Jim Parasoglou

Kung Fu Assistant Instructor Trainee
Kickboxing Assistant Instructor Trainee

Haywards Heath

“I quickly realised that White Crane training offered me a mix of skill, strength, stamina, power, flexibility, mobility – not many other sports combine all these so effectively.”

I joined White Crane at the age of 41, back in 2015.

In my school years and until my late teens, I was training in Greco-Roman Wrestling, which is very demanding and requires super fitness to compete. I remember training for competitions which involved 5 mins sparring sessions with a new opponent joining every minute. By the end of the session, all you could do was try to avoid getting thrown around like a dummy, just because you would have to get up which would take more energy than standing your ground in the first place :)!

Following university, (life took over) responsibilities grew, career and family at the forefront, with sport and personal hobbies taking lower priority. Fitness faded away and it was getting harder and harder to get back into any kind of activity let alone sport.

However, I always wanted to learn karate, ever since I was watching Bruce Lee at the cinema! It was also my father’s wish for me to learn a self-defence (throwing people around, no matter how technical or brutal it can get, it wasn’t as impressive as finishing a fight with a fast kick). Somehow that became my wish for my daughter too, but I knew by now that the best way to ensure it happens would be for me to join too!

I therefore looked for a family orientated club that was offering training at a time that was convenient for both of us, and I came across Mark Stevenson’s White Crane classes which were taking place on Saturday mornings.

After observing a class and later on joining one (my daughter being 7 at the time), we were both hooked. We wanted to learn as much as possible and as quickly as possible. So I started going to the Wednesday classes and later on we both started going to kick boxing too.

It’s a great way to bond as father/daughter, including our disagreements and our desire to kick each other “in a controlled environment”.

I quickly realised that White Crane training offered me a mix of skill, strength, stamina, power, flexibility, mobility – not many other sports combine all these so effectively. And all this whilst learning self-defence in a fun and family orientated environment. All new members are welcomed wholeheartedly. There are enough instructors always at hand to ensure that everyone, new members in particular, receive personal attention, advise, corrections, motivation.

My daughter Elena is on her way to her junior black belt in Kung Fu and this is all down not just to my personal perseverance but also to the culture of the club and most importantly Mark, the chief instructor. Mark is a great teacher for all students at all ages or stages in their martial art journey. He keeps learning and improving himself with frequent trips and training in China which is great for the academy. I have learned a lot from Mark and his teaching methods and I feel honoured that I can use these learnings to teach other members of the club.

White Crane Academy has something for everyone, be it Tai Chi, Kung Fu or Kickboxing, with lots of regular workshops and classes almost every day of the week.

I look forward to seeing you in class.