Shaun Thomson

Chief Researcher – Black Belt Second DAN

I have studied at the S.A.M.A since 1998, I began learning as my twin brother Wesley introduced me to the school as he was introduced by one of the black belts and long time friend Richard Le Peurpe. When I first met Master Stephen Cox, I felt very welcome and indeed at home instantly, and the style and teachings left me wanting more and more.

Master Stephen Cox has taught me the foundation and break down of the Wing Chun system, and his teachings has without a doubt saved me from being attacked on several occasions, not to mention reacting well in situations in which I could of been seriously injured.

I am only a small man of 5ft 3, ok maybe 5ft 2 lol, but still I have been able to defend myself from guys much taller and stronger than me, with ease. I am not one to blow my own trumpet, I am only stating that all the training has worked, and it seemed on all occasions to come out when needed, as if I am not even trying, only reacting in fear, without thinking or planning, as if my spirit has done all the work.

Our motto TRAIN HARD FIGHT EASY, really is true, if you train hard, fighting comes easy, also I have become much more aware of my surroundings which have helped me avoid conflict.

The training has also given me health awareness too, when I first started training my back was pretty stiff and used to give me lots of problems, but now I have no pain or problems whatsoever, and I have become really flexible in comparison to 15 years ago, plus I have a much calmer approach to life.

I have learnt so much about myself through the teachings and I truly would not have become the person I am today if it wasn’t for my brother, sadly he died tragically in 2002, he was already showing great skill and enthusiasm for Wing Chun and his true fighting spirit and charisma was truly respected, he is sadly missed and I carry on the training and teachings in his name.

After attending lessons for a few years, myself and a few fellow students we’re extremely privileged to attend several seminars and meet with our much loved and respected Grand Master Robin J Gardiner, an inspirational and extremely knowledgeable martial artist whom has taught me the fundamental aspects of martial arts as a whole, the school would not exist without all Robin’s hard work, knowledge, love and dedication to martial arts, and I want to make sure the teachings are carried on as true to the classics as possible, with the correct basics, foundation, and theories.

I have been taking the children’s lesson’s since 2005 and find that the children usually have the movements naturally, but they seem to lack in concentration, I like a challenge and they certainly are that. The children’s lessons are becoming more established and I hope to get bigger classes to help more kids with their character building and physical/mental awareness, check out our kids demo if you haven’t already.

After training for several years I gained my Black belt and spent a year to study the Wing Chun system through self training whilst also studying at the gym on occasions when I had time.

At this time, a small group of students from the school, including myself where fortunate enough to spend one day each month training with our Grandmaster Robin Gardiner, and learn a deeper understanding from our teachers teacher, the foundation of Kung Fu / Martial Arts on a deeper level, not to disregard Master Stephen Cox’s teachings by any means.

Robin went through the important basics of the workings of Tai Chi, Wing Chun, Ba Gua, Xing Yi, The Five Animals Frolics, Ba Da Jin and Karate, in which we discovered much potential and an amazing understanding of internal awareness.

Robin’s teachings, has opened a pathway in which we can progress in the Wing Chun system and in martial arts as a whole, as a way of life, a way of thinking, and a way of understanding the body, mind and spirit, as a whole unit working in harmony to gain an efficient vessel/body which we can constantly re-engineer with the correct training and methods, to create a better understanding in kung fu, with more efficiency, stamina and agility with less effort.

Robin Shaun Chi Sau
2013 Robin and myself in Chi Sau Play

In August 2012 my long time and great friend Justin Woods and I, decided we would take a trip to China for the whole month, Justin had been learning Wing Chun at the school for a couple of years by then, so it was a good chance for us both to take time out and gain more experience.

We stayed in Beijing for a while before travelling to Deng Feng, or Shaolin as known by us Westerners.

We studied at the SHAOLIN TEMPLE XINYIBA RESEARCH SOCIETY, for eight days, it wasn’t for as long as we would have wished for but we had an amazing time learning from Master Hu Zheng Sheng and the upcoming students whom taught us the Shar Hun Chaun, well thats how it’s pronounced.

This is a classic style which was put together by several monks after the Temple was burnt down at one time, most of the scripts were burnt but Master Hun one of the Elder Monks collected what he could, and the system was rebuilt again, the scripts still exist and are over 500 years old.

Since early 2014 I have been fortunate enough in learning Ba Gua from Robin. Ba Gua is an extremely indicate and complex system which requires sure detection. Learning this style has been the high light of my martial arts training and it has helped me no end in my struggle to achieve self understanding.

Shaun Deng Feng
Myself in China, Deng Feng 2012

The writings are in old Chinese script so few people are able to translate them, and the calligraphy is so perfectly hand written that the gaps in-between each character are perfectly even. The script is written from the middle outwards as the pages had to be put in that way as it was written then binded, reading it from back to front, so it had to be written in separated sections to get it all in the correct order and on extremely thin paper.

We did learn the whole form and although it was only a small part of the system, we gained a lot through the practice and we practiced hard every day, running up to the farm before each lesson, thats three times a day from 5am, sometimes we would run as far as the mountains which surrounded us.

We also practiced Chi Gong each morning along with stretches and kicks, either at the school or within the mountains, it was a truly spiritual journey.

I am still practicing, and I also started teaching adult classes at the beginning of 2011 and I am currently pursuing to bring together a small group of serious and dedicated students.

In June of 2014 I started my training of Ba Gua from Robin and this has opened new opportunities and pathways in my style, giving me a much broader understanding of Gong Fu, I may even open new classes for this style in time……

Justin Deng Feng
Justin Woods, China, Deng Feng 2012


Master Hu Zheng Sheng
Master Hu Zheng Sheng, Shoalin Temple Xinyiba Research Society China