London kung fu students to compete at prestigious China tournament

Young students training at Loong Fu Chinese Martial Arts school, Dalston

Young students training at Loong Fu Chinese Martial Arts school, Dalston - Credit: Archant

A team of north-east London kung fu students have the chance to represent their country later this month at a prestigious invitational tournament in China.

The Loong Fu Chinese Martial Arts school, which is headed by Sifu (teacher) Leon Dogan, practise a southern Chinese style called Hung Kuen or Hung Gar, from the Lam ‘family’.

The first ever World Hung Kuen competition, to be held at the Imperial Palace in Foshan during the weekend of November 21-23, unites many of these families and brings together schools from all over Europe, Asia and America.

And the UK will be represented by nine students from the Loong Fu school, who have been based on Shacklewell Lane, Dalston, since starting up earlier this year.

Heather Paxton, who is an instructor at the Loong Fu school, told the Gazette: “This competition is unique – it’s certainly the first of its kind where everyone is brought together from all the different families.

“It will be televised in China, as well as other European and North American countries and it’s a real opportunity for our students to perform on a world stage.

“We have nine students selected to enter the competition, with the youngest 17 and the eldest 40-plus, so it’s a good range.”

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People can start to learn kung fu at any age and the Loong Fu school is testament to that, with around 50 students – young and old, male and female.

Classes at the full-time school take place every evening from Monday to Friday (5pm onwards) and Saturday (10am-3pm) and there are specific sessions for youngsters, as well as a women’s only group run by Paxton.

She added: “People see kung fu in movies, but they may not realise that the characters they see were real people – their descendants, their students, are alive and kicking and trying to continue one of the world’s most renowned systems of martial art.

“When I started I had no idea about the history – I just knew I wanted to learn kung fu. Everyone comes in with their own reasons and it’s ok if you just want to keep fit or learn aspects of self-defence.

“At Loong Fu, our sifu has a unique capability to cater for all.

“But it’s also about preserving the art. They say it takes three years to find a good teacher, but 10 to find a good student – out of 100 kung fu students there might be only a few who go on to teach it.”

For further information about Loong Fu Chinese Martial Arts, call 0777 576 0801 or visit the school’s website at