22 Days Qi Gong Instructor Training in Pai, Thailand

  • Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat, 116 M5, T. Mae Na Toeng, Pai, Mae Hong Son 58130, Thailand

22 Days Qi Gong Instructor Training in Pai, Thailand

  • Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat, 116 M5, T. Mae Na Toeng, Pai, Mae Hong Son 58130, Thailand

Qi Gong Instructor Certification Course Thailand

This intensive course will give you the tools that you need to become a teacher of Chinese Chi Kung (Qi Gong) for health. You will learn two full systems of Chi Kung: Tong Ling (clearing and circulating) and Chi Kung for health, well-being, and longevity, including Bodhidharma's Vein Tendon chi kung for strength, resilience, and fascia or joint development. This is a genuine teacher training which includes teaching practice with live classes.


  • Learn about Tong Ling Chi Kung system
  • Practice your teaching skills with teaching live classes
  • Classes on Chi projection and Bohdidarma's Vein Tendon Chi Kung
  • Train with experienced professional teachers, including Master Iain Armstrong
  • Breathtaking location in the forested mountains of North Western Thailand
  • Internationally recognized certification upon completion
  • Daily breakfast and five evening meals per week
  • 21 nights accommodation
  • 15 days with instruction
  • English
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All of the rooms are designed with serious Kung Fu students in mind. Every room has an inspiring mountain view from the front door and a roofed front terrace to sit in the shade and get the benefit of the views and the fresh mountain air. They are within very easy walking distance of the training facilities and the restaurant.

There are two types of room, shared and private rooms. Shared rooms hold two people. They are spacious, have separate bathrooms and toilet or washrooms, and are equipped with fans. They are arranged in two buildings, each with six rooms. The front terrace is two meters deep and serves as a social area where students can relax and chat outside of training time.

The private rooms are designed for single occupancy. These rooms are finished to a high standard with tiled walls and thicker mattresses. Each "house" has two rooms which are completely separate. They are located slightly further away from the center of the retreat, which gives a quieter feel. Nam Yang also supplies communal tea and coffee making facilities and fridges.

The course includes:

  • Tong Ling Chi Kung system
  • Bohdidarma’s Vein Tendon Chi Kung
  • Meditation
  • Chi projection or transmission
  • Stretching and developing the fascia
  • Teaching skills
  • Leadership
  • Personal power and influence

Book, video, and photographs are supplied as part of the course. This course is run by Nam Yang Puglistic Association, founded in Singapore in 1954 by Great Grand Master Ang Lian Huat and dedicated to passing on the real arts of old China. Nam Yang has now become an international community with branches in Thailand, UK, Russia, Italy, and Germany.

Train with experienced professional teachers, including Master Iain Armstrong in relaxed, constructive atmosphere. Leave your ego behind and become part of the community. This course is taught for Westerners. Nam Yang understands what you need. Complex concepts are explained in clear English by experienced teachers. There is no need for translators. Training will be held daily except on Wednesdays and Saturdays, which are rest or activity days.

Sample schedule

  • 06:00 Morning training in Chi Kung, the Frost Sun White Crane internal art, the sum chien (three wars) internal strength routine and meditation. Break halfway through for Chinese tea for questions and answers and a talk on Chinese philosophy and wisdom
  • 09:15 Breakfast
  • 11:00 Midday training, supervised practice time finishing with a meditation session, followed by lunch break
  • 14:30 Teaching, communicating, and leading. Training on how to be a really good teacher
  • 15:30 Physical session. Warm up, then work on stretching and strengthening the fascia
  • 16:30 Technical session. Chi Kung and meditation with detailed feedback from teacher
  • 18:00 Dinner then rest time
  • 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 Chi Kung, 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.

The Nam Yang Mountain Kung Fu Retreat School is designed to be the ultimate martial arts training and meditation venue. It is set on 2.1 acres of land on the side of a mountain spur, bordering the jungle and maintaining awesome views across the Pai river valley to mountains rising steadily to the Himalayas.

In the early morning, when you begin training, the mountains are usually shrouded in mist which gradually clears as the sun rises. The school is built in the local Shan style architecture according to Chinese Feng Shui principles. Thailand is a great country. It is one of the most popular destinations for international travelers. Thailand is close enough to Singapore that their top masters can travel easily.

The North of Thailand has some of the very best chi in the world. It flows down from the Himalayas. This makes for a perfect place to practice chi kung and seriously boosts health and vitality. This was the primary reason for choosing the location of Nam Yang. The Pai valley is an area of incredible natural beauty. High in the mountains, it epitomizes the Kung Fu dream of training in pure, fresh air with awesome views, away from the distractions of modern life and the pollution of modern cities.

