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Ela CyRnek


Instructor Ela Cyrnek

My Kung Fu Journey

I always wanted to do martial arts, but I hated PE! In fact, I hated most physical activities which would increase my perspiration and make my face red. I preferred to read books and hitchhike with friends to the mountains, where we would wander for days away from civilisation. For years, hiking and later Iyengar yoga were the only physical activities I did until, in 2012, I discovered the Tiger Crane Kung Fu club in Islington.

That childhood idea of learning martial arts stayed somewhere at the back of my mind. It returned when I completed my second degree in Modern and Classical Chinese at SOAS and started my first full-time office job. I had a growing realisation that doing something physical and challenging was necessary for me to find balance in my life. Up until that point, my life was a routine of commuting to and from work, staring at a computer screen from 9 to 5, and going out with friends. Standard London life.

My first class

As a research analyst, I thought that finding a “perfect” Kung Fu club for me would be straightforward. However, I found it took me as much time and brainpower as searching for a new job! Thankfully, my research skills paid off, and I found Tiger Crane Kung Fu classes in White Lion Street. I sent an email to Dave Courtney Jones, got a quick reply, and almost didn’t go to my first class!

I had decided to try Kung Fu one Saturday morning after my usual yoga session. However, on the way there, I was having second thoughts. I started thinking that maybe Kung Fu was not for me, that I was too old, not fit enough, and perhaps I should go home and go to class on Monday instead.

Then, suddenly I heard a voice in my mind: “If you don’t go now you will never go, and you will always find an excuse not to do something”. I turned 180 degrees and went straight to Claremont Hall.

I loved my first class. I sweated, and my face did go red, but there was something in that class taught by Dave that made me come back the following week and every week after that for the next 8 years, to this day.

Kung Fu Life

Kung Fu became an important part of my life. Hours spent on training different techniques, pad work, sparring with big sweaty men (and women), learning new patterns, or practicing Tai Qi taught me discipline, patience, and attention to detail, which I apply in whatever I do. I could never imagine that the skills I learnt in the first three years of my training would one day help me to overcome adversity in my life.

Imagining myself doing the Tai Qi forms I had learnt in class and concentrating on the breathing helped me calm my mind after I woke up in the ICU after a long and life-saving surgery in November 2015. During recovery, I missed my training and the club. The eagerness to resume my training definitely helped me to recover quicker.

A New Chapter

My desire to become a better martial artist and instructor inspires me to explore movement in greater detail and the human body’s potential through mobility when applied to Tiger Crane style

Reading my story, you might think this is simply a testimonial to my positive experiences of Tiger Crane Kung Fu. No, it is more than that. It is a reflection of my passion and the journey I have taken from someone who didn’t like physical activity to a Kung Fu instructor. This can become your journey, too – and I can guide you on the way.

Start your journey

Send me an email at ela@tigercranekungfu.com or give me a call at 07512214270 if:

  • you think you are too old or unfit to do Kung Fu or Tai Qi
  • you are young and fit and want to do Kung Fu or Tai Qi
  • you always wanted to do martial arts, but never found a good club
  • you are tired of your PT/spinning classes/running on a treadmill
  • you are bored of spending your evenings watching Netflix or scrolling social media feeds
  • you want to challenge yourself physically and mentally

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

Training camps give students the opportunity to further deepen their knowledge of Kung Fu in a week-long trip abroad.

Tiger Crane Kung Fu


Our Kung Fu classes in London are welcoming and friendly, with an approximately 50/50 male/female split. Complete beginners are always welcome, so get in touch today to start your training!

Fitness. Self Defence. 

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Please contact Ela and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

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