The Founder: Master Joe Kherliang

Kherliang Kung Fu Chiang Mai was created by Master Joe Kherliang, whose family and Kung Fu roots come from Tibet, Mongolia and China. Joe Kherliang (M. Jaruphong Laosuntornsub) was born at the Thai-Burmese border and migrated to Thailand with his family, who had to run from China during the Chinese Revolution. Master Joe started studying and practicing Kung Fu at the age of six and received teachings from his senior relatives on both his father’s and mother’s side. The Kung Fu he was taught, the Ké piang (Kherliang) style, is a family style that was passed on from generation to generation for over the years, starting with Master Santer, a famous martial arts practitioner. At this time, Kung Fu was still much more than self-defense, it was also a healing philosophy, a way of life and a spiritual path. Besides learning different Kung Fu forms and styles, Master Joe was also taught the art of abdominal breathing and meditation techniques to control and increase his chi (vital energy).

After he learned everything he could from his family, Joe Kherliang travelled for many years and studied with other skillful masters in Tibet, Mongolia, China (Beijing) and the surrounding countries. His Kung Fu therefore originated from his family, but also from other experienced masters. Master Joe was also a monk for about two years, first at the Benjamabopit Temple in Bangkok, and then at the Srisoda Temple in Chiang Mai, where he later married and started a family.

Master Joe Kherliang opened his first Kung Fu school in Chiang Mai about 20 years ago. It was known at the Tibetan Dragon Kung Fu Centre. His reputation travelled fast, and many Thais and foreigners came to receive his teachings. There were also many professional fighters from different fields who came from faraway places to measure their skills against his. He was never defeated.

Transmitting his knowledge and perpetuating the family tradition was a priority for Master Joe Kherliang, and he taught his art to his wife, Master Kay, and their three children, Joli, Jade and Um. Master Joe Kherliang passed away a few years ago, but his knowledge is still alive and transmitted through his wife and children. There are also a few other Kherliang Kung Fu schools in the world, including in Switzerland and Germany and Canada.

Master Kai

Master Kai (Ms Piyamit Prinyakit) was born in Lamphun, not far from the city of Chiang Mai. She met Master Joe about 25 years ago and started to study Kung Fu, Tai chi and Qi Gong with him. She has a deep knowledge of Kung Fu forms, applications, and techniques, and masters different instruments including the fan, the stick and the sword. Master Kai mostly specializes in teaching soft techniques such as Tai Chi and Qi Gong. She is also an experienced Thai yoga practitioner and teacher.

Master Jade

Jade (Mr Yotin Laosuntornsub), as his two sisters Joli and Um, represents the seventh generation of the Kherliang Kung Fu family. Jade started to learn Kung Fu when he was only three years old. As the boy of the family, he was thoroughly trained and he is the main recipient of Master Joe’s Kung Fu of the Kherliang Tibetan tradition. Jade masters different internal and external techniques including several animal styles, and he has a deep understanding of Kung Fu philosophy. Just like his mother, Master Kai, Jade’s dream is to perpetuate the Kherliang Tibetan Kung Fu style, in memory of his father and ancestors.

Family Tree

Father Line:



Mother Line: