Why Bamboo Forest Martial Arts

Welcome to Bamboo Forest Martial Arts, where we draw inspiration from the resilient and versatile bamboo plant to guide our approach to traditional Asian martial arts. Our goal is to provide an authentic and holistic training experience that not only hones individual skills in both mind and body but also cultivates a community of like-minded individuals.

Bamboo, found abundantly in China, Southeast Asia, and the vast Pacific island archipelago, serves as a powerful symbol for our community. Just as bamboo groves and forests thrive in diverse landscapes, our training encompasses the rich tapestry of martial arts traditions. The name "Bamboo Forest" also subtly alludes to the concept of Wu Lin (Martial Forest), emphasizing that while different martial arts are distinct, they are interconnected like the various trees in a forest, forming a united family.

Embracing the characteristics of bamboo—strength, flexibility, and adaptability—we aim to offer multiple paths to self-improvement through martial arts. Join us in the Bamboo Forest, where tradition meets innovation, and discover the many ways martial arts can lead you to a better self.

Path of self discovery through the bamboo forest

My Training

With over 25 years of hands-on experience in martial arts, including two decades since I started teaching, my practice has developed through the study of various Chinese and Southeast Asian disciplines. From the UK to the Zhong Ding training centre in Penang, Malaysia, I've had the privilege of learning from skilled instructors, including Nigel Sutton and several of his teachers.

My training encompasses Chinese internal arts like Taijiquan, Baguazhang and Xinyiquan, Alongside Malay Silat Tua in Penang and Escrima from the Philippines. These practices involve not just theoretical understanding but an immersive practical experience in empty hand techniques, weapons, two-person training methods, and meditative practices, all deeply rooted in the cultural philosophies that shaped them.

Currently holding a 4th Duan Master Instructor grade with Zhong Ding International and certified by the Malaysian Association of Grandmasters of Martial Arts, I've successfully passed Khatams in various Silat systems. Join me on a martial arts journey that emphasises the physical practice, where we delve into traditions and actively engage in the rich cultural philosophies that underpin these diverse martial arts.

Bamboo Forest instructor Paul Gitsham doing Escrima Sinawali in a twisted tree near Pately Bridge