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YMAA Tai Chi and Internal Arts Curriculum
April 22, 2019
At YMAA, students learn qigong (energy cultivation) as part of their taiji or kung fu classes. In ancient times, Shaolin monks trained the cultivation of qi (energy), and realized muscular power could be enhanced to a tremendous level, making martial techniques more powerful and effective. This was the beginning of internal cultivation in Chinese martial arts, starting around 550 AD /CE. In internal styles, YMAA focuses mainly on traditional Yang-style taijiquan which originated from Yang, Ban-Hou (楊班候).
Kung Fu Body Conditioning - Upper Body
February 26, 2018
Body conditioning. It is painful and time consuming, yet it is essential for reaching high levels in martial arts. The upper extremities are used for striking, blocking, sensing, grabbing, breaking, lifting, etc. The list goes on, but don't forget that they are also vulnerable to all of the above.
Fighting Physics: The Mechanics of the Staff
February 13, 2017
Physics is one broad brushstroke of a topic! If we got technical, we could talk about how the atoms of the staff and the arrangement of the wood fibers along its length give the staff its unique characteristics, capabilities and combat effectiveness.
Easy Training Equipment for Staff Fun
December 5, 2016
Here is your opportunity to become the "Lord of the Rings" (sorry, I just couldn't help myself!). Training rings allow you to develop accurate, penetrating thrusts as well as circular techniques used in manipulation of an opponent's weapon. They are useful for training both staff and spear.
Combat with the Staff: The Moment of Truth
November 25, 2016
It is not unusual for sparring with the staff to feel awkward at first. There is a big difference between doing drills with a partner, and the chaos of combat against a non-compliant opponent who is trying his best to hit you. Stick with it.
What is Staff Fighting? - October 17, 2016
The staff has been a common weapon among the many cultures of Earth since ancient times. Over the ages, humans have used this basic weapon for self-defense and for contest.
The Art and Science of Staff Fighting - September 19, 2016
The staff, or bo, is one of the most common weapons in the martial arts.  Many karate schools include bo forms in their curriculum. I am here with Master Joe Varady, martial artist and weapons specialist, to talk about the staff.
Sai Design and Fighting Theory - January 27, 2016
The correct length and weight of the sai varies from individual to individual. Of course, as with any weapon, the longer and heavier it can be without compromising the handling, the better it is in a combat situation. As the proverb goes, "One inch longer, one inch stronger" (一寸長, 一寸強, Yī cùn cháng, yī cùn qiáng).
Sai: Ancient Marvel of a Weapon - December 7, 2015
Sai (釵, chāi) is perhaps most commonly known in popular culture today as the featured weapon of choice by the comic book characters Raphael of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Elektra of Marvel Comics. While it is not entirely clear how the sai was created as a weapon, it is widely accepted that the sai originated from mainland Asia several thousand years ago.
Protecting the Brain from Trauma: A Home Experiment to Show We Can Do Better - September 7, 2015
If you put on a football helmet right now and smacked yourself in the head with your hands, you might notice you can hit yourself pretty hard before you start to feel pain. You could even grab a stapler or a coffee mug and hit yourself with that. If you are like me, smacking yourself in the head is the first thing you do when you put a helmet on, just to test it out.
Purely Offensive Jing - July 27, 2015
Wardoff jing is a strong yang jing that is used offensively even in defense. In principle, it behaves like a large rubber ball—when pressure is applied, it compresses, and when a certain point is reached, it bounces the outside force away. The opponent's force is often directed upward; as you lift his attack the way water lifts a boat. This jing is often emitted at maximum strength in coordination with the sound ha. It may be done at all ranges, and is often used to bounce the opponent away. This application is forceful, but not directly destructive.
The Sword Structure - July 20, 2015
The sword consists of two parts: the blade and the hilt or handle. Both edges of the narrow-blade sword are sharp; the handle and sword body are always straight. The hand guard is always flat and perpendicular to the blade, rather than circular or oval. Usually, the sword is one continuous piece of metal, and the hand guard and handle are slipped onto the butt end (the tang) and held in place with a knot-shaped nut or with a pin or rivet.
