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Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat

Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat is a residential martial arts training, offering Kung Fu for combat and self-defense and Qigong and meditation for health.

Training Camps 20

Instructors 8

Master Iain Armstrong

Master Iain is a Kung Fu philosopher and author with 36 years of living Kung Fu. Trained personally by Grand Master Tan Soh Tin in Singapore, he’s a two-time world champion and veteran of real street battles. Famous for his high-quality Kung Fu teaching, his instructional films and magazine articles, and for his demonstrations of Iron Shirt Qigong, Master Iain is a mine of information but retains a very practical, down to earth, and realistic approach. Most people who meet him are struck by his air of calm, patience, and wisdom.


Marion is very serious about her martial arts. She has experience in BJJ, Muay Thai, kickboxing, but found her true passion in Shaolin Kung Fu. Marion loves sharing her kung fu with her students who find her very thorough, attentive and methodical. Marion is interested in applying her kung fu skills in competition fighting; She is one of our San Da (Chinese boxing) teachers and is a competitive Thai boxer. She is also a certified yoga teacher and horse riding instructor. Hailing from Switzerland she speaks French and German as well as English. Marion is based full time at the Kung fu Retreat


Dave's initial success in Kung Fu drew from his experience as a karate teacher and a strong determination to constantly work hard to improve. He has a background in personal training and specializes in strength against body exercises. Dave became attracted to the Kung Fu Retreat as he wanted to get away from modern commercial martial arts and commit his life to the study of genuine Kung Fu. He further wants to explore the spiritual aspects of traditional Chinese martial arts and its associated culture. Dave is based full time at the Kung Fu Retreat.


A highly dedicated martial artist who excels in a wide range of skills, Jan is the most senior of the instructors. A fast learner and 'Kung Fu natural' he knows very many routines and is always learning more. He has a wealth of training and experience with the Nam Yang family and serves as a great example of the Kung Fu spirit and ethics. He recently decided to leave Europe and fully dedicate himself to training and teaching Kung Fu. If you ever get overwhelmed with learning new moves and routines, Jan will always be happy to assist you. Jan is based permanently at the Kung Fu Retreat.


Craig is a very easy going, popular teacher who can make complex movements seem easy. He is naturally very athletic and keeps up a high level of physical fitness. He has a flair for weapons training and teaches our weapons classes twice a week. He is also interested in San Da (Chinese boxing). He has a deep wish to focus properly on learning and understanding our arts and likes living in the mountains and forests of Northern Thailand with its mix of cultures and ethnicities. Craig is usually present from September to April.


Lena is an experienced teacher with a patient approach. Lena teaches at the Kung Fu Retreat during the winter months and teaches outdoor survival skills in England during the summer. She has been interested developing a self-defence class for women so that those who perceive themselves as vulnerable feel safe. Lena is very approachable and has a good sense humour, which adds to the environment we have created here at Nam Yang of a family-friendly feel. Coming from Austria Lena speaks German, English and, as a result of five years spent in Africa, Swahili!


Lefa is a very dedicated kung fu student and also studies meditation and spiritual development. Along with Freya, he leads our meditation training. He is a calm and understanding teacher and takes his role very seriously. Lefa sees Kung Fu as not only a martial art but a way of living and believes it can be applied to every aspect of life. Lefa speaks German and English. He lived in both Germany and South Africa, it was in South Africa where he trained in Northern style Kung fu before joining the Kung Fu Retreat.


Freya is the most recent addition to our teaching team. She is highly focused and learns very fast. Along with Lefa, she leads our meditation program. Students think that she has a great voice and a great manor for meditation teaching. Freya enjoys pushing and sticking hands as she believes through it you can develop people to become more intuitive, confident and relaxed. Freya is English and comes from a very rural part of England so she feels right at home amongst the mountains and fields surrounding Nam Yang.

Reviews 8

Nelson Hernandez

from United States, November 2017

"Nam yang Kung fu "

Location and instruction


from Germany, March 2018

"Low budget way of life"

People were skilled and friendly.

Natália Costa

from Thailand, February 2018

"Life Changing Experience that everybody should do!"

Nam Yang is located in a harmonious place that fills you with its peaceful glow. This truly is a life sanctuary that will replenish you with a magical vibration attuned to all living things! Pai is a delicious small town with a powerful vibe.

I met wonderful people with whom I had a great time and I feel truly grateful for the unexpected bounds I made at the Retreat!

I can truly say that I met real life heroes at the Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat! I feel truly grateful for this life changing experience.

