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Frequently asked questions are answered here.
However, if you have more specific questions or are in doubt, please do not hesitate to contact us.





How old do I need to be?

You are required to be at least 18 years of age in order to train with us at King’s College London. However, there are other clubs which train people under the age of 18 and you may find them through the central Nam Pai Chuan website.

Do I need to be fit before I can join?

Continuing Sigung Lai’s original determination in how Nam Pai Chuan would be taught, our classes are open to everyone, no matter their sex or fitness level. Naturally, certain medical conditions may mean you cannot train either partially or fully.

What if I have injuries and/or medical conditions?

Please consult your doctor if you have any concerns about practicing our martial art. Our instructors and students take health and safety considerations very seriously. You will be required to state any pre-existing conditions that may impact your ability to train, and instructors may wish to ask you further information before deciding if you can take part in a class or become a member. This is standard practice in all forms of physical training, whether in martial arts or even joining your local gym. We don’t believe that the requirements we make of your physical condition are any more restrictive than joining your local gym or fitness centre. This is for your safety as well as the other students'.

Do I need previous experience?

No previous experience of any martial art is required. Our classes are mixed grades from the full spectrum of belt colours so that those with more experience in the system can teach and assist those of lesser experience and beginners.


How long will I need to train to get fit?

The types of fitness used in Nam Pai Chuan range from core strength and flexibility, through to stamina, aerobic fitness and quick-twitch reaction speed. Few people on starting Nam Pai Chuan will possess all these attributes to the required level, and so there are quick gains to be made. Most students report feeling the benefits of training in the first few weeks and almost definitely feel better after a few months of training.

How long before I’ll be able to defend myself?

No martial art will make you invincible. Whilst you will start to accumulate a useful catalogue of self-defence techniques from your very first lesson, the real issue is how long it takes for these techniques to become instinctive. Only with hard work and constant practice will you succeed in this. The heightened instincts and self-confidence our students gain through Nam Pai Chuan practice means they become more aware of potential aggressive situations and recognise the wisdom in avoiding a situation without feeling the need to prove themselves in any macho way.

What is the best martial art?

There can be no objective measure of what is meant by “best”; one may as well ask what is the best religion or piece of music. The best martial art for you is the one you enjoy practicing the most, with fellow students and instructors you can identify with and learn from, and which equips you with the skills and insights you most want to gain. While Nam Pai Chuan appeals to a wide range of people, and we encourage you to try our classes, we cannot claim it will be the one that works best for you. If in doubt keep an open mind and try a few different styles. For this reason, we offer the first lesson to anyone who wishes to give us a try. So why not start by coming to one of our classes?



Do I need safety gear?

We highly recommend as a minimum a groin guard for male students and a chest guard for female students. Those are required to spar for a grading will require the following additional protective equipment: head guard, gum shield, shin and instep padding, and a pair of 10-oz gloves. Light torso armour will be provided at the training centre.

Will I get hurt?

Safety comes first at all times. All our black belts hold current first aid certifications. Whilst we cannot guarantee you will never get hurt, we are proud of our history that we have suffered few injuries since Nam Pai Chuan started in Europe in the late 1970s.

How does your grading system work?

One of the major differences between Nam Pai Chuan and the monastic style of practice followed by previous generations is the existence of a standardised syllabus and system of coloured belts. We hold grading examinations every three months. However, entrance to the grading is not automatic; it is based on whether or not the student has reached the necessary standard to pass. Students are required to demonstrate the basic movements, postures, forms, and paired combination techniques of our style for each grading.

New students are white belts from the day they start training, and there are eight coloured belt grades passing though two levels of each: yellow, green, blue and brown belt.

Consistent hard work, and demonstration of an appropriate level-headedness and maturity, may lead to students being put forward for their first degree black belt examination. They must also have held their second brown grade for a suitable period of time.

How long will it take me to get a black belt?

It is possible to gain a black belt in as little as three or four years of extremely dedicated training, though we are against pursuing a black belt grade purely for its own sake. After training in Nam Pai Chuan for a year or two, most students have the maturity to understand that holding a black belt is just the start of learning the art at a higher level. We have grading examinations to higher degrees of black belt (known as “dan” grades in the Japanese and Korean martial arts, “duin” grades in Nam Pai Chuan), and our black belt degrees correspond directly to these other martial arts in the level of rigour and understanding demanded of the black belt holder.

How regularly should I attend?

We ask that students try to attend a class at least once per week. This is not a strict requirement as every individual has different priorities. We feel that regular attendance not only helps maintain a suitable fitness level, but it also puts you in a position where you may be eligible to grade for a higher belt colour.