Dave Courtney Jones
Head Instructor Dave Courtney Jones
In some ways, it was great good fortune that I was beaten up at school, with one person pinning my arms to my side from behind while the other punched me in the face, as this is why I walked through the door into my first martial arts class.
My motivation was purely to learn to defend myself, and this is exactly what I learned to do. Forming up in rows, we repeated the unfamiliar movements again and again and, without knowing why, I stuck with it. Finding that martial arts training somehow inexplicably rang a note in my soul, a short while later I found Tiger Crane Kung Fu, and later again I was introduced to Yong Chun White Crane Kung Fu.
I was taught Tiger Crane for over 30 years (although one can never really finish learning), winning the title of British Heavyweight Kung Fu Champion in 1992 and 1993, whilst studying Mechanical Engineering at Imperial College, and twenty years later winning 3 Gold and 2 Silver medals, competing at International Level in China in 2013, and 2016.
Being a Kung Fu Champion, though, was never really my motivation for training, as the never-ending journey towards self-mastery, the training towards the impossible perfection, and the changes that this forges within me, have always interested me far more.
Long before Kung Fu was taught to the common people in China, it was one of the Five Excellences. Along with Painting, Calligraphy, Poetry and Medicine, Chinese Martial Arts were part of the educational system of society’s elite: a system of learning and development which leads to betterment of the self, rather than necessarily, the destruction of one’s opponent. The Art of War holds the greatest victory as that won without battle ever having to take place.
So, within this study of technique, positioning, distancing, rhythm and timing; within the deadly play of attack, defence and counterattack, all performed at the speed of unconscious thought – as form leads to formlessness, and power moves from external to internal, one begins to live (as opposed to understand) the philosophy of ancient China, and one’s thoughts become the Art of War.
I teach Kung Fu for many reasons – quite apart from the benefit that I gain from explaining movements so that hundreds and hundreds of people can understand and duplicate them, continuing to deepen my own understanding of what I teach, and the obligation to pass on this ancient treasure, I can only say that teaching Kung Fu is in my soul: my reason for being.
Teaching an art form which is about so much more than just movement has given me a very profound insight into human nature and learning. Much of the struggle towards mastery takes place in the mind, overcoming internal obstacles to progression which have come into being for many reasons, from upbringing to trauma (and which Buddhists refer to as ‘Karma’), which can influence one’s life direction and affect one’s approach to problem solving and learning.
Over the years the true test of a teacher’s ability is whether they can provide their students with the skills to surpass them, taking the art form to higher levels, or in new directions, developing their own areas of knowledge and specialism much like a PhD. Perhaps my most exciting challenge as I teach the next generation of martial artists is to nurture their own unique understanding of Kung Fu, and to give them the skills to become the masters of the future.
The journey of a thousand miles, though, begins with a single step, and who knows where yours will take you. Without that single step though, you will just remain where you are, and that person that you might have become, may never come to be.
We enjoy exciting
Regular gradings, seminars, and training camps are part of our yearly programme, allowing you to deepen your understanding of Chinese Martial Arts, and to progress in a structured manner.
Regular full-day seminars give students the opportunity to train extensively, focusing on a particular aspect of the style.
Regular gradings allow students to test their skills in a formal environment, and to progress through the style syllabus.
Training camps give students the opportunity to further deepen their knowledge of Kung Fu in a week-long trip abroad.
what They’re Saying
Been with Dave for nearly 8 years so far, which have been truly life-changing. If you are looking for effective self-defence, improved health and fitness and greater strength (physical and mental!) – look no further! Forget the gym – Dave’s Kung Fu will give you all you’ve ever wished for, and more!
Dave has been a fantastic teacher over the last five years. I started training after seeing how he motivated my children and can honestly say five years later that despite middle age approaching I am in the best shape I have ever been, and can do things I was never able to do before. Kung Fu makes you awesome!
I began studying Tiger Crane Kung Fu with Dave over a decade ago and have not looked back. The style is as challenging as it is rewarding, and the physical and mental benefits are constant and lasting. The club is always welcoming and Dave is a very experienced instructor with deep knowledge and passion.
Please contact Dave and we will get back to you as soon as we can.