I can say that one week is not nearly enough to experience this proverbial temple for the body and the soul that is Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat. If you have the chance make sure you go for a month – or at the very least – two weeks to give yourself a life changing experience. I guess the most important lesson that I’ve learned at Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat – and particularly with Master Iain – is to learn to be my own hero. My gratitude is beyond words!

Kung Fu is creating beauty in an inspiring way and empowering people to be connected with their own inner force!

Tamas Varga

from Hungary, January 2018

"Amazing place beautiful people, quality training"

Well i just had an amazing time there the ppl where super nice and the training is high quality i would recommend it to anyone.

Testimonials 5

Zander S

TripAdvisor website

We were only able to join Nam Yang for 2 days, and it was 100% worth it. The classes were well-taught, we received personalized attention from all of the instructors, and learned an incredible amount in just two days. If you able to join for at least a week, I would highly recommend doing so, but even a day or two will forever change your perspective on kung fu, martial arts, and the way the human body moves. Thanks you to all of our instructors!

Richard Outhwaite Singapore

TripAdvisor website

We randomly decided to spend a few days at Nam Yang retreat, having had no previous martial arts experience.

The classes were excellent, a nice mix of physical training, fighting and weapon techniques with some chi gong, stretching and meditation. The classes were suitable for people of all fitness levels and martial arts experience.

Food is delicious and very healthy, a lot of it grown on the retreat too.

Having never seen any Kung Fu in real life, Master Ian is truly inspiring. Amazing technique, flexibility and all round wise Zen master!

We booked to come back and spend at least 2 weeks here after. Something different that you won't regret!

a traveler Australia

TripAdvisor website

I had no martial arts experience and stayed at Nam Yang for 2 weeks in February 2017. I had a private room which was basic yet comfortable and the food was extremely nutritious, low fat and filling with a clear display of freshness and taste.

I am 41 years old, overweight and have not been overly active for the past 10 years as my employment has become more managerial as apposed to physical aswell as wrong diet and lifestyle choices.

Throughout the 2 weeks I felt more energetic, flexible, stronger both physically and mentally as each day went by. Over the 2 weeks I lost 7kgs and gained muscle and flexibility.

The training was interesting and could be as demanding as each individual could handle fitness wise. In saying this I would recommend Nam Yang to anybody regardless of physical ability or age to be of benefit to both body and mind.

The instructors were at different levels but all we're professional and displayed 100% dedication, patience and skill in their delivery of all lessons, training and knowledge to all students.

Overall Nam Yang is a professional outfit and is a true credit to Master Ian for his knowledge, motivation, training procedures and the foresight for setting up Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat in such a beautiful and appropriate location.

The only mistake I made was not staying longer, but plan on returning sooner rather than later as the experiences I received there we're both memorable and life changing.

Fernando Barata Russo

Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat Facebook page

My wife and I spent almost a month at the retreat. An amazing experience. Highly recommended even if you are a complete beginner like us.

John-Michael Sookias UK

Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat Facebook page

There was a time when Thailand would spring to mind adventure and spiritual discovery. Now, you’re more likely to be flooded with images of 18 year olds face down in their own sick at a full moon party or sunburned families taking full glutinous value out of their all inclusive packages in their beach front resort. Sadly, the mystery of the raw Thai islands are long gone. Don’t fret, what the South of Thailand lacks, the North of Thailand makes up in abundance. So where does one head when in search of said spiritual discover and adventure? Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat in Pai.

When we were searching for an escape from the relentless pace of professional life in London we were attracted to the selling points of the retreat; stay in bamboo huts on a hilltop retreat in the middle of jungle mountain town, eat homemade Thai food all day, clear the head with some meditation and kung fu, then go explore the obscene amount of waterfalls and jungle trails nearby. Sold.

Nam Yang was everything we wanted. In fact, it actually caters for anyone looking to get some rest or detox all the way to aspiring Kung Fu masters. We met people stay for a week and some that had been there for 6 months. We could have stayed that long too if we didn’t have life calling us back. You wake up at the crack of dawn with Qi Gung/Thai Chi and meditation overlooking the rolling hills of Northen Thailand. After a tea break you crack on with a bit of kung fu before breakfast is ready made by the lovely thai cooks. After a little break you get back down to the practice area for some more kung fu, sparring and even some weapons training. On some days they might squeeze in a third session. Doing this all day everyday apart from Saturday and Wednesday gets you feeling something. You feel a whole new link between body and mind. It a feeling that doesn’t really come naturally to Westerners. You manage your thoughts better. See things within that you never allowed yourself the time to do. You just generally feel better physically and mentally. Its a holiday that you don’t need a day to recover from when before you get to work. So next time you need a holiday, look for relaxation here instead of the usual booze-fueled rager (although they are fun once in a while).

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