Wu Dao (Cristian Lopez)
Cristian is an experienced teacher with a unique understanding of the Chinese internal health and martial arts. In 2000, he founded the first Wudang martial arts school in the UK, “Wudang Principles UK”, and has hosted events taught by world renowned martial arts masters. In 2017, this same school continues under its new name of the Five Elements Academy.
Cristian lopez (Daoist name “Wu Dao”) has over thirty years of experience in the internal martial and healing arts, including Taiji, Tui Na (Chinese massage), meditation, and other Chinese internal health arts.
He has enjoyed a varied career working as an actor in the circus and theatre, as a drama therapist, teacher, and instructor. Throughout his extensive career in theatre anthropology, physical theatre and dance, he never ceased his lifelong fascination with the martial and internal health arts and the benefit they could offer society.
Cristian has devoted his life to helping others less fortunate. For most of his life he has worked with refugee children, through drama therapy and Chinese internal health arts. Cristian has also worked with vulnerable adults, health industries, the NHS, Schools, colleges, university sports centres, and cultural centres around the UK and abroad.
Nowadays, Cristian works alongside schools, the NHS, Councils, and volunteers at a recovery centre for drug and alcohol abuse. He is devoted completely to helping others from vulnerable groups and the community as a whole, both to alleviate immediate suffering and in pursuit of a better, happier world.
Captivated at the young age of 12 by a martial arts sticker album he discovered, left behind by a previous occupant in his new home he knew his destiny was written for him. Since then he has trained continuously for over thirty years in a variety of martial arts under instructors such as Enrique Quiroz (Karate, Gojo Ryu and Kenpo), Yang Hong (Original Family Yang Style Taiji), Chen Lei (Chen style Taiji), Ismet Himmet, Master Tan Li Long, Master Shi Fei, John Barbery, Norman Torok, Jacob Isaksson, as well as Peter Jones, Earl Montague and Grand Master Chen Xiao Wang (Chen Style).
Cristian’s martial expertise is informed by his extensive studies Theatre Anthropology including studying Peking Opera and other arts that formed some of the original underpinnings of the Chinese martial arts, as well as his former work as a Circus Clown and Actor. Now with more than thirty years experience, Cristian is an experienced teacher with a unique understanding of the Chinese internal health and martial arts. In 2000, he founded the first Wudang martial arts school in the UK, “Wudang Principles UK”, and has hosted events taught by world renowned martial arts masters. In 2015, this same school continues under its new name of Five Elements Academy
Neil Diggle has been practicing martial arts since his childhood and has been studying Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Dao Yin Yoga and meditation continuously under Christian Lopez instruction for over ten years. He began his journey at a young age when he went to Judo lessons in his home town of Hayle in Cornwall where he grew up.
In his teenage years he then moved with his parents to Stubbington in Hampshire where he started practicing Kung Fu Chinese Kick Boxing with Zheng Dao Lo Martial Arts Academy where he achieved several medals in full contact and form work. As an adult he moved to Southsea and continued to practices martial arts in his spare time.
Neil career within the health and social care industry started in the new millennium as a support worker for people with complex health needs and sever learning disabilities; during this time he achieved his Level 3 NVQ in Health and Social Care. Neil has a very caring and empathetic nature and is very sociable and friendly. It was around this time when he started his journey with Christian at Wudang Principles UK which is now Five Elements Academy.
In 2008 Neil had a very serious accident after falling down some stairs on his Birthday which left him with an acquired brain injury. It was touch and go; he died twice and was in a coma for 3 weeks after a Craniotomy. In a split second his life had changed and nothing would be the same again. Neil was left with many personal challenges to overcome including memory loss, cognitive dissonance and changes to his personality. He also found that he had physical challenges to overcome which included being numb down his right side, similar to what people experience after a stroke. This was a neurological break which left his core strength and mobility seriously compromised!
After Neil’s accident he found it difficult to adjusting to having a hidden disability and his rehabilitation and recovery was very difficult. He not only had to adapt to being a totally different person but also experienced break downs in relationships, not being capable to work, being homeless and then having to navigate the benefits system to get the support he was entitled to.
Although this journey was unplanned Neil eventually found himself again; through his continued practice of Tai Chi movement and breathing work which helped his recovery and personal development. In 2018 Neil was delighted to be awarded a Diploma in Tai Chi, Qi Gong and Dao Yin Yoga from Five Elements Academy in acknowledgement for his continuous personal development and practice over ten years which qualified him as a Tai Chi Instructor.
Neil is a very competent instructor leading small to large groups of students with public liability £10 Million and personal indemnity £1 Million insurance. Neil covers Christian’s classes in his absences at Summerstown Central Community Hub and Eastney Community Centre, Portsmouth. Neil has also covered and led Dao Yin Yoga Classes in Pure Gym, Portsmouth.
Neil has set up and leads Tai Chi Classes on:
. Monday morning class at Mountbatten Centre 9:30 am a class that embraces Tai Chi and Qi gong for complete beginners.
Wednesday afternoon class at Langstone Court, Drayton – a luxury gated community with small exclusive Tai Chi class for those capable of sitting and standing to music for 1 hour tailored to the elderly residents requirements.
Friday Morning class at Bucklands Community Centre, Portsmouth – a well-established large community group of approximately 40+ Tai Chi class of gentle exercise to music for 1 hour comprising of intro, warm up, Qi Gong stretching and breathing, Tai Chi movements (Pang, Lu, Ji, An) warm down, meditation and questions.
Alternate Saturday Midday Class at various locations in Portsmouth – a new National Lottery funded activity group set up by SHIFT which is a peer support and activity group open to anyone who identifies as experiencing mental or emotional destress. This is a Tai Chi class of gentle exercise to music for 1 hour as above.
- Other events include Tai-Chi workshops provided at Mayville High School in Portsmouth during a multi-cultural event July 2019.