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Sifu Paul Burkinshaw Hong Kong Visit 2001

Paul first started boxing in 1983 at Newdigate Boys Club in Bedworth. During his boxing career Paul had several amateur bouts, including representing Warwickshire against London before finishing in 1988.

Sifu Paul Burkinshaw (2nd From Left) With Members Of Newdigate Boxing Club
Andrew Lenard, Paul Burkinshaw, Terry Croft & Furgusson Grant


While boxing, Paul started Shaolin Fist Kung-Fu in June 1986. He studied under two teachers, Sifu John Holden and Sifu Jim Nesmith. Unfortunately Jim had to retire due to arthritis in 1989. Paul then went on to obtain his black sash with Sifu John Holden in March 1990.


Master John Holden, Sifu Jim Nesmith And Sifu Paul Burkinshaw

During 1987 Paul also studied Shotokan karate, but gave it up by the end of the year after obtaining the first four grades in that style.


In 1989 Paul was also involved in the formation of Dave Porters Shaolin Freestyle with Asa Darlison. He obtained his 1st Dan in February 1990, and 2nd Dan in May 1994 in this style.


Sifu Dave Porter, Sifu Paul Burkinshaw, Barry Smith and Sifu Asa Darlison


Paul was part of this association until early 1997 when he left to set up his own association focusing exclusively in traditional Kung Fu. After obtaining his black sash in 1990, Paul needed a new challenge, and so started Tae Kwon Do as well. He studied this until 1992 with Mr Dave Oliver, when family commitments forced him to stop. From 1987 until 1992 Paul had been training seven times a week in either Kung-Fu, karate, boxing, or Tae Kwon Do. He resumed Tae Kwon Do in late 1995, and obtained his 1st Dan in April 1997 from Master Frank Murphy. Once achieving this grade, Paul finished Tae Kwon Do, so as to concentrate on Kung-Fu again.





Sifu Paul Burkinshaw representing Newdigate at the Newdigate Working Mens Club in Bedworth


In 1990 Paul resumed Boxing returning to Newdigate Boys club. After two years of intense training and several boxing matches later Paul once again retired from boxing to focus on Kung Fu.

During the period between 1986 to 1993, Paul entered many competitions for either sparring, open hand forms or weapons and won many first, second and third place prizes in local and regional competitions.

In 1994, Paul retired from competitions so that he could concentrate on teaching, and opened his first club in Coventry. Paul believed there was still much to learn from Kung-Fu, and became interested in traditional styles, travelling around the country researching different styles of Shaolin Kung-Fu. In 1997, while researching into traditional Kung-Fu, Paul was invited to study Northern Praying Mantis on an advanced instructor's course. Paul's teacher in Praying Mantis was Sifu Derek Frearson, who is the chief instructor of this style in Britain. Paul was given permission to teach Seven Star Praying Mantis in 1998.

During this period Paul also met and trained with Iain Armstrong of the Nam Yang Pugilistic Association. Iain has kindly helped Paul with the finer points of the art over the years, and his group has been instrumental in the training and development of Lion Dance within Sil Lum Kune. Also in 1997 Paul continued his study of Kung-Fu with his former Sifu, Master John Holden.

In February 1997 Paul left Shaolin Freestyle and formed ' Sil Lum Kune '. This system incorporated part of the Shaolin Fist system, plus other aspects of traditional Shaolin Kung-Fu that Paul had studied after many years in the art. Shortly after Master John Holden’s group merged with Paul’s Sil Lum Kune. Paul still used the Shaolin Fist Chinese Boxing Association (S.F.C.B.A.) name for his multi style association as a sign of respect.

Sifu Paul Burkinshaw Performing Thumb Press Up

In 1999 Paul once again entered into major competitions achieving the following results :-

1. 3rd place W.K.A British Championships for Chinese forms.
2. 1st place South East England Kung Fu Championships for Qingda sparring (under 85kg)
3. 2nd place W.U.M.A English Open Championships for continuous sparring (under 80kg)
4. 1st place U.K National Kung Fu Championships for Qingda sparring (under 85kg)
5. 1st place W.U.M.A Open National Championships for continuous sparring (under 80kg)
6. 1st place W.U.M.A Open National Championships for Chinese forms.

