Tugra Shan Martial Arts

About Tugra Shan Martial Arts

Tugra Shan Martial Arts was established in Adelaide in 2001 by Kancho John Alford.  John has dedicated his life to mastering martial arts and has studied under some famous grandmasters from around the world.  With a lifetime of learning John has earned many accolades including the title of Kancho (Japanese meaning ‘Head of the Academy’) and teaches every class along with his assistant master teacher Sensei Scott Kelley.

Martial Arts Master Kancho John Alford

Having practised martial arts for over 40 years John has unrivalled expertise and knowledge across a wide range of martial arts.  John holds 6 different black belts to dan levels in multiple martial arts including Karate, Jujitsu, Muay Thai Kickboxing and Eskrima Stick fighting.  Whilst many martial arts are based on traditional combat and defensive methods, Kancho John created Tugra Shan Martial Arts as a modern and progressive style to reflect contemporary, realistic fighting and effective self-defence techniques.

Highly Effective Martial Arts Style

Kancho John uses the latest techniques from across a range of martial arts disciplines to ensure that every student large or small, strong or weak can defend and neutralise attacks in a wide range of situations from single or multiple attackers.

Tugra Shan Martial Arts Style

Tugra Shan Martial Arts classes are highly potent and effective as they teach a range of different martial arts proficiencies in a single class.  Students learn invaluable technical skills, stances, throws, blocks, takedowns and disarms designed to neutralise threats quickly and effectively.

JOHN ALFORD Martial Arts Adelaide

Martial Arts Styles We Teach

Kick Boxing

Kickboxing uses a combination of punches, kicks, Muay Thai (Thai boxing) and western boxing moves to create a fun, exciting and explosive sport.  We teach all eight weapons of Muay Thai including hands, feet, elbows and knees however, for safety’s sake we don’t encourage the use of elbows and knees during our sparring.  Our kickboxing incorporates punches, kicks, clinches, sweeps and grappling techniques.

Dynamic Kickboxing

We teach world-class dynamic kickboxing techniques and combination moves applying some of the world-famous champion’s combinations including Benny ‘The Jet’ Urquidez, Nicky Holzken, Joe ‘Bazooka’ Valtellini, Dutch Hammers Gyms kickboxing, Liam Harrison styles and many more.  Junior’s kickboxing uses light contact sparring with soft mitts and shin guards or boxing gloves and kickboxing shin instep protectors.  Whilst Junior classes are light sparring only, adults can choose from light, medium or full contact sparring.


Karate is a defensive style of martial arts that originated in Okinawa, Japan. Our training includes a range of defensive moves and counterattacks including punches, kicks, blocks, knee & elbow strikes along with open hand techniques.

Balance and footwork are a critical part of karate, so we teach various stances and footwork techniques for stability, speed and easy transitions into attacking and defensive moves.


Katas (a specific sequence of karate moves) are a major part of the art form, and we include katas from the world-famous Goju Kai in exciting and dynamic displays.  Our karate is taught in reality-based street effective applications and is continually evolving.


Jujitsu is a form of unarmed close-combat martial art developed for the Samurai in Japan. The main objective of Jujitsu is to get your opponent to the floor to neutralise any strength or size advantage. This martial arts style uses the attacker’s strength, momentum and size against them meaning smaller and weaker opponents can neutralise a threat from larger, stronger and heavier adversaries.

Traditional Jujitsu

Tugra Shan Martial Arts teaches dynamic traditional jujitsu skills including numerous throws, break falls, rolls, sweeps, combination and counter throws, chokes and defences, joint and wrist locks, finishing techniques, ground defences, and defence against multiple attackers.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art and combat sport based around ground fighting and submission holds.  It was developed by Brazilian brothers Carlos and Helio Gracie around 1920.  Just like jujitsu the artform was developed to allow smaller opponents to take down larger, stronger opponents.  In fact, the Gracie brothers who were of a smaller build became world famous for defeating some big names in the martial arts arena with this style of fighting.

Grappling, Holds & Submissions

Whilst traditional Jujitsu focuses on both standing and ground fighting techniques, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is heavily focused on the ground game. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu focuses heavily on grappling techniques, takedowns and floor-based locks, holds and submissions.  BJJ is particularly effective in street assault situations as many street fights/attacks often end up on the ground.

Martial Arts Weapons Training (Adults only)

Our weapons classes are taught during the last week of every month and include Filipino stick fighting, Japanese swordsmanship and occasionally knife defences.

Eskrima Stick Fighting

Eskrima stick fighting is one of the main martial arts in the Philippines and is a form of armed combat similar to sword fighting.  We teach the Filipino stick fighting style of Cacoy Doce Pares Eskrima created by world-famous SGM Cacoy Canette.

Stick Fighting Syllabus

Our stick fighting syllabus includes stick katas comprising strikes, blocks and defensive combinations.  Our defensive techniques cover stick against stick, empty hand against stick, stick disarms and defence against knives.   Classes focus on both mid and close-quarter fighting techniques using partner drills (pingki-pingki) and pukpok sparring (controlled sparring stick against stick).

Armoured & Kulta Sparring

Students have the opportunity to participate in stick sparring using full body armour headgear and hand gloves.  Students attempting first-degree black belts and above have the opportunity to participate in Kulta (no protection except headgear and hand gloves) sparring as part of their ongoing development.

Japanese Swordsmanship Iaijutsu

Iaijutsu Sword fighting was developed in Japan and is the combative quick draw art of traditional Japanese swordsmanship.  Kyoshi John Alford trained directly under world-famous Japanese Grandmaster Sekiguchi Komei who teaches the ancient and dynamic Muso Eishin Ryu Iaijutsu style of combat.

Tugra Shan Martial Arts Academy teach traditional Iaijutsu Japanese swordsmanship techniques including kata, cutting and blocking patterns, sword stances (kamae), controlled partner drills (kumitachi) along with basic sword sparring performed with safety  using  bokken (wooden swords) and saya (sheath).

Whilst we predominantly use bokken, students have the option to use blunt (Iaito) or shinken (live sharp blade) steel swords called katana as their training progresses.

Tugra Shan Martial Arts Belt Ranking System

All martial arts clubs use a ranking /grading system based on belts.  Different coloured belts signify specific martial arts goals and technical abilities. Beginners start at a white belt and progress through various coloured belts until they reach a black belt. Students then progress through our dan/degree black belt ranking system.

Dan/Degree Black Belt Ranking

Many people mistakenly believe that a black belt signifies mastery, this is far from the truth. Whilst a black belt is a highly significant achievement and a major milestone in ones learning it’s the beginning of a more advanced journey.

Mastery and titles such as Renshi, Shihan, Kyoshi, and Kancho must be earned through continued study taking additional black belt rankings called dans or degrees.  Dan/degree ranks denote the level of the black belt and many martial arts have up to 10 dan rankings.

Highly Trained Karate Masters

With some of the most experienced martial arts masters in Adelaide, Tugra Shan Martial Arts are known for their impeccable teaching standards, technical expertise and bringing out the best in our students.

Our coaches have trained under some of the best and world-renowned grandmasters, so we offer you unrivalled experience and expertise across the full range of martial arts. We take a professional approach to martial arts and all black belt dan gradings are based on physical gradings at every level.

We aim to make all our classes fun, exciting and dynamic whilst providing students with real skills and confidence to defend themselves in common street situations.