Reviews & Testimonials
Coming to Altanta two years ago from Toledo, Ohio, I have had an amazing experience at PATHS.
Sifu Kiessling has such a deep knowledge of Chinese culture — history, traditions, language, medicine as well as martial arts.
As you move up the levels from basic, 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.
Small intimate setting is also supportive, but to get a good result you need to put in the time.
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 tutelage will challenge you physically and mentally, but you will be rewarded with growth in all aspects of your life.
I highly recommend to anyone interested in martial arts, or just looking for a way to be active and meet great people.
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, he is an AMAZING teacher! He has a wealth of knowledge and experience of various cultures and martial arts styles (not just Chinese) that really comes through both in and out of class.
It isn’t a stretch to say each class will teach you something new, even if you are just reviewing over skills you already know.
Classes contain everything from qigong and meditative techniques to forms to conditioning and everything in between. Something I’ve enjoyed very much is that we learn not only the how of things but also the why. Why you move this way, why you breath 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 the martial arts.
Summed up quickly, Try a Class! You won’t regret it!
My first time studying Kung fu & it was the best martial arts experience!
The ONLY reason I have to leave the class is that I’m moving to another state. I mean… I really love it here!
The teacher is GREAT. We not only learn how to fight & defend ourselves, we also learn how to become better people.
The class is awesome. 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 continue progressing with my Kung Fu & with self.
I’ve been practicing Northern Shaolin with PATHS Atlanta Kung Fu for about a year now and I highly recommend it for anyone interested in learning Kung Fu.
Class typically begin with a variety of stretching 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 really like how we learn how each movement in a form could be used practically. We will also learn meditative techniques, history of Northern Shaolin and other styles, and the theories behind our martial practice.
There is a lot of individual instruction in class. It is not uncommon for one student to be working on one thing while other students are practicing something else, but it never feels like you have been forgotten or excluded.
Also common is that other students will momentarily pause what they are doing to offer you guidance or answer your question.
The instructor is very knowledgeable, not just on Northern Shaolin but many other styles. Many times in class he will teach us some aspect of other styles for our martial education. We also are expected to learn the history of our lineage of Northern Shaolin which I think is really neat.
There are two unique things about our class that I absolutely love. First, the classes are outdoors. While sometimes in extreme weather (August heat and January cold) I wish we had an indoor space, I almost always enjoy practicing Kung Fu outdoors.
The second thing is the social aspect. Typically after class we go out for drinks and food. That aspect was a pleasant surprise as there I have really bonded with my fellow students and they all have interesting and diverse lives to learn about.
Overall it is a lot of fun learning a historic, traditional martial art with a great group of people. Additionally, you will get a good work out and 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.)
What an energizing class to get your blood pumping for Sunday morning.
Details are important to the teacher, so he WILL WORK you, so you may have a solid structure to start from.
A great Martial Arts Class for a beginner, like myself, or for those looking to advance to the next level.
It’s definitely a fun class with a bunch of cool people wanting to learn traditional martial arts.
I come mainly from a western boxing background, and was looking for something to supplement my training to help my flexibility and agility.
Having heard about Sifu Craig Kiessling’s class through a friend, I’ve undoubtedly been hooked ever since.
I must say this Kung Fu class offers one of the most complete systems for developing overall fitness and practical martial skills.
If you’re looking to get in great shape, this will do it!
Wonderful instructor and overall training environment!
This class is both challenging and fun, leaving you with a true sense of accomplishment when you finish a training session.
Just wanted to say what a rockin good time!
I hate hurting from muscle sore, but it feels good to hurt and move.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.