5 Days Shaolin Kung Fu Course in Mae Hong Son, Thailand

  • Nam Yang Thailand Mountain Training Camp, 116 M 5, Mae Na Toeng, Pai District 58130, Thailand

Qigong and Shaolin Kung Fu Class Thailand

Join Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat for an intense burst of old style Kung Fu course in an amazing mountain setting. Live eat and train in a real Kung Fu school with genuine enthusiasts. It’s a program packed with training that will give you an insight into this fascinating ancient art and leave you feeling fitter and fresher. This is a chance to learn some useful skills and exercise techniques which you will be able to continue practicing.


  • Training three times a day
  • Simple meditation sessions
  • Tiger Crane combination Kung Fu
  • Qi Gong and Sun Frost White Crane internal art
  • Experienced teachers and breathtaking environment
  • Daily breakfast and dinner
  • 4 nights accommodation
  • 3 days with instruction
  • English
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The rooms at Nam Yang are very spacious and comfortable with fan and en-suite shower room and toilet or wash room. You could choose between a private or shared room.

The school itself is built in the local Shan style architecture according to Chinese Feng Shui principles. They grow their own vegetables. There are also kitchen and dining area where food are prepared using home grown ingredients wherever possible.

There’s wireless internet which is free to all those staying in the school.

The course includes:

  • Shuang Yang Pei Ho Rou Rouan Chien (Frost Sun White Crane soft and gentle Art)
  • Sum Chien, the internal power training exercise of Shaolin Kung Fu
  • Tong Ling Chi Kung system
  • Bohdidarma’s vein tendon Chi Kung
  • Pushing hands for training of touch sensitivity and mindfulness
  • Meditation
  • Stretching and developing the fascia

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. Here in Nam Yang, your needs will be met. Complex concepts are explained in clear English by experienced teachers. There is no need for translators.

Sample schedule

  • 06:00 Morning training in Chi Kung, the Frost Sun White Crane internal art, the Sum Chien (three wars) internal strength routine, Kung Fu technique and combinations, old style Kung Fu exercises with a partner for stability, timing, distancing, coordination, and balance, how to disarm an attacker with a knife, stick, or bar, control and restraint techniques, joint manipulation, and pressure points (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, incorporates pushing hands and optional use of Nam Yang's Kung Fu gym) followed by a lunch break
  • 15:30 Physical session including warming up then work on stretching and strengthening the fascia
  • 16:30 Technical sessions including practice on the routines, including the Shaolin weapons, pushing hands, traditional Kung Fu fighting skills, in-depth training on topics such as breathing, developing the internal organs, training the senses, taking control of your emotions, adopting the right mindset, developing speed, power, and accuracy
  • 18:00 Dinner then rest time

In a three-day stay you will immerse yourself in the culture and lifestyle of Shaolin Kung Fu and experience for yourself what it is all about. You will learn:

  • The basics of Sum Chien (three wars)
  • The Tong Ling Chi Kung routine for health, relaxation, and energy
  • Bodhidharma’s vein tendon Chi Kung for tendon power
  • The walking meditation and four step routine from the Sun Frost White Crane internal art
  • Some good insights into self-defense
  • Pushing hands: a safe introduction to practice with a partner
  • Basic meditation

After three short days, you will feel fitter and healthier, enhance your confidence, maybe experience a small weight adjustment, improve your flexibility, detox your body, and enjoy yourself.

Elements of training the Shaolin arts

Tiger - Crane Kung Fu

Fast, accurate, and deadly, the tiger - crane combination is a classic southern Shaolin style which emphasizes intricate hand techniques thrown from a solid, stable stance.

Being close to the original Shaolin white crane, this style emphasizes the use of touch sensitivity to connect to an opponent and feel their movement and intention, countering them immediately when they initiate a move - before it can become dangerous. It also uses "springy" power generated from the tendons rather than the muscle - the hallmark of genuine Shaolin Kung Fu.

The tiger-crane stance is fairly high allowing for mobility and fast stepping. The hand techniques are thrown from close range so as to maximize their chances of success and generally target weak points where they will have the greatest effect.

At an advanced level, springy power from the tendons can be used to generate a power which penetrates deeply into the body and affects the internal organs - ask an instructor for a safe, controlled demonstration!