During 1999 Paul qualified as a referee and judge with the B.C.C.M.A. officiating at both the U.K National Championships, and the Junior British Championships.  Also in 1999 Paul continued his quest for Kung-Fu when he began to study Wing-Chun as a private (closed door) student of Sifu Duncan Osborne. During this same year Paul also achieved his 3rd Degree Black Sash after a gruelling five hour grading from Master John Holden.

Paul started off 2000 with continued success in competitions with the following results :-

1. 1st place W.U.M.A English Open Championships for Chinese forms.
2. 2nd place W.U.M.A English Open Championships for continuous sparring (under 80kg)
3. 3rd place W.U.M.A U.K. Open Championships for Chinese forms.
4. 1st place W.U.M.A U.K. Open championships for continuous sparring (under 80kg)


Sifu Paul Burkinshaw Taking First Place At WUMA United Kingdom Open Championships February 2000

Then on 2nd March 2000 Paul was involved in a near fatal car accident when his car was hit by an articulated lorry. This accident kept him in hospital for two months, and then a further three months of physio were needed to enable Paul to regain his full mobility. Paul also used form practice and chi kung exercises to aid his recovery. Doctors informed Paul that the injuries he sustained in the accident should have killed him, and that his survival was down to his excellent health and fitness, as well as swift and expert medical treatment. Paul has since made a full recovery competing in major competitions, receiving an award from the W.U.M.A organisation for his dedication.

Paul rounded off 2000 by achieving a 2nd Place in the W.U.M.A World Championships in Sicily for Chinese forms in November, and then in December Paul also competed in the W.U.M.A British Championships achieving :-

1) 1st Place in the Adult Chinese Forms
2) 1st Place in –80kgs points sparring
3) 1st Place in the Men’s Team event (with Aaron Marsh, and Martin Scott. Many thanks toAaron, and Martin who encouraged and trained with Paul enabling him to achieve these results after his accident.)

(See News Articles 2000 - World Open & British Open)


In March 2001 Master John Holden and Paul went to Hong Kong. Paul trained at the Chin Woo branch in Nathan Road studying Lohan style. At the end of Paul’s training he was awarded his 4th Degree Black Sash by Master John Holden in Hong Kong.

(See News Articles 2001 - Hong Kong Trip)

Paul has continued to develop within the B.C.C.M.A gaining more experience at events and courses. In recognition of this, Paul was voted onto the Executive committee of the B.C.C.M.A in June 2001 by the Head’s of associations.


Sifu Paul Burkinshaw Accepting An Award For His Achievements In Martial Arts

In October 2001 Paul was invited to the Combat Hall of Fame awards held in Birmingham, which he attended with Sifu John Holden, and several close students / friends. At this ceremony, Paul was awarded a place in the Hall of Fame for his achievements within martial arts.

(See News Articles 2001 - Combat Hall of Fame)


In April 2002 Paul and several students travelled to Beijing, China. Paul and the group studied Wu Shu for three weeks at the Capital College of Physical Education. While in Beijing they visited the usual tourist attractions around the capital and also went to the Shaolin Temple in Honan province.

(See News Articles 2002 - China Trip)


In June 2002 Paul was asked to represent England in an international competition by the B.C.C.M.A. Paul achieved a Bronze medal in the Traditional Southern Open Hand Forms category and took the Gold medal in the –85kgs Qingda sparring category. Paul was able to continue this success in September at the B.C.C.M.A U.K National Championships where he won a Bronze medal in the Traditional Long Weapons, a Silver medal in the Traditional Southern Open Hand Forms and a Gold medal in the –85kgs Qingda sparring category.

(See News Articles 2002 - BCCMA International)

In December 2002 Paul was able to open a Martial Arts Academy in Bedworth. This has been a benefit to the association, having a full time office, a place to conduct one to one training, and a more traditional environment to tutor the higher grades in the more specialised arts.



Sifu Paul Burkinshaw 2003, outside first academy (53 Mill Street, Bedworth)

(See News Articles 2003 - Opening of Academy)


In 2003 Paul has focused on developing and expanding Sil Lum Kune: Shaolin Fist Chinese Boxing Association with several of his assistant instructors opening up many new classes, and developing our weapons and Chinese Wrestling syllabus. At the 2003 B.C.C.M.A U.K National championships Paul once again won a gold medal for Qingda sparring. Later that year Paul was again awarded a place in the Combat Hall of Fame for his Commitment and Development of Martial Arts.


