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North Siu Lam Kung Fu

No account of RAT is complete without speaking about its relationship to North Siu Lam Kung Fu and the training principles taught to us all by Shifu Mike Wilkinson, Len Heiné, and Jéan Pujol.

Photo of Jéan Pujol

Jéan Pujol

The late Jean Pujol, a Frenchman, began the first North Siu Lam Kung Fu (North Shaolin) school in South Africa. Jean was better known for his Judo skills, however. Jean was a European Judo champion in his time. He also wrote up the first formalized syllabus for Judo in South Africa, which was published (Year-unknown). His later publication, in 1976, is titled North Siu Lam Kung Fu.

Jean had studied many different martial arts, but in his old age he preferred the internal arts. His favourite art being Tai Chi (Tai Ji). He also spent many years living in Hong Kong studying Kung Fu at the then, Sheung Mo Martial Arts Association.

Jean was a true visionary, as he was already working on formalising the Kung Fu training methods in the 1960's and 1970's. He was working on a new system of Kung Fu, called Yin Yang Kung Fu. Actually it was not a new system, but rather a new way of putting the pieces together to form a logical progression in a student's training.


Mike Wilkinson and Len Heiné

Mike Wilkinson is the man responsible for keeping the original syllabus alive and running for about 30 years to date since Jean Pujol first started teaching in South Africa. Mike was initially assisted by Len Heiné, who became the senior instructor in North Siu Lam Kung Fu. Len too is an exceptionally talented martial arts person.

Photo of Mike bending steel


Mike and Len put us through some very difficult training. At the time we would often put it down to mental torture. But that was precisely Mike's plan. Mike taught us that a strong mind and spirit is the key to success in martial arts and life in general. Due to the hard training the club did not produce many black sash instructors, but those who did make it demonstrated high levels of persistence.

Photo of Bheki and Themba performing the dragon's tail kick
Most people would be proud to say that they had trained overseas in an Eastern country, such as China or Japan. But when people ask us about our training, we are proud to say that our instructor was Mike Wilkinson and we had learnt everything we really need to know to be successful right in Durban - South Africa.

Last Updated on Thursday, 01 October 2009 22:28