Benefits of practicing the tiger crane art include:

  • Toughening of body to resist blows
  • Packing chi into the internal organs so as to rejuvenate them and make them healthy, resilient, and resistant to being struck
  • Building elastic power into tendons so as to be able to deliver fast, super powerful blows
  • Expansion of lung capacity leading to greater stamina and a healthier body
  • Replenishing of essential chi in kidneys which counteracts aging
  • Manipulation of the spine, opening of joints and chi flow
  • Training of the eye to keep vision sharp
  • Rejuvenating facial muscles and pressure centers to look healthy and young
  • Developing positive body language
  • Sinking chi to the lower tan tien (chi center) to give clearer thinking, calmer attitude, and less stress
  • Training the use of the most advantageous body mechanics so that skill can be used to overcome strength
  • Development of touch sensitivity and training to react to touch for fighting

Sun-frost white crane (Shuang Yang)

Usually referred to as "Shuang Yang" for short, this is the internal form of the white crane art. It is performed in a very soft, relaxed way, gently opening the chi flow in the meridians, training elasticity into all of the tendons and massaging the internal organs. Whilst superficially very similar to Tai Chi, it is part of the Buddhist Shaolin tradition, rather than the Taoist Wutan tradition.

Many people practice the Shuang Yang primarily to benefit their health, vitality, and longevity. Whilst the slow, gentle nature of the training make it ideal for older or less fit people, make no mistake: this is a genuine martial art.

The Shuang Yang art uses mostly the bow arrow stance - a longer stance than the tiger crane art. Weight is sunk down and movement is generated from the core of the body, moving out to the limbs like a wave through water. Training connects all of the tendons in the body into one resilient, elastic network with incredible strength. All movements are performed with the whole body.

Shuang Yang training is particularly suitable for China - the Chinese art of twisting joints, pressing pressure points, and sealing off the flow of breath or blood. As a crane art, the Shuang Yang develops touch sensitivity and encourages sticking to an opponent, neutralizing their attacks and then countering decisively.

The benefits of the Shuang Yang art include:

  • Gently stretching and releasing the body’s tendons in a slow rhythmic fashion, increasing its strength and stimulating chi to flow
  • The practice involves a great deal of flexing and twisting in the torso, as well as opening the meridians and energizing the tendons, which strengthens muscles which you do not usually use
  • Wringing out and cleaning the internal organs, pushing fluids along their course, and manipulating the joints of the spine, keeping them moving freely to promote a healthy spine and body
  • Genuine "meditation in motion" that requires sinking of the chi, calming of the mind, and breathing from the core of the body with regular practice greatly improving health, vitality, and aging

Shaolin weapon

Weapons have always featured strongly in Shaolin Kung Fu training and are one of the most popular parts of the syllabus - even in the modern era. Training starts with simple basics such as how to stand, grip the weapon, etc. and extends to cover simple and advanced moves, strategies, tactics, target areas, etc.

The weapon training is not just "show style". The genuine art of weapon use for combat will be taught. Unlike in many other cultures, the Shaolin weapons were still used for war very recently, such as by the Chinese army in WWII and by Kung Fu groups as recently as the 1970s.

Some of the teachers here at Nam Yang have direct experience with these weapons - this is not something which you will find in many schools.

The benefits of Shaolin weapon training include the following:

  • Weapon training teaches you to extend your concentration and your energy (chi) beyond your bodies into the weapon
  • The training works like a sort of weight training: performing with weapons, especially heavy weapons, strengthens the muscle and tendons and conditions you to exert more power
  • Many techniques are complex and intricate and develop your co-ordination: this is particularly true of the double weapons
  • Heavy weapons require a great degree of stability and balance so as to be able to wield them with speed, power, and accuracy, providing excellent stability training

Soft Chi Kung

Many people are vaguely aware of the great benefits of Chi Kung meditation to the health and longevity but don’t really understand how it works. Here is an overview:

  • Chi circulates around the bodies, in a daily cycle, mainly but not entirely through pathways called meridians and vessels
  • Chi is stored in energy centers or reservoirs called tan tiens
  • The two main sources of chi are the Earth (yin chi) and the sky (yang chi)
  • When the chi in the bodies is circulating freely, and is balanced between yin and yang, you will enjoy good health
  • Opening the meridians through stretching exercises and guiding chi through them facilitates strong, smooth circulation of the chi
  • Drawing in fresh chi from the earth and sky keeps your chi plentiful and allows you to balance yin and yang
  • Expelling stale or excess chi keeps the chi fresh and prevents it becoming excessively strong

By its nature, Chi Kung (also known as Qi Gong or Ki Gung) is simple and easy yet amazingly effective. Anyone can practice it successfully, regardless of age or fitness. The essential requirements are a properly trained instructor and good, fresh air. The basic Chi Kung system taught is Tong Ling (clearing and circulating) Chi Kung.