During the period 2002 to 2004 Paul had also been training with his Sifu, Master John Holden behind closed doors, which resulted in Paul being awarded his 5th Degree Black Sash from Master John Holden in March 2004. Later during 2004 Paul retained his title at the B.C.C.M.A U.K National Championships for Qingda Sparring.

The Sil Lum Kune system has continued to evolve and develop, Sifu Paul Burkinshaw and Sarinder Singh have compiled their experience and knowledge of the traditional wrestling to form it's own syllabus. With the aid of David Richardson and Jamie Prendeville, Chinese Wrestling now has its own classes allowing the expansion of the groundwork and grappling elements of the system.



(See News Articles 2005 - China Trip)

The Association was given a further boost in 2005 when the Martial Arts Academy was expanded and refurdished giving it a more traditional look.

At the B.C.C.M.A U.K National Championships Paul once again won his category for Qingda sparring again making him UK National champion.

Paul Burkinshaw became Head Coach of the Sil Lum Kune Association in 1997.  Paul had only ever been told vague details of the styles origins, which was of a traditional Tiger style taught by a Master Wong in Hong Kong.In 2006, due to new rules introduced by the UK's Chinese Martial Arts governing body, the BCCMA.  All traditional UK associations had to provide details of their historic lineages. Paul visited several retired instructors to find out if they had any additional information.

After lengthy research, Paul was led to the name of a Master Wong Cheung. Previous instructors of Sil Lum Kune had broken all links with Hong Kong and had chosen to operate independently in the UK. Paul re-established links with the original Hark Fu Mun (Black Tiger) association in Hong Kong and the U.S.A. Following further research and discussions with Hark Fu Mun instructors around the world, Paul and his instructors focused on rebuilding and expanding the Black Tiger aspects of the style under his Si Hing (Elder) Eric Tsai of Hong Kong and Jerry Davis of the U.S.A. This process consisted of continual instruction, travelling to Hong Kong to studying under Si Hing Eric Tsai.

(See News Articles 2006 - Our Roots / Meeting Our Family / Path To Black Tiger)

In April of 2006, Paul organised a Shaolin Temple tour of China for the club. This trip included the temples at Putian, Quanzhou, Emei, Wudang, Hua Shan and Shaolin at Henan. At several of these temples Paul and his group were met by the abbots and their representatives including exchanges of pennants and demonstrations of martial styles.
(See News Atricles 2006 - Shaolin Temple Tour)

In August 2006 Paul competed in the 9th Chin Woo World championships with a squad from his club. Paul achieved Bronze medals in Traditional Southern Open-hand forms and Twin Weapons and a Gold medal for Qingda sparring making him World Champion. Paul decided that this was a fitting end to his competitive career and so retired from competition after 8 years of continued success.


(See News Articles 2006 - Chin Woo World Championships)

In December 2006 Paul and his instructors re-organised the Kung Fu syllabus incorporating the Black Tiger forms and techniques. The club was also renamed back to its original title of Siu Lum Hak Fu Mun (Shaolin Black Tiger).

In 2007 Paul has focused his energies on building a larger new academy on the land at the rear of the existing academy. Due to the requirements of the local planning authority, the design of this building had to be drastically changed costing alot more money. This expense was then further inflated with all the new building regulations that have been passed over the last year or so.

(see news articles 2007 - New Training Hall)

In November 2007, Paul travelled to El Paso, Texas, USA with Robert Buckler to meet and train with elder Hak Fu Mun brothers (Jerry Davis & his Sifu Eric Wu).
  15 16
          Paul & Eric Wu                                        Robert Buckler, Jerry Davis & Paul
(See News Articles 2007 - Training In El Paso)

In late 2007, Paul was contacted by two of Master Bob Johnson's former students who were doing research on their old Sifu in order to write a book. Paul was then interviewed by Si-Gung Jim Bedford-Stradling & Si-Bok Pete Smith from the White Tiger style of Bob Johnson. During this meeting both sides demonstrated aspects of their Tiger styles. Paul was impressed with the effective and powerful self-defence moves that Bob Johnson had used to formulate his style. As these were Tiger applictions taught by Grandmaster Wong Cheung that Bob Johnson had used, it made sense to Paul to learn these techniques. Therefore from January 2008 until until January 2012, Paul has been training with  Si-Gung Jim Bedford-Stradling & Si-Bok Pete Smith, learning and incorporating these self-defence applications of the White Tiger style into Hark Fu Mun.

