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Reviews & Testimonials

Reviews and Testimonials can help people get a better picture. What Our Students Say about our Kung Fu training and more can be found below.

We LOVE our students, past & present. And it seems we’re Okay with them too. 🙂 Read below what some of our Kung Fu students have to say about training with Sifu Craig and our Kung Fu classes

I have been training under Sifu Craig Kiessling for about nine years now, so as you might imagine, I’m a fan. 🙂

If you are looking for a good workout, this is the place for you! You’ll get much more than expected.

Kung Fu has helped me increase my self-confidence, become more physically fit, build a stronger work ethic, and create strong relationships with people I can trust. I would highly recommend it. 

Bennett W.

Coming to Atlanta two years ago from Toledo, Ohio, I have had a great experience at PATHS.

Sifu Kiessling has a deep knowledge of Chinese culture, its history, traditions, language, and medicine, in addition to the martial arts.
As you move up the levels from beginner, he pushes you to explore applications from the forms so that you figure it out for yourself like a puzzle.

I had trained for almost five years previously in a different Northern Shaolin lineage, but my knowledge and skills have improved dramatically here

The small and intimate setting is supportive. But to get good results, you need to put in the time outside of Kung Fu class.

Todd M.

I had to leave Atlanta for work sooner than I would have liked, but I loved my time at PATHS and would have stayed forever if I could.

Sifu Craig’s training will challenge you physically and mentally, but it will reward you with growth in all aspects of your life.

I highly recommend it to anyone interested in martial arts or just looking for a way to be active and meet great people

Matt T.

I’ve been a student in the Northern Shaolin Kung Fu curriculum since mid-2014 and have loved every minute of it.

The teacher, Craig Kiessling, is not just a good teacher but an AMAZING teacher! He has a wealth of knowledge and experience of various cultures and martial arts styles (not just Chinese) that comes through both in and out of class.

It isn’t a stretch to sayeach class will teach you something new, even if you’re reviewing skills you already know.

Classes contain everything from qigong and meditative techniques to forms to conditioning and everything in between. We learn not only the how of things but also the why. Why you move this way, why you breathe out with this movement, why you should relax as you do this, etc.

He is not a teacher who will have you do something without meaning. Everything has a purpose. That is a definite plus that isn’t always the case in the realm of martial arts.

Summed up quickly, Try a Class! You won’t regret it! 

Justin F. 

My first time studying Kung fu & was the best martial arts experience!

I’m moving to another state which is the ONLY reason I have to leave the class. I mean. I love it here!

The teacher is GREAT. We not only learn how to fight & defend ourselves, but we also learn how to become better people.

The class is super fun. Very loving & friendly. I’ve felt super comfortable since day one. I’m stronger mentally, physically, & spiritually because of the class. 🙂

I’m pretty sad to leave, but they’ve given me so much to take with me so I can progress with my Kung Fu & with myself.

Key J. 

I’ve been practicing Northern Shaolin with PATHS Atlanta Kung Fu for about a year. And I highly recommend it to anyone interested in learning Kung Fu.

Classes begin with a variety of exercises and a circuit drill for conditioning. Following that we get into the substance of Nothern Shaolin Kung Fu.

There is a heavy emphasis on applications from forms. I like how we learn how each movement in a form is a world of martial knowledge.

There is a lot of individual instruction in class. One student might be practicing a combination, while other students are drilling applications. Yet it never feels like you’re overlooked or excluded.

Also interesting is the idea that students help each other. One may pause what they are doing to offer you guidance or answer your question.

The instructor is very knowledgeable about other styles besides Northern Shaolin. Many times in class he will teach us some aspect of other styles for our martial education. We must learn the history of our lineage of Northern Shaolin, which is pretty cool.

There are two unique things about our class that I love. First, the classes are outdoors. I almost always enjoy practicing Kung Fu outdoors. But sometimes extreme weather – August heat and January cold, for example – I wish we had an indoor space.

The second thing is the social aspect. Often after class, we go out for drinks and food. That was a pleasant surprise, as I have really bonded with my fellow students. They all have interesting and diverse lives to learn about.

Altogether, it is a lot of fun learning a historic, traditional martial art with a great group of people. Additionally, you will get a good workout. It will get you into shape (I have had many friends note that I look to be in the best shape in a long time.).

Robert P.

It’s such an energizing way to get your blood pumping on a Sunday morning!

“The magic is in the details,” the teacher will say. He WILL WORK you, so you have a solid structure to start.

It’s a great Martial Arts Class for beginners like myself or those looking to advance to the next level.

It’s a fun class with cool people wanting to learn traditional martial arts.

Amphay P.

I came from a western boxing background and wanted to supplement my training. I needed to improve my flexibility and agility.

A friend suggested I try a class, so I gave it a try. And I never looked back.

This Kung Fu class has “the most complete” system for fitness that I’ve ever seen. Students develop practical martial skills via various drills.

If you are looking to get in great shape, this will do it! The instructor is great, and so is the training environment!

This class is both challenging and fun. It leaves you with a true sense of accomplishment when you finish a training session. 


I just wanted to say what a rocking good time!

I hate hurting from muscle soreness, but it feels good to hurt yet move.

Sean S. 

I first came to Northen Shaolin Kung Fu last Thanksgiving. Since then I have dove in headfirst attending an average of two classes per week.

This was due to the many benefits I began to notice.