Martial Chi Kung

Martial Chi Kung goes a step beyond Chi Kung for health. It develops abilities well beyond those of normal people.

Mastery of this type of Chi Kung is what enables martial arts masters to perform such "super human" feats as punching the ends off bricks, washing in broken glass, rubbing red hot metal, and being hit with hammers and axes.

There is a number of different systems of martial Chi Kung. The first is vein tendon Chi Kung is a simple but effective system which tones all of tendon in the body and increases its elasticity so that it can store energy.

The next is Tat Moh Chi Kung, a straightforward system which emphasizes reverse abdominal breathing and therefore trains elasticity into the internal organs, energizing them and making them resilient to injury

The Sum Chien routine from the Tiger - Crane combination art is perhaps the most powerful exercise for martial Chi Kung. It involves building elasticity into the whole body and then using it to store energy in the lower tan tien (the lower chi energy center of the body), releasing it in explosive bursts down to the hands, and then returning it to the tan tien to be used again. It incorporates reverse abdominal breathing and exercises absolutely all of the tendons in the body.

Martial Chi Kung can be learned by people of reasonable fitness, male or female. It takes regular training over a period of time to achieve a high level of skill, but the exercises can be learned in a relatively short space and then practiced anywhere.

Martial Chi Kung has the following benefits:

  • It packs chi into the internal organs, strengthening them, energizing them, and making them resistant to injury or disease
  • It replenishes essential chi in the kidneys, combating ageing and greatly increasing vigor
  • It builds springy, explosive strength which can be released at short range to produce large amounts of power


Meditation forms an intrinsic part of the training program. Generally, you are taught how to perform simple, safe meditations and then encouraged to practice them in their own time, quietly and comfortably. On nights of the full moon, a special meditation together at midnight is practiced directly under the full moon.

The meditation taught include:

  • Chi Kung focusing on circulating the body’s chi microcosmic orbit
  • Relaxing the whole body
  • Fostering internal awareness
  • Improving vitality and life energy

These can be combined with natural or reverse abdominal breathing. Full moon meditations take advantage of the pure yin energy which emanates from the moon at midnight (the most yin hour) when it is full (the moon’s most yin phase). These special meditations give an amazing charge but are best practiced under supervision, at least to start with!

The complement to the full moon meditations is the practice of Chi Kung just at sunrise on the day of the new moon, taking advantage of yang energy.

Practical self-defense

The self-defense training is very practically based and can be tailored to suit the individual. What is emphasized is avoidance as opposed to confrontation (it’s much safer) and techniques which do not inflict serious injury (killing or maiming an attacker is likely to get you into very serious trouble in most countries, especially if they are a local).

Practical self-defense involves forward planning, awareness, positive body language, quick thinking, diplomacy, and confidence. Physical confrontation is a last resort. If it does get physical, take downs and restraints are both good options - they prevent an opponent from hurting you without inflicting injury on them.

It may be necessary to disarm the opponent first. The defense techniques that are taught are based on Kung Fu, Chinese boxing, and a great deal of experience. The training, which is simple and effective, will enable you to travel without fear.

Workout and stretching

Conditioning and flexibility are vital for any martial artist. At Nam Yang, morning meditation and soft arts are complimented by approximately one hour of active workouts and stretches in the afternoon to improve endurance and elasticity.

Conditioning routines are borrowed from various martial and athletic disciplines to maximize stamina, cardio, and strength improvement while maintaining safety and a mind for technique.

Stretching routines employ methods from both Kung Fu and yoga to greatly improve joint and muscle flexibility and teach body relaxation. Students often notice significant improvements in flexibility and elasticity after leaving the mountain retreat.

  • 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.

This Kung Fu training course will take place in Nam Yang Mountain Retreat, 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.

The mountain retreat 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 which rise steadily to the Himalayas.