(See News Articles 2009- White Tiger Training / White Tiger Introduction)

In December 2009 Paul was awarded his instructor grade in White Tiger by Si-Gung Jim Bedford-Stradling & Si-Bok Pete.

In September 2011, Paul came out of retirement to compete in the BCCMA British Qingda championships. Paul wanted to see if after the many years of coaching his students to great success, if he still was able to practice what he preached. Due to a lack of entries in the middle-weight category, Paul was forced to enter the heavy-weight category which he won to become the 2011 BCCMA British Qingda Champion in the veterans heavy-weight section.


(See News Articles 2011 - Sil Lum Kune at British Championships)

In December 2011 Paul was awarded a trophy from his students for 25 years service and dedication to martial arts.  (See News Articles 2011 - 25th Anniversary)

In January 2012, Jim and Pete stated that they had completed their instruction with Paul and that due to other commitments they were unable to continue travelling to Bedworth. Paul felt that he still needed to work on improving his skills and abilities and so contacted Gordon Hooke. At various meetings and seminars that Paul had had with Gordon in 2011, he had told Paul that he was always welcome to come and train at his club in Wigston, Leicester. Therefore from January 2012, Paul accepted Gordon’s kind offer and started to train with him on a regular weekly basis continuing his education in White Tiger under Gordon's tutelage with Master Pete Thorn also offering guidance. 

From 2011 to 2012, Paul has also spent much of his time researching Grandmaster Bob Johnson. All this research has resulted in Paul writing a detailed biography Of Bob Johnson which he has been able to print in the format of a book. Paul released this book title, Way of the White Tiger, The Bob Johnson Story in September 2012.

(See News Articles 2012 - Way of the White Tiger)

During this research Paul also compiled information on Tom Carey and the developement of the clubs in the Coventry, Nuneaton and Bedworth area which will be the focus on his second book that he is currently working on.

Since Eric Tsai had moved to Sydney, Australia, he and Paul had continued to work together to promote and build up Hak Fu Mun in their respective countries. In mid 2012, Eric decided to stop teaching publicly taking a back seat regarding Hak Fu Mun. In December 2012, Eric awarded Paul the grade of 8th Degree for his dedication and promotion of Hak Fu Mun within the U.K.

In January 2013, Paul was able to establish new links with the Siu Lum Hak Fu Mun Wong Cheung Martial Arts Association in Hong Kong with the aid of his student, Robert Buckler. After much communication via email, Paul and Robert were invited to attend Grandmaster Wong Cheung’s commemorative dinner in Hong Kong, organised by this association in March 2013. While there they were there they were shown several sites connected to the history of the club and trained most days continuing their education in Hak Fu Mun.

(See News Articles 2013 - Wong Cheung Annual Dinner)

 In the following month of April, Alan managed to spend four days at Paul's academy while on a buisness trip to the UK. Much of this time was spent sharing there experiences of Hak Fu Mun forms, weapons and Lion Dance.

(See News Articles 2013 - Alan Low's Visit to UK / Hark Fu Mun Lion Dance)

In March 2014, Paul travelled to Hong Kong once again to attend the annual dinner for Grand Master Wong Cheung with students Beverly Johnson, Paul Hickman and Brandon Hickman.



(See News Articles 2014 - Wong Cheung Annual Dinner / Hong Kong Visit)

Paul returned to Hong Kong in October 2014 to continue his education in Hak Fu Mun and to also perform the Bai Si ceremony under Alan Low (Low Shiu Lun). In April 2015, Paul returned with a group of his students which included his children. (Charlotte Burkinshaw, Cameron Burkinshaw, Callum Burkinshaw, & students Paul Cowley, Sean Krauth, Marius Dunkley, Andrew Docker & Daniel Nghiem.)