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Andrew Shenton

The early years of Andrew’s life were dominated by chronic asthma that caused frequent hospitalisation and prevented outdoor activity. Andrew’s parents took him to his first martial arts class at age 8, a local karate club, in the hope indoor exercise would alleviate their son’s condition. Andrew studied Shotokan Karate for the next 7 years, transforming a sickly child into a fit teenager.


Intensely curious of other martial art styles, at 15 Andrew ceased studying Karate and shortly afterwards began Small Circle Jiu-jitsu. The Jiu-jitsu club had no fixed ranks and no uniform and a core firmly grounded in the real world application of martial technique. Training this way gave Andrew his first appreciation of the variety of martial arts styles and balance required between rules and flexibility in the application of technique.


Whilst training several times a week in Small Circle Jiu-jitsu, Andrew also took over the operation of the College martial arts club, a mixed styles club for students who wanted to train in martial arts between classes. With fellow students training in Freestyle, Karate, Boxing, Jiu-Jitsu, Aikido, Tae Kwon Do, Ninjitsu and many more the sparring experience alone was always a learning experience. Andrew’s first taste of Chinese martial arts came at the College club when a Hung Gar practitioner repeatedly introduced him to the ground using an astonishingly well-executed sweep technique.


At 18 Andrew reluctantly left both clubs to begin his University studies in Leeds. Whilst at University Andrew continued his Jiu-jitsu training at the University traditional Samurai Jiu-jitsu club, whilst dabbling in Aikido and Iaido.


Having achieved his degree Andrew moved to the Midlands to begin his first job. Living in a remote part of the countryside and unable to drive Andrew was unable to continue studying martial arts for the first time in his adult life. After two years absent from any training, early in 2003 a move to a new location in Bedworth and drivers licence offered Andrew the opportunity to train again. Resolving to close the gap in his understanding of Chinese martial arts Andrew searched for a Kung-Fu club.


Looking far and wide over the Midlands, Andrew came across a highly regarded Kung Fu Instructor who, by chance, held private lessons in his local area. Sifu Paul Burkinshaw had also studied other styles of martial arts and was aware how difficult the transition from other styles could be. He coached Andrew through learning the most simple ‘soft’ style techniques that were extremely difficult to reconcile with his Japanese foundations. Andrew loved the variety offered by Sifu Burkinshaw, which allowed him to improve his weaknesses as well as train his strengths. Andrew continued his private lessons and began to train in normal classes several times a week, making rapid but hard fought progress as he continued to break old habits from other styles.

Over the next few years Andrew embraced all aspects of kung-fu training. Andrew has attended most seminars available to Sil Lum Kune students including training in traditional Shaolin weapons from Nam Yang Pugilistic Association Chief Instructor Ian Armstrong and both Chi Gong and weapons training from Master Chen Lei.

Andrew also completed all Sil Lum Kune instructors’ requirements including completing BCCMA Level 2 Coaching, BCCMA Qingda Sparring Judge and basic first aid.  In early 2005 Andrew enthusiastically accepted Sifu Burkinshaw's offer to become an Inner Chamber Disciple. While on a club trip to China in 2005 Andrew was able to fulfil a lifelong ambition and train at the Shaolin Temple in Honan Province as well as experiencing many of the styles and culture available in China.

Andrew wholeheartedly supported Sifu Burkinshaw's decision to bring Sil Lum Kune back to it's Hark Fu Mun roots and has trained diligently to adapt and progress his skill in these foundations. After a full day of punishing grading on 28th January 2007 Andrew achieved his Black Sash in the style of Sil Lum Hark Fu Mun, (Shaolin Black Tiger). Another long day ensued on August 2008 during which Andrew attained his 1st Degree Black Sash in Sil
Lum Hark Fu Mun.

In late 2007, Sifu Paul Burkinshaw had been approached by Sifu’s James Bedford-Stradling and Peter Smith who trained under Master Bob Johnson's studying his White Tiger system to interview him regarding a book they were writing about Bob Johnson. After the interview, Sifu Burkinshaw asked if they would be interested in teaching our  instructors the elements of this system that differed from there Black Tiger style, and so in early 2008 Andrew and the other club instructors embarked on extending their skills under their tuition.