It is easy to grow and prepare healthy natural food in the farmland around Pai which allows you to eat the sort of diet supports on your training. Thailand is a fairly economical country in which to operate. It is not the cheapest in the world but is very cheap compared to western countries. The Pai district is popular with tourists because there are so many things to do. You will have two days off each week and have a fairly long break from training in the middle of the day.

A stay at the mountain retreat can be a holiday as well as a training experience. Nam Yang Mountain Retreat is located in the foothills of the mountains overlooking the Pai river valley in the northern part of Mae Hong Son, Thailand’s remote North Western province. Mae Hong Son translates as ‘the land of mist’. It is dominated by fairly high, forested mountains and is sparsely inhabited, mainly by Thailand’s famous hill tribes.

Pai is the main tourist center in Mae Hong Son province and ideally suited to receive and entertain foreigners. It has a population of about 3000 who, at peak times, are heavily outnumbered by tourists. Pai acts as a hub for activities and excursions, such as trekking, elephant riding, caving, ox cart riding, rafting, off road driving or motorcycling, waterfalls, temples, and hill tribes.

The favorite way to get around for most is to rent a small motorcycle for about 80 THB per day. It contains a multitude of bars and restaurants with very reasonable prices. There are many market stalls selling local food and goods, and shops selling any supplies you are really likely to need. As you would expect in Thailand, the town also boasts a number of beautiful Buddhist temples run by monks.

Nearby places

  • Mae Hong Son - 30 minutes
  • Pai to Nam Yang - 15 minutes

Quality food is essential for martial artists in hard training. Nam Yang has their own kitchen garden, herb garden, and fruit trees all of which are entirely organic. They are now partially self-sufficient for fruit and vegetables. What they don’t grow themselves, they choose carefully usually from the local farmers’ market or from people they know well.

The rice is bought from a rather remote hill tribe village in the mountains. By buying rice directly from cash poor ethnic minorities, Nam Yang support their families. Local style food is prepared with an emphasis on the use of beneficial herbs to increase its value. The diet is calculated to best support the Kung Fu training: Nam Yang understands that you are what you eat.

Food prepared on-site is as fresh, organic, and healthy as possible and is usually delicious local Thai or Shan style, or occasionally Chinese or southern Thai style.

Meals start with one or two types of fruit and usually some salad. They then typically serve two main dishes with rice. Most dishes are vegetarian, but they do serve meat. There will always be at least one vegan dish as part of each meal. They also try our best to cater for specialist diets.

Nam Yang supplies breakfast daily and evening meals on training days. Drinking water is supplied free with meals and is available from the kitchen free of charge at any time for resident students. They also serve special tea two to four times a day. Either high quality Chinese tea - something integrally connected with Kung Fu training - or herbal tea for health benefits.

The instructors eat in the dining area, together with the students, which is testimony to the quality of the food and helps provide a good ethos for the school. Meal times are therefore ideal for discussing Kung Fu and asking questions.

Almost any style of food can be purchased in Pai, (Italian, western, middle eastern, Chinese, Indian, and more). The local diet is based mainly around rice, meat, freshwater fish, vegetables, fruit, and spices. However, seafood is relatively expensive in the mountains. Local fruit and vegetables are great, fresh, and very cheap.

Pai is a hub for adventure tourism. Most of the students hire a moped so as to get around and appreciate what the area has to offer. Moped hire is very cheap. Safety first is reccommended when dealing with mopeds. There is a huge range of activities available locally, including:

  • Chinese tea growing communities
  • Elephant camps
  • Exploring caves, with or without guides
  • Nightlife in Pai town
  • Off road motorcycling or driving
  • Rafting, either a serene trip down the Pai river or more adventurous white water rafting
  • Swimming in pools or river
  • Tubing
  • Visiting hill tribe villages
  • Visiting temples
  • Walking
  • Waterfalls
  • Zip lining

There is a masseuse available on call who specializes in traditional Thai massage, herb massage, and oil massage. The cost of the massage is from 200 TBH per hour. Compared to prices in the West, this is ridiculously cheap!

  • 21 nights accommodation
  • All training mentioned in the program
  • Internationally recognized certificate on successful completion of course.
  • Course textbook: "Get your health back FAST with Chinese Chi Kung" by Master Iain Armstrong
  • Daily breakfast and evening meals five days a week
  • Drinking water and teas made with beneficial herbs
  • Use of all facilities including gym and training areas when not being used for teaching
  • Video footage of all of the routines taught as part of this course
  • Additional activities
  • Airfare
  • Airport transfers
  • Goods purchases
  • Insurance
  • Kung Fu gradings
  • Lunches
  • Personal expenses
  • Private tuition

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) or Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX). Arriving at Chiang Mai is much nearer to the Kung Fu Retreat but Bangkok has more flights and is usually cheaper. Once in Bangkok, you can book a dosmetic flight to Chiang Mai.

