Mark Stevenson

Tai Chi, Kung Fu and Kickboxing Instructor
Founder of White Crane Academy
Haywards Heath

“I am a firm believer that when something has enriched my life to the degree that the martial arts have, I simply have a duty to pass it on.”
Tel: 07834 375776Email:

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My Ethos

So here is where I wax lyrical about myself, gloriously describing my lifelong martial arts journey, proudly listing my awards and achievements… but that’s not really me. I almost stumbled into martial arts training, found the White Crane style by accident and only achieved any progress as a student and success as an instructor through hard work, sacrifice, and dedication (what I consider to be the most important attributes of a martial artist).

True, I did some judo when I was young for a few years before quitting, then never really thought much about martial arts until I was in my early 20’s and took up kickboxing at a club just down the road from my flat – partly to get fit, partly because I thought it’d be quite cool to learn some martial arts techniques.

After kickboxing for a while, I felt that it lacked a little substance – so I switched to kung fu after picking up a flyer landing on my doorstep one day …. and that’s when everything started!

If I am to learn something, I have to become immersed in it, and that is how I approached White Crane. I instantly loved it. I could learn everything that kickboxing was teaching me, and so, so much more…. an entire internal martial art (tai chi), a traditional kung fu style, Chinese kickboxing and ground fighting, an array of weapons… I spent hours and hours each week in the training hall, and quite often when I wasn’t there I was training at home.

I knew from the start that I wanted to be an instructor. In a previous career I had been an English teacher, so teaching was something that both came naturally to me, and I had been trained in. After a training trip to Beijing in 2008, I graded to become a full instructor and began the next part of my martial arts journey.

What started out with one kung fu class, over a number of years has become my full time passion (I can’t call it a job!). I spent many years teaching in the evenings and at weekends, alongside my other previous career (IT support) before the magical elixir of hard work, good fortune, and time paid off and I was able to focus on teaching martial arts full time.

I no longer train with my original White Crane instructor but over several years spent time forging links with China. I am very proud to be a student of Master Ping of FangYuan Tai Chi, Jieyang, China. I frequently travel to China to learn (as well as spending several hours per week training online with Master Ping), focusing on Chen tai chi, qigong, push hands, and weapons. Chen is now an integral part of the WCA syllabus.

In the decade or so since starting White Crane Academy I have taught many people, quite literally from all walks of life, and between the ages of 3 and 105. For me, everyone can benefit from what WCA has to offer. Age, ability, current levels of health and fitness, none of that matters when you start; I will encourage you to improve and learn at a pace that is suitable for you as an individual.

What started out as one kung fu class with one student attending (who is actually still part of the club!) has grown into what I now consider to be a friendly and welcoming community of people from all walks of life, all benefitting together from the collective wisdom of thousands of years of martial arts and qigong practice.

I look forward to hearing from you or meeting you in class!


Mark, double fan
Mark and his staff
Mark, sword form