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Traditional Loong Ying (Dragon) Kung Fu

We are a well established, approachable, traditionally-run Dragon Kung Fu club based in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire. We run weekly classes for both beginner and advanced level students as well as beginner and advanced 10-week courses in practical, effective women's self defence.


Dragon kung fu is not a sport, but a highly effective fighting system designed entirely around neutralising an aggressor as efficiently as possible, and should be used only if absolutely necessary.


Our Sifu is Nigel Cooper, an ex-police tactical specialist who has years of experience putting his skills into practice both in the field and as an instructor, working also with numerous special forces. His training in Dragon kung fu spans decades and his lineage is derived from and recognised in Hong Kong.

Free Trial Class

Come along for a free introductory class and see what it's all about.

Dragon Kung FU Beginner Class

Our weekly beginners class teaches effective self defence techniques from the start whist developing the fundamentals of Dragon Kung Fu



Develop real, practical, aggressive tools to properly defend yourself and increase your confidence. A no BS, deadly serious course created to empower and protect you when you need it most.

Dragon Kung FU Closed-Door 

A class for our most advanced students, training high level Dragon forms, Qi Gong, Iron Palm, Poison Hand and theory.





Loong Ying (龍形) (Dragon Shaped) Kung Fu is a powerful style of Shaolin Kung Fu whose origins can be traced back to the Huashoutai Shaolin Temple (华首台) on Mount Luofu (罗浮山) in southern China. In no way a sport, Loong Ying, as well as being a truly effective self-defence system, develops strength, flexibility and endurance in the body and mind also helping to maintain a healthy overall well being.


The movements of the Southern Dragon style of Shaolin Boxing are based on the mythical Chinese dragon. The Dragon style is an imitative-style that was developed based on the imagined characteristics of the mythical Chinese dragon. The Dragon played an influential and beneficial role in Chinese culture. An amalgamation of several creatures, including monitor lizards, pythons and the Chinese alligator. The polymorphic dragon was a water spirit, responsible for bringing the rains and thus ensuring the survival of crops. The dragon was also the symbolic guardian to the gods, and as such the source of true wisdom.


Southern Dragon kung fu is essentially an internal, chi cultivating method, but initial training is far more like a hard, external style than the delicate approach an internal style (like t'ai chi ch'uan or baguazhang) would have. In learning the moves, the student will strike hard, block hard and stomp into each position, with the idea of learning the proper place to be once each movement is complete. Eventually, the method of transmitting power is retained, and the physically strengthened body is able to make transitions in the proper, fluid manner. In turn, this dragon-like smoothness helps disguise the attack, making it extremely difficult for an adversary to effectively counter.


Loong Ying (Dragon form) focuses mainly on powerful, short range attacks, as is common among southern Chinese styles of kung fu. Gripping techniques and extensive use of forearms typify the art. The style was created as an aggressive combat art and operates under the basic assumption that you are trying to either disable your opponent to the point that they are no longer a threat in battle, or kill them, though these are not by any means the only options a Loong Ying practitioner has. As such Loong Ying employs a large number of techniques to damage the opponent's joints, either through joint manipulation or direct striking, nullify the opponent's defences, either through breaking their stance or compromising their guard and thus their ability to defend; and other such tactics. Like most southern styles of kung fu, it has limited kicks and jumps and consisted mainly of fist, palm and clawing techniques. Power is generally generated from the waist, using soft hard jin (see neijin and waijin).




Nigel is a highly experienced and skilled practitioner of Dragon Kung Fu, Qi Gong, Iron Palm and Poison Hand. He has behind him a long and successful career in the Police where his specialist skills were put into regular practice on the front line, as well as training and commanding fire arms divisions and special forces, both domestically and internationally. Nigel has a unique perspective of what techniques actually work in a practical setting and his wealth of knowlege should not be underestimated. His proven proficiency and years of experience are really what set us apart from other schools.

Nigel Cooper



David is a talented and passionate practitioner of Dragon kung fu, and has trained under Sifu Nigel Cooper for well over a decade. David enjoys teaching the traditional side of the art of Loong Ying which he hopes to preserve and pass on to future students.


David Alexander


Rob started his martial training in the early 70s, learning Judo. He joined a kung fu class run by Nigel Cooper in 1983. Due to injury and other commitments he left that class in 1991 after some initial study of Dragon under Nigel and Shek Lam Shing. He returned as a founding member of the reopened dragon club in Watford (now Hemel Hempstead) in 2000.

Assistant Instructor

Rob Needham



George St, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, HP2 5HJ 

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