Arrival by bus

Once in Chiang Mai, take a minibus to Pai. Minibus trip costs about 200 THB and has awesome views. It takes about three and a half hours, most of which is spent on amazing winding roads through mountains. The views are breathtaking and the journey is an adventure. You are recommended to travel during daylight. The most popular minibus provider is AYA service. Their office in Chiang Mai is opposite the train station. Book on to the next available minibus if you have not booked already.

Arrival by train

Once you arrive in Bangkok, you can get an overnight sleeper train from Bangkok’s central station, Hua Lam Phong, for around 1000 THB each way. Booking in advance is recommended. Please be aware that trains in Thailand often run very late. The trains are very comfortable and afford great views of the Thai countryside.

Minibuses run between about 7.30 a.m. and 5.00 p.m; If you arrive in Chiang Mai later than about 3.30 p.m, you are likely to need to either stay overnight in Chiang Mai or get a taxi to the Kung Fu Retreat. If staying overnight, which is the cheapest option, it is recommended that you still go to the AYA service office when you arrive and book a minibus for the next day. Then look for a guesthouse nearby. You should get a nice room with fan for 400 to 500 THB.

Arrival by taxi

Once in Chiang Mai, take the 25-minute flight to Pai. When you first arrive in Pai, the easiest way to get to Kung Fu Retreat is simply to book a taxi. The taxis are a little way up the main street from the AYA service office. A motorcycle is the cheapest taxi and should cost less than 100 Baht. For a minibus or taxi car, it will be 200 to 250 THB. For further information, please kindly to send Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat an inquiry.

  • A reservation requires a deposit of 50% of the total price.
  • The deposit is non-refundable, if the booking is cancelled.
  • The rest of the payment should be paid on arrival.

Verified BookMartialArts.com reviews

  • V
    Review by Victor Laurent from France

    2017-Mar-31 12:24:57

  • Review by Andrew W. from Australia
    8 out of 10

    "Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat in Pai, Thailand, was a fantastic experience. I attended the Retreat for two weeks with the intention of learning more Kung Fu, new meditation practices and 'getting out of the rat race and slowing down'. Did I achieve this at Nam Yang? Yes. Master Iain is very experienced and freely shared his knowledge and understanding of Kung Fu. Whilst Master Iain does not lead all the classes, other trainers or student instructors take most classes. The daily schedule is broken up into training periods: try to have a decent level of fitness if you can before you attend as it an be up to eight hours of training per day. A beginner, or 'unfit' person would manage, but you will get more out of the training with an increased level of fitness. The accommodation is basic (as cited), I would recommend a private room if your budget permits. The meals are mostly vegetarian dishes with rice. If you're a meat eater, or usually consume more protein, consider a supplement or taking in protein powder/bars. Town is a short scooter ride away or twenty minute walk for coffee, beer or an alternative meal. The people I met were from all corners of the globe and truly amazing people. Check out their website and consider calling Master Iain or Dave to discuss your training needs/requirements and go from there."

    BookMartialArts.com website, edited


  • Review by Zander S
    10 out of 10

    "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!"

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Richard Outhwaite from Singapore
    10 out of 10

    "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! "

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from Australia
    10 out of 10

    "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."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Fernando Barata Russo
    10 out of 10

    "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."

    Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat Facebook page, edited

  • Review by John-Michael Sookias from United Kingdom
    10 out of 10

    "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)."

    Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat Facebook page, edited

  • Review by Bryan Flowers from Thailand
    10 out of 10

    "Excellent place! I will be back. It was a great introduction to kung fu."

    Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat Facebook page, edited

  • Review by Channy Wild
    10 out of 10

    "Great instructors, had so much fun, met lots of lovely people, looking forward to doing a proper 6 months at Shaolin in the future"

    Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat Facebook page, edited

  • Review by Beko Kaygee from United Kingdom
    10 out of 10

    "A must for anyone interested in Martial Arts, Exercise, Health & Wellbeing!!!"

    Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat Facebook page, edited

  • Review by a traveler from New York, USA
    10 out of 10

    "I finally visited the Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat in Pai, Thailand in February 2016 (just last month) after almost a year of research and online exchanges with Master Iain Armstrong, Chief Instructor and head manager of the Retreat. There are a lot of critical minds in the traditional martial arts community, and some might doubt that an institution like this can truly offer as much as it appears to claim. What I experienced at the Retreat has turned out to be one of those rare cases in life where something that seemed too good to be true, not only wasn’t, but actually exceeded expectations."

