrams when combined with a second. These 64 combinations form the I Ching or oracle, used in divination, medicine, and martial arts, to name a few.


Bagua Zhang is characterised by ‘circle walking’, and the footwork is described as walking through a muddy pitch. Once walking is learnt, basic palms are introduced, followed by more complex palm changes and sequences and, eventually, the 8 animal forms correspond to each of the 8 phenomena. There are also two-person practices and weapons forms.


At the Academy Of Eastern Arts, equal focus is placed on Martial practices, the internal spiralling practices and meditative aspects of the art from which this martial practice was initially developed by its founder – Dong Hai Chuan.

Qigong can be defined as the skill of training the Chi.


In China, Chi is often called the Chi or the air we breathe. In Chinese medicine and health practice terms, it is referred to as the energy force upon which all the bodily functions are maintained. ‘gong’ literally refers to the skill acquired over a long period of practice, so in the case of Qigong, it can be translated as a skill acquired in regulating the breath, posture and movements by focussing the mind.


During Qigong practice, one uses the mind to control the nourishing of the Chi and focuses its direction along the routes of the meridians. (A network of pathways within the body through which Chi is said to flow).


There are countless methods of Qigong practised widely for many different purposes, each with its own characteristics and are broadly divided into four categories:
• Strengthening the health and preventing disease
• Treatment of disease
• Martial arts
• Development of the intellect and spiritual potential


At the Academy, Qigong forms a core part of our training, and every student learns Qigong, which is practised throughout the year according to Daosit’s theory of ‘five seasons’. Where a student has specific requirements, these are tailored to suit the individual and offered on a 1:1 basis. We also offer regular seminars & retreats as well as an in-depth teaching certificate and diploma course.

Personal training is about setting your fitness objectives and taking on a coach to help you achieve them, whether you want to improve your general fitness levels or have something more specific in mind, such as weight loss, muscle building/toning, or sports-specific conditioning.


A good personal trainer can help you set and achieve realistic goals through focused training, dietary/nutritional advice and other appropriate lifestyle adjustments. Whilst a standard program can help achieve some results, a tailored plan is ultimately superior in hitting your objectives as not everyone responds to diet and exercise in the same way.


At our academy, professional personal training can be tailored for those individuals with specific objectives who prefer not to do martial-based exercises or in addition to a martial arts regime.


We can help you with:

• Weight loss programs
• Endurance
• Plyometric exercises
• Muscular size and strength
• Flexibility
• Cardio
• Sports-specific fitness development
• Dietary/Nutritional and Lifestyle advice