Damon has been practicing martial arts for over 40 years, studying under native Chinese, Japanese and Mongolian teachers. He studied and researched on the ground in both China and Japan, exploring the roots of the martial arts in the esoteric and shamanistic traditions of the Far East, and in 1994 was awarded an MA in East Asian Studies by the University of Leeds. Starting in 1992, together with Master Zhu Guang, he co-founded the Xing Yi club at Leeds University which eventually grew into the now healthy Xing Yi community in West Yorkshire.
Damon is the author of Xing Yi Bear Eagle, which remains the only book on advanced Xing Yi in English, some thirteen years after it was first published. He is also the editor of the Western White Tiger I-Ching, co-hosts the Woven Energy Podcast on Shamanism with Joe Sykora, holds the Yongquan Martial Arts Association's highest teaching certification, and was one of the original founders of foXfist martial arts cross-training.
With a reputation for pragmatism, Damon's students include a number of police officers and military personnel. His two best known students are Paul Andrews of Xing Yi Academy and former European full contact Chinese sword champion Alistair Chatterley.
Glen has studied the martial arts and eastern spiritual traditions for more than 20 years under native teachers from China and Tibet, and Xing Yi as his main art for more than 15 years with Damon Smith. Glen is from an engineering background and approaches Xing Yi from a principles-first vantage. He is a long-term student of the roots of Xing Yi in Chinese folk culture, and an active practitioner of the advanced shamanistic aspects of the art.
Glen is the author of the forthcoming book "Xing Yi Quan - A Study of Tai and Tuo Xing" which is an in-depth look at the animal fighting strategies of Crocodile and Flycatcher, which were reputedly added to the art by Grand Master Li Neng Ran.
A trained Hypnotherapist, Glen specialised in helping martial artists with their preparations for competitions by increasing their confidence and focus. He has had success in this field with a number of competing champions.
Ben's father boxed for the army and trained him from an early age in the art of hand to hand combat. After repelling an attempt on his life at the age of 13, Ben began training harder, and gradually expanded his martial arts repertoire. Over the last 27 years he has studied Boxing, Dorjee, Wing Chun and Karate. He has spent the last 12 years training in Xing Yi, Kempo, Choy Lee Fut, Baji, Mongolian Wrestling and others with Damon.
Ben is medically trained as an osteopath - a useful skill in the world of martial arts. He also has expertise in medical acupunture.
Bernard got into martial arts at the age of seven after an aggravated elder brother knelt on his face and broke his nose. He first trained in Wado Ryu Karate, and subsequently practised a range of Chinese arts including Shaolin Five Animals, Po Fay Lim Sao Wing Chun, Taijquan and Choy Li Fut. He is a senior instructor in both Shaolin Five Animals and Wing Chun, and also teaches Taiji and Qi Gong privately in Falmouth and Penryn. For the last three years he has combined further training in these arts with the study of Xing Yi under the guidance of Sifu Smith. He specialises in the advanced study of internal principles, and, training four hours every day, recently became the first person from Cornwall to achieve level 1 instructor status with the Yongquan Martial Arts Association.
Bernard earns a living as a Senior Examiner, Academic Consultant and Author. His academic texts are published by Cambridge University Press. He is the author of two volumes of poetry, has published numerous articles on poetics, philosophy and theoretical physics, and is currently working on a book exploring connections between poetic sensibility, quantum field, Eastern and Western philosophy and neigong.