I began dabbling with different martial arts around the age of 17, such as Thai Boxing and Tae Kwon Do.
Then around January 1998 at the age of 25, I began two different arts at the same time, as between the two of
them they seemed to offer what I thought to be a fine balance of training. The arts were; Aikido, under a fine and rustic Sensi called Robert Lincoln and his Kongo Kan Aikikai Dojo; and a mixed style of Japanese and Chinese martial arts, under a highly competitive instructor by the name of Keith Dwan, who runs the Dragon Martial Arts School.
After two years I drifted away from the Aikido. I think this was mostly due to choosing the Dragon Martial Arts relaxed attitude to style, although I am extremely grateful for the way the Aikido was ingrained into me in the
short time I practiced.
I stayed with Keith Dwan's system for around seven and a half years, earning my Second Degree Black Belt and an Assistant Instructors Qualification.
Keith's Dragon Martial Arts System is based on two different lineages, the main one being Seal Lung which is a modern External Martial Art founded by Tony Lloyd, and is derived from many different martial arts including Wing Chun, Wado Ryu and Judo. The other is the Little Nine Heaven System taught now by Sifu James McNeil and dates back to A.D 615-907 making it one of the oldest recorded Chinese martial arts.
Little Nine Heaven is an Internal Martial Art in itself but Sifu McNeil also received training in Tai Chi Chuan, Bagua Zhang, Xingyi Chuan and Splashing Hands which is a very fast form of kung fu which was developed by Ark Yuey Wong.
Although Keith taught a mixture of Internal and External Martial Arts, I felt myself needing more time and effort researching the Internal side than I felt he had time to give, I did however learn a broad spectrum from him and earned my stripes competing in a fare few tournaments.
It was at this time, (early 2005) that I started teaching my own system; Shui Tao, I also looked around for other potential instructors and found Simon Watson who runs the Longfei Tajiquan Association and teaches a mixture of Tai Chi, Xingyi and Bagua, Master Wang Yanji who is one of Simon Watson's instructors and Chief
Instructor of the Wushu Qigong in Stokholm and who teaches through the Longfei Tajiquan Association.
Separate to this I also discovered Master Ch'ng Lay Seng who teaches Cheng Man Ching Tai Chi Chuan and was the Chief Instructor at the Penang Taiji Association in Malaysia for six years.
Both Simon Watson and Master Wang Yanji train directly under Professor Li Deyin nephew to Li Tianji one of the 10 best all time martial artists of China and who was son of Li Yulin who was one of the best pupils of Sun Lutang himself, who was founder of Sun Style Tai Chi and proficient in Xingyi and Bagua.
Master Ch'ng Lay Seng was a student of Tok Sing Gim who was student to Yeh Siu Ting who in turn was a student of Professor Cheng Man Ching who was founder of this Tai Chi style and holds direct lineage to Yang Lu Chuan founder of Yang Style Tai Chi.