    "The programs available at the Retreat are truly comprehensive, with something to offer everyone - and for longer term students in particular, an obviously very well rounded martial training. As an on-and-off student and amateur researcher of traditional Chinese martial arts and energetic/meditative practices for over 15 years, I can say the arts taught here are highly traditional in the core curriculum, with authentic lineages to Fujian and Hokkien styles passed in family and master-disciple lines from legendary southern Shaolin sources. "

    "Modern reconstructed acrobatic forms of “Wu Shu Kung Fu”, with superfluous dramatic movements, are not what is taught here, but profound and practical traditional Chinese Kung Fu. The styles taught here are actually famous for their influence on later and more wide spread systems, but are themselves actually much harder to find, and rarely taught in as complete a form as found here. At the same time, every effort is made to round out the overall training with principles and practices based on hatha yoga, PT, and practical self defense disciplines."

    "A stay of even one week here will be potentially life transforming - it’s not only a place for those seriously interested in martial arts and inspired to pursue a potential long term, rigorous training (although indeed it is that!), but also very much for even the merely curious who are willing to absorb some simple yet profound practices leading down the path of holistic wellness offered by traditional Chinese energetic work. Traditional Chi Kung offers, for example, many of the benefits of yoga without the sometimes intimidating demands the latter sometimes seems to present to those who have been less flexible or active. "

    "The basic Chi Gung sequence taught here is in broad strokes reminiscent of more well known sets such as “Eight Pieces of Brocade”, but slightly more complex and developed for specific progressive areas of focus. It can be learned by anyone of any age or level of fitness, yet is still powerfully invigorating for athletes and experienced people. Persistence in practice afterwards seems likely to yield surprisingly real health benefits."

    "The facilities and layout of the retreat reflect practicality, natural beauty, good “feng shui”, and a transcendentally contemplative aesthetic, all at once. This attention to detail is all-encompassing without being heavy-handed, and is uplifting and calming in its effects on the spirit. I don’t know what originally motivated the choice of Pai in northern Thailand for the location, but it seems to have been a stroke of genius. "

    "A more perfect setting cannot be imagined, and the town and valley of Pai are a wonderful gateway for the traveler to experience the natural serenity and cultural richness of the region, and beyond that, much of Southeast Asia - and it is just a fun place to be! And I would encourage anyone passing through Pai, even and especially those with no experience with martial art, to look into the benefits to mind and body of a stay here - even if you are just curious! There is nothing pressured about the experience - one of the many things that makes the atmosphere here so special."

    "Above all, I have to give my respect to Master Iain Armstrong, not only for executing the vision that has made this place a reality, but for setting the tone of the Retreat as a place of wholesomeness and personal development with his calm, grounded energy and patient, attentive (yet not in any way intrusive) style of instruction. The Nam Yang Kung Fu retreat is a treasure for all who value these traditional arts, and for any thoughtful travelers through Northern Thailand whose path goes this way."

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Monika Muse from Lithuania
    10 out of 10

    "Very harmonic, peaceful place to get in tune with yourself and your environment. Perfect combination of fight techniques, physical exercises, meditation, discovery of Chi energy, and delicious and powerful food."

    "Kung Fu is more than martial art, even a bit more than a life style and master Ian and his team are more than willing to share it with you. I never imagined that I could get so passionate about something. Definitely will be back for a longer stay. Discovery of a lifetime. Thank you Nam Yang team!"

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Tsahi
    10 out of 10

    "This was a bit weird. Not your ordinary attraction. I had no experience in martial arts. We did one class and it was great. I really recommend to do more if you have time. "

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by a traveler from Amsterdam
    10 out of 10

    "My best experience in Pai. As a personal trainer and nutritional coach, I learned a lot of posture and balance movements for better breathing and stability. All the trainers and students are warm and welcoming. Thanks again!"

    TripAdvisor website, edited

  • Review by Andreas Fabricius
    10 out of 10

    "The month I stayed in Pai was a milestone on my way to myself. It was unique in terms of professional training combined with the right spirit and hospitality. Thanks to Master Iain and his team to give me the privilege to be with them."

    Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat Facebook page, edited

Pai, Thailand

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

  • Availability: The Training Camps of this organizer are available 0% of the time.
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22 days / 21 nights


Arrival: Wednesday November 1, 2017
Departure: Wednesday November 22, 2017

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