Warrior Heart Institute

Les and Noelle Conn founded the Zhan Shi Xin 戦士心 (Warrior Heart) institute for martial arts in Hong Kong in 1987. The modern structure continues on from a lineage of knowledge handed down from Master Guan Run Chang 關潤昌 to Les Conn and Huang Shao Juan 黃少娟 (Noelle) during their 20 year formal apprenticeship period.

By 1999 incubator schools were operating in Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. However, due to the government ban on Chinese throwing darts and other bladed weapons, Zhan Shi Xin 戦士心 moved its training centre away from Hong Kong in 2009. The institute is currently headquartered in South Africa.

As a result of rising rentals and COVID 19 restrictions, all overseas training is now conducted online through experimental groups. We are currently developing ways of passing intricate knowledge through this medium.

The Zhan Shi Xin 戦士心 research group also started in 1987. The purpose was for the academic research of Chinese martial arts history and culture. Through multi-disciplinary, multi-lingual research, the team has since made several historical discoveries that rewrite a key part of Chinese military history. The team are busy publishing their findings.

Master Guan Run Chang 關潤昌. 2003
Noelle and Les Conn with Master Guan 關潤昌 at the end of the 20 year apprenticeship.

Working Principles

Part of the Ballito adult group. 2021
The kids of the Ballito ninja program. 2018
  • Warrior Heart 戦士心 is for the development and preservation of Chinese martial culture as it was transmitted to us by our previous masters.
  • We wish to promote our art and make it more easily accessible to all, provided standards are not compromised.

  • The martial arts we teach must be effective for the user.

  • There are no ‘secrets’ held in Warrior Heart 戦士心. All knowledge and skills are open to anyone, and everyone, according to the layout of the curriculum and time spent training.


Our preceding Masters have left us with a hand written record of our martial art, our lineage, and the relevant history involved. The Warrior Heart 戦士心 record is comprised of hand written books and scroll manuscripts which date back seven generations to 1820. Each generation has carefully added their knowledge and experience without altering the essence of our warrior art.

This valuable resource enables us to reference knowledge that comes directly, untainted, and unbroken, from all our preceding Masters. There is no watering down of techniques and no loss in transmission. This is the only surviving written transmission of its kind in existence today. The true value of this work is immeasurable.

Ongoing restoration work, including digital records, will ensure our written heritage lasts for many years to come. We are also translating this library of knowledge for future generations of non Chinese practitioners to reference and appreciate.

Inherited documents describing the history and detail of our art.

Priceless Qing Dynasty scrolls in the Warrior Heart collection.

Lineage of knowledge