Johnny going strong in Chinese Kempo Gung-Fu since 1977


After training for seven years in Great Yarmouth under the renowned Barry Theobald, Gorleston man Johnny Johnson set up his own club teaching Chinese Kempo Gung-Fu in March 1977 and has been at the helm ever since.

Unlike some clubs that disband and reform at a later time, the club has been running solidly since it started and Johnny has not had a break from teaching in 40 years.

At the age of 61 Johnny is still training hard and continues to compete and take home medals for the club. In 2013 Johnny was awarded 8th Level Master, which is the highest grade possible in Chinese Kempo.

The club runs twice a week at Nirvana Fitness in Lowestoft, but has had many venues over the years including some in and around the Gorleston area. Unfortunately due to low numbers the last Gorleston club merged with the Lowestoft branch around 10 years ago.

Over the course of his martial arts career Johnny has taught more than 1,000 students, with the club reaching its highest numbers in the 80s when he taught a club of close to 100 students.

Unfortunately times have changed since the martial arts boom of the 70s and students don’t seem to have the drive and dedication that they once had.

In his experience Johnny says 70 per cent leave within six months, 25 per cent last a few years and get to intermediate level, and the other five per cent last over five years or more and reach a very high standard. Chinese Kempo has no shortcuts, so to get to the top takes effort and dedication.

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Chinese Kempo is a diverse style that covers self defence, forms, weapons and sparring and requires maintaining a high level of fitness.

Each student progresses at their own pace and learns to utilise a style that best complements their individual strengths and abilities.

Those who want to test their skills can enter tournaments with the club including the World Martial Arts Games.

The club entered the world games in 2015 when it was held in Attleborough and took home 22 medals.

Anyone who is interested in studying Chinese Kempo Gung-Fu should contact Johnny on 07776 200314 or drop by Nirvana Firness on Pinbush Road, Lowestoft, on a Monday or Wednesday evening at 7.30pm.