The training facilities include two octagonal training areas: an open area 18 by 18 meters and a roofed area 13 by 13 meters with two centimeters thick mats throughout. There is also a training circuit with poles, a tyre dummy, punch bags, and parallel bars. Additional facilities include a prayer house, which may be used for meditation or prayer, an office, and a huge statue of Tat Moh (Boddhidharma), the Shaolin founder.

The mountain retreat provides fantastic photo and video opportunities, with constantly changing views according to the season. It is also sheltered behind a mountain ridge so that no built up areas are within view - only farms, small villages, and forested mountains - but is in fact only five minute ride from the lively town of Pai with its multitude of restaurants, bars, cafes, etc. so you really do get the best of both worlds!

The mountain retreat is designed to give a complete experience, providing the best training, food, fun, air, medicine, views and rest. This way, you get the best experience and the best results. You can expect to leave the Nam Yang Mountain Retreat feeling healthier, stronger, and more alert than when you arrived.

Thailand and Pai

Thailand is a great country. It is one of the most popular destinations for international travelers. If you are going to stay somewhere, why not stay somewhere really nice? It is close enough to Singapore that the 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 well away from the distractions of modern life and the pollution of modern cities.

Nearby places

  • Pai Town - 5 minutes

Quality food is essential for martial artists in hard training. Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat has their own kitchen garden, herb garden, and fruit trees. They are fully self-sufficient for rice and papaya and largely self-sufficient for vegetables. Nam Yang also produces a fair amount of fruit, according to season.

What Nam Yang doesn’t grow themselves, they choose carefully. They prepare local style food but use selected medicinal herbs to improve its value. The diet is calculated to best support the Kung Fu training.

Food prepared on site is as fresh, organic, and healthy as possible and is usually delicious local Thai or Shan style, or sometimes Chinese or southern Thai style. Meals start with one or two types of fruit and possibly some salad.

Typically, there will be two main dishes with rice. Most dishes are vegetarian but some meat and fish are also served. There will always be at least one vegetarian dish with each meal. Nam Yang also tries their 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.

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, etc). The local diet is based mainly around rice, meat, fresh-water fish, vegetables, fruit, and spices. However, seafood is relatively expensive in the mountains. Local fruit and vegetables are great, fresh, and very cheap.

During the off days, you could explore Pai Town around and about. Pai acts as a hub for activities and excursions, for example trekking (usually with overnight stay at a hill tribe village), elephant riding, caving, ox cart riding, rafting, off road driving or motorcycling and visiting waterfalls, temples, hill tribes, and many more.

  • 4 nights accommodation
  • Breakfast and dinner
  • Drinking water and teas made with beneficial herbs
  • Training three times a day
  • Use of all facilities, including gym and training areas when not being used for teaching
  • Airfare
  • Goods purchased
  • Insurance
  • Kung Fu gradings
  • Lunch
  • Personal expenses
  • Private tuition
  • Transportation to the retreat center

Arrival by airplane

Please book your flight to arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) or Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX). Chiang Mai is much nearer to the Kung Fu Retreat but Bangkok has more flights and is usually cheaper. Transfer from and to the airport is available upon request.

Arrival by bus

If you are on a very tight budget, you can go to Kao San Road in Bangkok and get an overnight coach for about 300 THB or so to Chiang Mai. This is the least comfortable way to travel.

To get to Pai, take a minibus trip that 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 like of which you have probably never seen before. The views are breathtaking and the journey is an adventure in itself so Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat recommends that you travel during daylight.

When you arrive in Pai, the easiest way to get to retreat center is simply to book a taxi. The taxis are a little way up the main street from the AYA service office. Motorcycle is the cheapest taxi and should cost less than 100 THB.

Arrival by train

If you arrive in Bangkok, you could get an overnight sleeper train from the central station, Hua Lam Pong, to Chiang Mai for a little over 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.

Arrival by taxi

Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat can arrange for a taxi from Pai to come to the airport to meet you. Alternatively, you could speak with drivers in the taxi rank outside the airport. Taxis have been charging about 3,200 THB for the trip.

If Nam Yang Kung Fu Retreat arranges a taxi for you, they will need to pay in advance so please do not pay the driver otherwise he will think that he has just got the best tip of his life and likely take a week off.

  • 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.

from --

5 days / 4 nights


This vacation is available all year round with arrival on Saturday, departure on Wednesday.

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