The things I was learning here translated immediately over to my other practices (Taichi, Qigong, etc.). Stubborn physical issue I had been unable to address slowly began to improve from the conditioning we practice.

Looking back, so much positive changes have occurred in such a short time physically, mentally, and emotionally.

The friends I quickly made after starting have become as brothers (and sister!) through the training and experiences we’ve shared…

Like the time we were invited to perform some demonstrations. We quickly rallied a program and drilled the snot out of it. Even though it seemed like a long shot, we pulled together and made it happen. Or the time we were stuck holding one legged stances when discussing the finer points of each stance.

Even when (maybe especially when) we have setbacks (e.g. failing a test) so much development is squeezed from the experience that it doesn’t feel like a loss.

A typical class encompasses education in traditional aspects of Chinese culture (language, Wu De (martial virtue) protocol, philosophy, history, etc), thorough varied warm up exercises, strengthening and conditioning circuit drills, Qigong & meditations, level-specific material practice, group applications & stance drilling, and then some.

We wrap up each class with a group discussion to help solidify a take home to practice and think on till next session.

In short, this is a great place to train with really good people and I’m very excited to see how much farther I can push myself here.

Drew B.

Traditional Kung Fu? LOOK NO FURTHER.

If you’re like me, you’ve been taking lessons from a few different instructors or schools in the area…but perhaps you’ve been looking for something a little special.

For me, it’s always been traditional, with a specific emphasis on Shaolin arts.

Folks, training with Shifu Craig Kiessling is as real as it gets!

He is without a doubt a powerful martial artist, but also a wisened teacher and very down to earth. He’s very understanding and works with you as an individual.

It’s not about who can perform such-and-such form at breakneck speed. Rather, training with Kiessling is all about learning your body mechanics and becoming aware of the potential within.

This is the very essence of training, in my opinion. As for the speed, that will come in time. But as the instructor is apt to say, this is all about personal development.

If you have even the slightest curiosity in Northern Shaolin (Bei Shaolin / Bak Siu Lum) Kung Fu, do yourself a favor and come to a class, meet the extended family, and begin an exciting path of traditional Chinese martial arts.

You will find a truly excellent teacher in Shifu Kiessling, and I dare say one of the very best anywhere.

Kayvan S.

Have I ever told you how valuable everything you’ve taught me has been?

How it’s all still part of my life, even to how I do simple movements?

I feel like I’ve internalized a lot of the basic principles; alignment, relaxation, balance, the Taiji / Tai Chi organic flow, torque…

And they show up at the most unexpected times!

Anyway, Thank You!

Bob K.

Moving to Atlanta from Florida, I’ve visited with most of the Kung Fu schools in the area while trying to choose where I wanted to continue my training and THIS INSTRUCTOR IS UNQUESTIONABLY ONE OF THE BEST!

His classes excel in attention to detail, refinement of technique, practicality of skill and serious conditioning while at the same time maintain a jovial sense of play.

The training group is really more of a family than anything else: there to celebrate each others’ accomplishments and assist one another when you’re having a hard time with something. I’ve definitely found my home with this group.

Phillip L.

My history with Sifu Kiessling goes back more than 20 years.

This is closer to traditional Northern Shaolin Kung Fu training than most people ever get to experience.

This is NOT your strip mall Martial Arts training center where the more money you spend – the better color belt you get.

Sifu Kiessling is a no-nonsense practitioner and his desire for excellence in training definitely shows.

This class is 100% about the old saying “No Pain, No Gain!”

Students will definitely come away from his classes sore, but with a much deeper understanding of Martial Applications and philosophy, something strip-mall centers can’t hope to touch.

Jason W.

This was the first time that my wife and I had taken a Kung Fu class. And we’re not even from Atlanta, GA!

The conversation came up in the midst of travels throughout the Southeast on business. “Let’s try Kung Fu together.”

Knowing it was a long-shot, we contacted a few schools and told them the truth: We can’t be long-term students, but we’d like to see what Kung Fu is all about.

Sifu Kiessling is the only one who replied with a Yes. ????

It was way better than expected. The instructor is very skilled and knowledgeable and somehow made us fall in love with it. We decided that we have a lot to learn and can’t wait to find a place in our home town to continue the journey.

My wife and I spoke after a couple of classes and decided that if we were living in the Atlanta area, this is definitely where we’d want to be and we would recommend it to anyone!

Thank you for being so welcoming in such a different environment for us!

Paul & Tammy

I’ve been attending Tai Chi classes at PATHS for 5 months-ish now.

While most students study Northern Shaolin and Tai Chi together, I only attend the latter.

I’m in it for the physical and mental health more than the external or martial application.

The class format has been updated during my time here and for the better in my opinion.

We warm up, learn forms together, have instructor-informed but group-led discussions of the principles of Taijiquan as well as Traditional Chinese Medicine and other relevant fields, and we close out with Qigong and reflection.

You have to practice between these classes. Craig (sifu) is a wealth of knowledge.

He is generous with his time and patient with his instruction. The advanced students are welcoming and incredibly helpful.

It is outdoors, which is an asset I believe. The classes are small -also a huge plus.

It is deep and it takes time -big, big plus for being real. If you’re curious about Tai Chi and seeking a traditional format to learn it you should take advantage of the free class offering.

I’m happy I did and I’m staying with it.

Benn D.

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