The Different Jing and Their Applications - July 6, 2015
Jing can be expressed by the hands, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, legs, or even the body itself. Taijiquan emphasizes the upper limbs and the body, and uses the legs and feet as secondary weapons.
Different Levels of Qin Na Techniques - October 27, 2014
As with most Chinese martial arts, qin na is composed of many different levels, according to different criteria or standards. I would like to define these standards according to several different systems of categorization. First, the levels of qin na techniques can be divided according to how much a person understands the technique and the technical difficulty of the technique executed.
About the Sword - July 14, 2014
Many martial artists, even those who have studied Chinese martial arts for many years, still have a number of questions about the structure, use, history, and geographical background of the Chinese straight sword (jian).
Teaching Kung Fu to Kids and Teens - January 6, 2014
I teach primarily in my own kung fu studio. I am the owner, head coach and program designer. I pay the bills, open the doors in the morning and lock them at the end of the day. It's very much 'my house'. More recently, I've also been teaching classes at a local middle school. It is an environment, which has its own rules and procedures. I am a guest instructor for a 45 minute once a week program. As a result I am very much an outsider coming into someone else's house.
Qin Na in Chinese Martial Arts - September 16, 2013
Nobody can tell exactly when Qin Na was first used. It probably began the first time one person grabbed another with the intention of controlling him. Grabbing the opponent's limbs or weapon is one of the most basic and instinctive ways to immobilize him or control his actions.
Fundamental Sword Training and Practice - September 2, 2013
Jian is the king of the short weapons. Skill in the use of the Jian is built on a foundation of skill with the saber, which is called the root of the short weapons. Any martial artist who wants to master the Jian should first master the saber; otherwise it will be extremely difficult to understand the applications of the techniques and the source of the power in sword practice.
Yang Martial Arts Center Equals Hard Work and Time - August 19, 2013
Dr. Jwing-Ming Yang, PhD., has dedicated his life to Chinese martial arts. He's the head of Yang's Martial Arts Association, which boasts more than 50 academies in America and Europe.
Ancient Chinese Weapons and Martial Artists - August 12, 2013
Chinese martial arts have evolved in China for over 5,000 years. This evolution has been experienced not only by the many schools of barehanded fighting, but also by a wide variety of weapons practitioners. As various types of weaponry have evolved, so have the materials and techniques for their fabrication.
Training Theories of Southern White Crane Styles - August 13, 2012
Training theories are the root of every style. From understanding these theories, the actions or techniques are derived. If you train contrary to Crane style theories, then the techniques you are performing cannot be considered Crane style.
White Crane Gongfu Training Key Points - August 7, 2012
The Crane is a weak animal without much strength to use in fighting. However, when necessary, it can defend itself very effectively. A Crane defending itself relies on only three things: the ability to jump, the breaking power of its wings, and the pecking of the beak.
Key Points of Shaolin White Crane Kung Fu - August 6, 2012
The Crane is a weak animal without much strength to use in fighting. However, when necessary, it can defend itself very effectively. A Crane defending itself relies on only three things: the ability to jump, the breaking power of its wings, and the pecking of the beak.
Body Conditioning - Wrist Training - March 28, 2011
If one is to be a true martial artist, one must train their body accordingly to their art. By conditioning, the body becomes stronger and more resistant, making conditioning an essential part of any self defense discipline. When conditioning we must see all the reasons for which we want to condition.
Kung Fu Nuns - February 7, 2011
The nuns at the Druk Gawa Khilwa Nunnery in Nepal train kung fu each day in the early morning. A few years ago, several Vietnamese nuns were asked to visit the nunnery in Nepal to teach Kung Fu there. Another Drukpa nunnery in northern India has expressed interest, and the Vietnamese nuns will go there to teach as well.
