I have trained in Tiger Crane Combination kungfu for over a decade. I have evolved from being a student obsessed with martial arts, to a kungfu-obsessed teacher and student.

At the age of nine, I began my training in martial arts with a Judo class. Following tough years as a teenager, he found myself going to the gym where I trained with weights, as I believed that the larger I could grow my muscles, the more fearless I would become in life.

When I was 19 years old, I increased my weight training to take me to the level of a professional natural body builder. Yet I realised that the giant body I had created was not providing the answers I needed.

At 21 years old, I began training at one of the many kickboxing clubs that proliferated at the time. Around two years later, I also began training in Wing Chun as well as kickboxing, then left Wing Chun as I felt I needed more from a martial art, that this relatively ‘new’ style could not provide.

Finally, in 1996, I discovered Tiger Crane style kungfu. Training in both Tiger Crane and kickboxing took over my life. On Monday’s and Wednesday’s I trained in kickboxing, and every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evening, plus Saturday and Sunday, I trained in Sutton, Surrey, where I lived, Brighton on the South coast of the UK and central London in kungfu.

I continued training in both kungfu and kickboxing for a while, until I decided that the kickboxing was holding back my ability to move forward in kungfu. Kickboxing just made me angry; kungfu still energised me, but it taught me to control my anger and aggression as it is all-enveloping in its teachings.

Kungfu is not just about kicking and punching, but encompasses everything about the fight and beyond, both mentally and physically. In all its aspects, kungfu is complex yet at the same time, simple. It is a lifelong journey and is not something that can be mastered in a few years.

When I first started training in kungfu, I was very gung ho about everything. I just wanted to fight all the time. This is when kungfu got to grips with me; I have always said that you do kungfu, then kungfu becomes you. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy.

Darren Trottman

Chief Instructor

Southern Crane Kungfu


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