Bideford man learns ancient martial art from Beijing Master

Instructor set to bring Far Eastern wisdom to North Devon

A NORTH Devon martial arts instructor is bringing the ancient wisdom of a Beijing Master to Barnstaple and Bideford.

Andy Coles, known by his teaching name Mr C, from Bideford, has learned a unique fighting form after spending part of the summer in China studying Shanxi province-style xingyiquan with his “Shifu” Mr Xiang Zheng.

Andy, 41, is the first foreigner to be taught the style in his master’s lineage. He has been given permission to incorporate the skill as the base for his Earth and Ocean martial arts, a style featuring tae kwon do, karate and kick boxing that he created with wife Sharon, and has been teaching since 2008.

“I had to get my Shifu’s permission to combine these styles due to being the first foreign disciple of his teachings,” said Andy, who has been involved with martial arts since he was 16.

“My Shifu was intrigued and roughly translated, he said ‘it would be a formidable martial art due to the long range style kicks and close range techniques of xingyiquan’.”

Andy hopes the new “fun and challenging” style will prove popular with adult and junior students in North Devon.

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“I’m always looking to improve and develop the style as my knowledge of the martial arts grows and believe this is a first for the South West of England, especially Bideford and Barnstaple.”

Xingyiquan, also known as ‘form intention boxing’ is one of the three main internal martial arts in China along with Baguazhang and Tai chi.

“It features aggressive attacks and direct footwork and the style was and is still used by the Chinese military,” added Andy.

“The main concept of this style is based on the theory of Yin and Yang; the techniques can be soft and fluid as well as dynamic and powerful.”

For more information about Andy’s classes visit

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