The Value of Practicing Sequences - November 14, 2010
As a martial artist goes through training, they will encounter many years of practicing sequences. A sequence, (Quan Tao), is a continuous flowing routine made up of a number of defensive and offensive techniques. Japanese systems often call this a Kata (or literally: "form").
Ancient Short Weapons - October 18, 2010
Short weapons can be divided into two classes based on length. Very short weapons measure less than two Chi (approximately two feet). Often they are no longer than the distance from the hand to the elbow. While short weapons range in length from two to five Chi.
Daoism and the Sword (道教和劍, Dao Jiao He Jian) - October 4, 2010
Many people wonder why martial arts are practiced by religions like Buddhism and Daoism that teach about compassion and humility. The idea of a warrior monk seems contradictory because in people’s minds the martial arts are linked with violence.
Ancient Chinese Weapons - August 30, 2010
A country as vast as China encompasses many types of terrain. Whereas deserts and high plateaus cover the northern territory, mountain ranges dominate the west. The southeast coast and central zones, favored by the Chinese for thousands of years, are lush and warm with many lakes, ponds and rivers.
A Month at the YMAA Retreat Center - July 26, 2010
I lived and trained at the YMAA Retreat Center for the month of March 2010. Close to the end, Dr. Yang asked me to write something about my experience there. Now, sitting in a café in my beautiful hometown in Germany, I think about the time spent there.
Seize the Opportunity with Chin Na—Part 2 - July 19, 2010
A Chin Na expert must also know how to escape from an opponent's Chin Na control, and be able to counterattack and reverse the situation. To escape from an opponent's control, you must master several techniques in addition to those explained in the previous section.
Seize the Opportunity with Chin Na—Part 1 - July 12, 2010
Chin Na literally means "seize control." Chin Na covers a wide scale of defensive and offensive techniques, from very fundamental hand grappling to the very advanced Dim Mak. The fundamental techniques can be learned by any martial artist or even by someone without any martial arts experience.
The Differences Between San Shou Shuai Jiao and Other Styles of Wrestling - July 5, 2010
Technically speaking, the foundation and basic principles of San Shou Shuai Jiao are based on traditional Chinese wrestling (Chuan Tong Shuai Jiao) and adapted for combat training. San Shou Shuai Jiao techniques and principles are very simple, effective and—most important—quick.
The Original Shaolin Monk - June 7, 2010
The Shaolin Temple is regarded as the birthplace of Zen and Kung Fu—the first place in history to combine the training of a warrior with the spiritual practices of a monk. The beginning of this unique tradition is attributed to the monk Bodhidharma (Da Mo in Chinese, Daruma in Japanese) who visited China as a Buddhist missionary around A.D. 520.
Kung Fu Wrestling: Shuai Jiao (摔跤) - April 5, 2010
Shuai Jiao is a Chinese fighting style with over 4,000 years of history. It specializes in countering against punching and kicking, using defense as the offense. Shuai Jiao is commonly used for short range fighting and throwing down an opponent.
Grandmaster Li, Mao-Ching (李茂清) - March 29, 2010
Grandmaster Li, Mao-Ching (李茂清) was born in Qingdao city (青島市), China, on July 5, 1927. He first began training martial arts in 1934 when he was eight years old, under the instruction and guidance of his father and his cousin Shang, Huan.
My Experience Training at YMAA - March 22, 2010
I have been training at the YMAA School in Boston, Mass. for Kung Fu for over seven years. I am 13 years old. I am currently in the third of ten ranks in the adult Shaolin class, meaning I have three stripes. I still remember the first class that I attended when I was only 6 years old.
Ancient Chinese Traditions Preserved; Retreat Center Invites Community - February 22, 2010
Nestled in the hills above Salmon Creek west of Miranda, the YMAA Retreat Center is possibly better-known throughout the world than it is in Southern Humboldt. Dr. Yang hopes to change that by reaching out to the community, inviting residents to participate in training and sending his students to teach others in local schools.
