Summer Training Camp, London 2019
Shaolin Kung Fu
Student Central Kung Fu is a long established club located at Student Central dedicated to teaching Shaolin Nam Pai Chuan under the guidance of Sifu Low, a highly experienced Fifth Degree Black Belt training in this System for over 25 years.
Nam Pai Chuan is one of the largest and best-respected Chinese martial art styles practiced in the UK, combining northern and southern Shaolin kung fu styles in a single unified system.
This art was first brought to the UK by Master Lai in 1979. Prior to this, Sifu Lai trained intensively: twice each day, seven days a week -- for 13 years under the teachings of Master Quek in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Master Quek's teacher was Cho Si Gao Can Mun, also known as Sek Koh San. The name of our school incorporated Gao Can's name in homage to our ancestor. We now have clubs across the UK, western Europe, and as far as Japan and New Zealand.
Master Quek with Master Lai, London 2009
We understand that attending your first class can be an intimidating experience, as you don't quite know what to expect! It is worth remembering that everybody was once a beginner, and we therefore aim to make newcomers feel as welcome as possible. Our class is a mixed group, with students of all ages and abilities. Because Nam Pai Chuan is such a broad style, no two classes are ever exactly the same. However, there is consistency in that the underlying principles on which the style is based are always being developed through the various methods taught.
Training will begin with warm-up exercises aimed at improving strength, aerobic fitness and increasing flexibility. The lesson will vary with teaching conducted either as a whole class, smaller groups, or in pairs. Practice includes traditional forms and applications, chi kung exercises, padwork, practical self-defence, sparring, and classical weapons. Our syllabus is challenging but extremely effective and rewarding.
Kung fu is not simply about fighting skills; it's also about respect for yourself and for those around you, self-confidence and discipline, all of which is emphasised in our lessons. Fitness, awareness and self-defence are a just a few more reasons why we think you should join. We are a very friendly and sociable group coming from all walks of life.
We have some student testimonials at the end of this page, and also on the System YouTube channel, please check it out:
Where & when we train
We generally train twice a week throughout the year on Tuesdays and Fridays from 6.30pm - 8.30pm in the Malet Suite, though this is subject to room availability. Please make contact with us to confirm class is taking place.
Address: Student Central, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HY.
Interested in training with us?
We encourage anyone interested in training with us to attend at least one class, and we will provide that lesson for free.
There is a £10 joining fee after getting your Student Central card and your first month of training. From here:
Students/UoL staff are charged £3 per class, or £10 per month (payable on a termly basis).
Non-students are charged £5 per class, payable by card only at Reception. You will need to register online to obtain a Student Central Guest Account.
You will also require membership with the Nam Pai Chuan School, which includes insurance with the British Council of Chinese Martial Arts (BCCMA).
Join Student Central Shaolin Kung Fu!
- Get a Student Central Card
- Sign in to the Student Central website (you will receive an activation email after getting your card)
- Purchase your Student Central membership online
Some Student Central students at a London grading, 2018
"I started kung fu because a friend of mine had been going for three years and talked often and enthusiastically about what a great difference it had made in his life. It took just the first session for me to realise why: I’ve joined a lot of different clubs in my life and nothing was like the welcome I received from the Nam Pai Chuan students. They were warm and friendly and no-one made me feel awkward for being a total beginner (with no previous martial arts experience). The lessons were tough from the very beginning, but in a way that’s meant I’ve pushed myself to get better rather than finding it off-putting. Sifu Nelly is a passionate, knowledgeable and caring instructor (and a truly impressive practitioner) who knows how to get the best out of all of us and no two classes with her are the same. Everyone gets her attention during the session so the training always feels personal and attentive – meaning that we all have plenty of opportunities to improve. Kung fu is an incredible workout for both the body and the mind. I’ve been going for almost a year now and a few months into joining I gave up my gym membership because my fitness levels have improved so much quicker through kung fu than they ever did in the gym. I’m a yellow belt but have high hopes of working hard and continuing to move through the belts – perhaps as far as black belt if I can! My fellow students are as lovely today as they were when I first met them and they’re one of the many reasons I return to kung fu and love it as much today as I did on my first day."
"I started Kung Fu about four years ago. I am not a young man. I was putting on weight, my fitness was severely lacking and my body was becoming stiff and seizing up. I was welcomed by all the other students and couldn’t believe how friendly they were, but as soon as we started training they were focused and committed to learning the techniques and the forms.I progressed under the watch of the fantastic and patient instructors .I progressed and my fitness level increased and my body started moving like it did a couple of decades ago.I was enjoying myself and was training sometimes two to three times a week. There were workshops and I learned different forms and I also got to travel to Malaysia to train with other Kung Fu masters and students from New Zealand and Japan.
My aim is to get to black belt ,this will take a number of years and a lot of hard work but that is my ambition and my ultimate goal.There are a number of clubs in London and I train at Student Central with Sifu Nelly who is a fantastic and experienced instructor ,after I had a knee operation she helped me recuperate and made sure I reached the correct standard to pass my blue belt grading."
"I am 41 years old and I have been a member of Nam Pai Chuan for 6 years. I have always loved martial arts and I have two instructors who are inspiring and understanding of my injuries. I feel that I have made great progress with mental strength - no matter how hard I find something I don't give up. I have become fitter and have made some progess toward getting more flexible. I have made some good friends and it's my goal to get my black belt in the future and give something back to the system."
"Given that my job is desk based and that I easily get bored in the gym, training in martial arts gives me a full body workout that is very effective. I chose this type of Kung Fu mainly because it is very practical and the system is very popular in many parts of the UK and rest of the world. This can help continue training with this system even if you are to relocate to other cities. Having trained for 10 months so far, I have already seen some benefits in terms of losing some weight and becoming more flexible. Apart from this, it has also helped me become more sharper mentally. The instructors in a couple of clubs that I train with have all been part of the system for long and have very good knowledge of the syllabus and the science behind it. People who train with us come from different backgrounds and the atmosphere has always been very friendly which builds a good environment for us to meet new people and have a social circle that is outside of work. I would certainly encourage people to visit us and take part in a trial class to see if this is for you!"
"I joined Nam Pai Chuan with the enthusiasm of an inquisitive child. I was at a point in my life where I need change, a new focus, I needed an opportunity to relay the foundations and build pillars in my life, studying with Nam Pai Chuan been instrumental in me being able to do that. I am a different person nearly two years on, I still have some way to go and enjoying the journey. My mind set is that of an open book with pages of sponge. Every time I attend a class I just want to learn. The teaching and syllabus shows a clear path for progression, a journey that can be taken at your own pace. I have studied other forms of Martial Arts previously, but there has been something different about Nam Pai Chuan that has enabled me to see progress, one element is consistency."
"I was looking for a way to stay fit and enjoy the exercise. Freshers week at Warwick Business School and I met the people from Nam Pai Chuan. The full time MBA program is extremely pressured and here was something I could fit in, stay fit and have fun. What I found was much more than I expected. Not only is it challenging mentally and physically It is a support community of the most diverse ages and backgrounds that will stay with you for life. I am now in my sixties and still going strong. Still learning, still benefiting. Come and join us."