What is the History of the Nam Yang Martial Arts Association?

Nam Yang Martial Arts Association was founded in the Geylang district of Singapore in 1954 by legendary Shaolin Master Ang Lian Huat who left China as the Communist army approached. The Communists suppressed traditional Chinese practices such as Shaolin Kung Fu, Chi Kung, Feng Shui, Buddhism and Taoism and Master Ang left in order that the teachings be preserved.

Master Ang was born on the island of Quemoy off the coast of Fukien Province, China. He had learned several of the Fukienese (Hokien) martial arts including:

the Fukienese White Crane Martial Art ('Eng Chun Pei Ho')

the Tiger Art ('Tai Chor')

the Monkey Art

the Shaolin weapons systems

the Sun and Frost White Crane Soft Art ('Shuang Yang Pei Ho Rou Roen Chien')

He also learned Chi Kung (Qigong) and external medicine.

Master Ang continued to practice the arts which he had learned in China until his passing in 1984. It was these arts which he passed to his students after founding the association. He most favoured the White Crane Art, teaching a form which was combined with the strength of the Tiger Art, to which he referred to as the 'Tiger-Crane Combination'.

Nam Yang Martial Arts is now led by Master Tan Soh Tin of Singapore, disciple, student and heir of the Shaolin Martial Arts lineage held by Master Ang. Nam Yang Martial Arts teaches only the original, time-tested martial arts skills. Nam Yang Martial Arts teaches all people equally, black, white, female, male irrespective of religion. When you join Nam Yang Martial Arts you become part of an international martial arts family who respect and look after each other.

Master Tan has devoted his life to studying the Chinese Martial Arts, but has also received a formal education and traveled widely. It was he who first opened the association's doors to non-Chinese students, recognizing that interest in Chinese martial arts was growing throughout the world and also that there was a lack of qualified masters.

Master Tan now devotes all of his time to furthering the association and regularly travels abroad to allow others to benefit from his great experience and depth of knowledge in the Chinese Martial Arts.

Since the late 1970's the association has been teaching in the UK. On the 8th August 1994, a meeting of the association's full committee recognized the U.K. branch as the association's first official overseas branch. The draught constitution by Master Tan, was accepted.

Master Iain Armstrong, senior student of Master Tan, leads the UK branch which is dedicated to continuing the traditions, teachings, philosophy and spirit of the association. For these purposes it regularly hosts seminars, workshops and organises trips to Singapore to enable its members to train at the association's headquarters.

Master Iain Armstrong is one of Europe's foremost authorities on Chinese martial arts. He has trained constantly for over 20 years and is a personal student of the Shaolin lineage Master, Master Tan Soh Tin of Singapore. He is a columnist for Combat magazine and appears regularly in international demonstrations in Europe and Asia. The 1993 and 2004 World Champion also possesses a host of other qualifications from an international judges license to the more practical distinction of having survived as a doorman on the London nightclub scene without ever sustaining an injury!

Master Iain Armstrong is also Britain's foremost instructor in the Shaolin art of Iron Shirt Chi Kung under the tutelage of Master Tan Eng Hock. The ability to harness 'chi' energy in order to reinforce and protect the body is what allows Master Iain Armstrong to perform the feats which he is most famous for such as washing his face in broken glass, rubbing red hot chains and bending spears with his neck.

In April 1995 Master Tan and Ivan Lee visited the U.K. for five weeks, delivered seminars and set up the U.K. Lion Dance troupe. Two golden lions and a set of instruments were donated from Singapore and the eyes of the lions were dotted at Banstead with most of the U.K. members present.

1998 saw the opening of the club's UK headquarters in Alexandra Park, Epsom. The buildings open onto the park which provides an idyllic location to practice and promote the many benefits of Traditional Martial Arts.

The Nam Yang Martial Arts Association expects students to train hard and to a high standard, and also to prove their character before they are authorised to teach. This policy ensures that the martial arts are passed down in their full and traditional form without dilution or the loss of their true spirit. It is a credit to the diligence and attitude of our students that we have now grown to have branches around the South of England with very many active members - a major contributor to Chinese Martial Arts in the UK today.

The UK branch is proud to state that we are recognised by the British Council for Chinese Martial Arts (BCCMA). Instructors and students regularly attend BCCMA events.

We are currently a major force in Traditional Shaolin Forms competition in the UK, and field an increasingly impressive Chinese Boxing team. In addition our Lion and Dragon dance teams provide auspicious dances not only around the country, but also internationally, so sought after is the calibre of our performance. We compete nationally and internationally and dance annually in London's Chinatown to usher in the Chinese New Year.

Nam Yang Pugilistic Association continues to go from strength to strength. We hope you'll join us and be part of our bright future!