YMAA France (French) - January 27, 2010
Notre école est née de la rencontre en octobre 1990 de quelques karatékas du fameux club de Karaté nommé le shobudo ou la montagne avec le Dr Yang Jwing Ming. Ses visites régulières et la venue pendant 6 mois de M. Ramel Rones ont permis d'ouvrir officiellement la YMAA France en Mars 1994.
History of Shaolin Long Fist Kung Fu - December 30, 2009
The first Shaolin Buddhist Temple was built in 377 AD on Shaoshi Mountain (少室山) in Deng Feng (登封) county of Henan (河南) province, by order of Emperor Wei (魏). Bodhidharma (菩提達摩), or Da Mo, came to Shaolin from India to teach Buddhism around 527 AD.
YMAA Poland (Polish) - October 14, 2009
YMAA Polska powstała w 1986 roku po pierwszej wizycie dr Yang Jwing-Minga w Polsce. Była to pierwsza szkoła YMAA poza granicami USA.
O Treino na YMAA Portugal (Portuguese) - June 1, 2009
O treino na Ymaa Portugal aborda três áreas distintas, formando classes com características peculiares e uma entidade distinta.
Trainingsprogramma YMAA België (Dutch) - April 1, 2009
Bij YMAA België worden er drie stijlen gevechtskunsten beoefend: Shaolin zuidelijke Witte Kraanvogel (Baihequan of Bai He Chuan), Shaolin Lange Vuist (Changquan of Chang Chuan) en Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan). Het zijn alle drie traditionele stijlen die al honderden jaren bestaan.
Insights into Modern Day Martial Arts Training - February 17, 2009
Training does have to be adjusted and changed for modern day, but the principles and essence should remain the same. We are constantly striving to preserve the teachings of our masters, and we should be very cautious when to modify them.
The Profound Art of Chinese Sword (Jian) - February 9, 2009
The Jian (Cantonese: gim), a narrow-blade, double-edged sword, has been respected as the “King of Short Weapons” in China for millennia. Wielding the Jian requires the highest of skill, and the sword user must strive to the heights of spirit and morality.
Martial Arts in the 21st Century - Part 3 of 3 - January 22, 2009
There has been a clear and obvious downward shift in the average skill level of students, and even masters, of today compared to the masters and students of old.
Martial Arts in the 21st Century - Part 2 of 3 - January 15, 2009
In ancient times, many students would unconditionally sacrifice their lives to their training and beg masters to take them, often striving to prove themselves worthy for many weeks, months or years before they were accepted.
Martial Arts in the 21st Century - Part 1 of 3 - January 8, 2009
My Long Fist grandmaster, Grandmaster Li, Mao-Ching, spent 23 years and 1 month in the Chinese military during harsh wartime conditions while he trained everyday.
Training a Sequence Efficiently - August 12, 2008
Over the years I have seen many people train many times a week on regular basis, yet make very little progress in their martial arts ability. They spend a lot of time practicing their sequences, yet after many months of practicing their sequences they have made very little progress.
Teaching Kids Can be Child’s Play - July 3, 2008
Any successful martial arts school can be enhanced through the development of a children’s program.
Teaching Kids Can be Child’s Play - July 3, 2008
Any successful martial arts school can be enhanced through the development of a children’s program.
Martial Arts Conditioning and Fighting - Part 2 - May 14, 2008
Traditional martial arts is not supposed to be glamorous, and conditioning is not a very glamorous process, being a very repetitive and monotonous type of exercise requiring many years of training.
Martial Arts Conditioning and Fighting - Part 2 - May 14, 2008
Traditional martial arts is not supposed to be glamorous, and conditioning is not a very glamorous process, being a very repetitive and monotonous type of exercise requiring many years of training.
Martial Arts Conditioning and Fighting - Part 1 - May 9, 2008
Through many years of history, experience, and practice, martial artists realized that in a fight, there are generally three factors that determine victory.
Martial Arts Conditioning and Fighting - Part 1 - May 9, 2008
Through many years of history, experience, and practice, martial artists realized that in a fight, there are generally three factors that determine victory.