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Sifu Paul Burkinshaw

Paul first started boxing in 1983, at Newdigate Boys Club in Bedworth. Paul initially trained in boxing for 5 years having several amateur bouts, including representing Warwickshire against London before finishing in 1988. While boxing, Paul started Shaolin Fist Kung-Fu in early 1986. He studied under two teachers, Sifu John Holden and Sifu Jim Nesmith, who unfortunately had to retire due to ill health before Paul obtained his black sash. Paul then went on to obtain his black sash with Sifu John Holden in March 1990.
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. Paul was part of this association until early 1997 when he left to set up his own association focusing exclusively in traditional Kung Fu / Chinese Boxing.
After obtaining his black sash in 1990, Paul needed a new challenge, and so returned to Western boxing at Newdigate and also started Tae Kwon Do. 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 / Chinese Boxing again.
 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 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.
Also in 1997 Paul continued his study of Kung-Fu with his former Sifu, Master John Holden. In February 1998 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.
In 1999 Paul once again entered into major competitions achieving the following results :-
1. 3rd W.K.A British Championships for Chinese forms.
2. 1st BCCMA South East England Championships for Qingda sparring (-85kg)
3. 2nd W.U.M.A English Open Championships for continuous sparring (-80kg)
4. 1st BCCMA U.K National Championships for Qingda sparring (-85kg)
5. 1st W.U.M.A Open National Championships for continuous sparring (-80kg)
6. 1st  W.U.M.A Open National Championships for Chinese forms.
During 1999 Paul became 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 W.U.M.A English Open Championships for Chinese forms.
2. 2nd W.U.M.A English Open Championships for continuous sparring (-80kg)
3. 3rd W.U.M.A U.K. Open Championships for Chinese forms.
4. 1st W.U.M.A U.K. Open championships for continuous sparring (-80kkg)
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 in the Adult Chinese Forms
2)                1st in –80kgs points sparring
3)                1st in the Men’s Team event (with Aaron Marsh, and Martin Scott. Many thanks to Aaron, and Martin who encouraged and trained with Paul enabling him to achieve these results after his accident.)
Also during 2000, one of Paul’s old students, Sarinder Singh got back in touch with him. Sarinder had been studying different forms of wrestling and grappling for many years since he had stopped training with Paul. He wished to share his knowledge and experience with Paul’s to expand this part of the style.
 It was during this period that Paul set up the Kickboxing side of the association. Many of his students wanted to focus more on their fitness and sparring. Therefore Paul used his experiences from western boxing, and the many styles of martial arts to form the Chinese Kickboxing syllabus. These classes started to attract new members to the association and so the Chinese Kickboxing style was born.
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.                                                  
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.
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.
In April 2002 Paul and several students travelled to Beijing, China. While in Beijing they visited the usual tourist attractions around the capital and also went to the Shaolin Temple in Honan province.  Also during this year Paul gained more experience when he invited Andy Davies to conduct a Groundwork and Ju Jitsu seminar for the club.
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.
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.
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.
By January 2005 Paul with the aid of Sarinder Singh and some his instructors had completed organising the syllabus for the Chinese Wrestling. This has enabled the association to open up new Chinese Wrestling classes instead it of being a small part of the Kung Fu or Kickboxing syllabus.
In March 2005 Paul once again travelled to Beijing on a Chinese cultural trip organised by Master Chen Lei with Master John Holden and about thirty students. While in China Paul and the group visited the usual tourist sites as well as training at the Shaolin Temple in Henan province where Paul was awarded his 6th Degree Black Sash. At the B.C.C.M.A U.K National Championships Paul once again retained his title for Qingda sparring.
Also during 2005, Paul expanded the wrestling and grappling syllabus by inviting Master Robert Simpson to conduct several Shuai Chiao seminars. The year was completed with the academy expanding into the refurbished building next door.
At Easter 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, with exchanges of pennants and demonstrations of martial styles. 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 has now retired from competition after 8 years of success.    
In the summer of 2007, Paul was able to realise his dream and have a purpose built martial arts academy. This had taken 10 long years of hard saving for him to finally finance this building for his club and students. This academy offers excellent facilities to all the students of the association.
In October 2007 Paul gained more experience in the grappling when he took the club to a weeks training in Italy at Master Jeff Sawyer’s Metta centre. During this trip, Paul and the students were taught several moves and applications of Jeff’s style of Ju Jitsu.
In May 2008 the Technical Committee of the Amateur Martial Association (AMA) awarded Paul his 7th Degree Black Sash.

In 2009 Paul handed over the running of the MMA / Wrestling & Grappling classes to Lee Walford.