Jeet Kune Do (JKD) in Birmingham

As you would expect with a major city like Birmingham, there are multiple options for learning Jeet Kune Do here. Nigel Tropman runs a branch of the late Dave Carnell’s Impact JKD academy, and John Hennessy offers tuition via his 1-2-1 School of Martial Arts.

John Hennessy – The 1-2-1 School of Martial Arts, Birmingham

John Hennessy, Birmingham John runs a school of various arts including Karate, Tai Chi, Wing Chun and Jeet Kune Do in the Hamstead / Great Barr area of North Birmingham. He focusses on private tuition in order to provide each student with maximum value, much like Bruce Lee did in his final years. He’s also the author of several books, and has a YouTube channel that’s well worth watching to see if his style seems right for you.


YouTube: @GuoWushu

Location: Old Walsall Road, Great Barr, Birmingham, B42 1DF

I’ve never met the guy but have been following him on YouTube for some years, since I was based in Birmingham myself and there’s not many JKD teachers to choose from there. I once enquired about his classes but was met with unusually lengthy reading & writing procedures to follow. He’s an intelligent guy, and I would say he’s more on the theoretical side than the practical side in terms of Tai Chi, Wing Chun and JKD, however he also has a background in sport karate so it’s not all so one-sided. All in all, he has an unusual approach to training and a rare perspective to share – some people will appreciate it more than others – I have tried to keep an open mind about it myself, and I do still find myself looking forward to his videos. Because I believe a good teacher remains a student for life, and a good student can learn something from anyone, and the best approach to dealing with people who are so different from ourselves is to humbly get to know them better.

Nigel Tropman – Birmingham Impact JKD

Nigel Tropman, Birmingham Nigel Tropman has been running Jeet June Do classes in Birmingham on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings, as well as MMA classes on Mondays and Thursdays. He was a student of the late Dave Carnell who in turn was a student of Cass Magda, who in turn learnt JKD from Dan Inosanto who trained a lot with Bruce Lee.

Website: (down for maintenance)

Facebook: (still active)

Location: Birmingham (contact him for details)

I visited Nigel about a decade ago to check out his JKD tuition. We had an interesting interaction, and a little debate about a couple of things. He was big on sparring, and was more of a western boxer than Wing Chunner. He wanted me to tuck my head into my shoulder more than I was comfortable doing when throwing a jab – a lot of boxing coaches have this approach, and it might suit some people but it doesn’t suit me. Aside from smacking me a few times in an attempt to prove the value of sparring (which as far as I see, only backfired and proved my point about the downside to sparring) it was otherwise a friendly & cordial interaction.

To elaborate, he was gloved up and threw a few shots around my ears, I blocked and countered them, landing a hand under his chin and a foot under his nuts before anything landed on me. In my mind this was conclusive and there was no need to continue. He, not acknowledging this, continued to throw shots around my ears. I didn’t bother blocking them any more, I waited for him to come to his senses and stop. Soon he stopped, and proceeded to suggest how he landed a few shots so I need to do more sparring to get used to riding shots. I, now slightly concussed by his inappropriate shots, said those shots would never have been thrown, let alone caused any damage, if I didn’t hold back on my own shots earlier which were neatly placed near the targets to avoid hurting him. He conceded this may be true but it’s not guaranteed, which is a fair comment although I do hit very hard, I’m not a point scorer, I have a KO oriented approach and the power to back it up. I’m explosive but lack stamina, so I’m never going to fight any other way. This is the drawback to sparring, and this was what I was saying to him earlier that day – it builds misconceptions – people think they can get away with things that they can’t, because padded hard sparring and unpadded light sparring both mask the true effect of unpadded hard hitting, causing people to train a lot of inappropriate & ineffective stuff (like energy-wasting point-scoring shots and exposed scrappy clinching etc).

To clarify, I am not advocating the complete dismissal of sparring – it has its place – I believe in both forms of sparring that Bruce Lee demonstrated at Long Beach in 1967: unpadded ultralight technical sparring (freestyle chi sau incorporating takedowns) plus fully padded hard sparring. I’m just saying all forms of sparring breed misconceptions that need to be acknowledged and mitigated. We should avoid inappropriate forms of sparring, to avoid being injured (there is a protocol to good sparring, including agreeing on how hard it will be, and what constitutes a success worthy of stopping & resetting); and we should avoid over sparring, even in the better ways, to avoid developing a sparring mentality that rubs off in real conflicts, since it undermines the pacifist mentality and is ridden with presumptions that leave us wide open to unorthodox attacks and unconventional warfare tactics (which ultimately killed Bruce Lee, by the way).

Alternative options

It’s now been many years since I first researched JKD teachers in Birmingham and started putting this page together. I no longer live in Birmingham, but have left this information here in case anyone finds it useful. If you find the above teachers are difficult to contact or don’t quite offer what you seek, and you want to explore other options, perhaps consider training with me down in Swanage on the south coast of England, or wait till I next visit Birmingham – feel free to get in touch using the form at the bottom of this page.