Why your teacher is not God - The infallibility illusion in traditional martial arts
December 18, 2023
It is easy to fall into the trap of seeing our martial arts masters as infallible or near-invincible in skill. However, this mindset is not just erroneous, but downright dangerous too. The following article will explain why.
Taiwan, Teachers, & Training: An Interview with Yang Jwingming ~ Part 2
March 14, 2022
Now that you have provided us with some fascinating background details dealing with family, studies, and work, I'd like to focus on your martial art studies. What exactly got you interested in these arts? Please provide some details about your very first teacher.
Taiwan, Teachers, & Training: An Interview with Yang Jwingming ~ Part 1
March 7, 2022
The name Dr. Yang Jwingming became known to many because of his early publications dealing with Taijiquan. Despite some editorial faults expected in early works by a native-Chinese speaker who was a novice to publishing, his pioneering volumes offered insights and experience into the art that captivated thousands.
Working Together: Teaching Online
March 26, 2021
Online teaching has been trending throughout the pandemic. YMAA instructors Jonathan Chang and Michelle Lin share their experiences providing virtual teaching pre-pandemic until now, as well as hosting a global Martial Arts Virtual Camp. I sat down with them recently (virtually of course) to discuss all this and what they are planning for the future.
Bam Commandments: Spiritual Principles
February 15, 2021
It’s the first of the month in the tough ghetto neighborhood. It’s payday for the poor. The welfare check has arrived, and the drug dealers can’t wait. It’s also their payday, and they can easily estimate $20,000-$50,000 in income. This might seem exaggerated, but it’s not. This dealing goes on every day, and with this business comes violence, guns, and murder for those in top positions of power.
Know the Land, Know the Martial Arts History of Vietnam - September 28, 2020
Vietnam has a land mass close to 332,000 square kilometers, it borders China to the north, mainland Southeast Asia to the west and has hundreds of kilometers of coastline. As a result, the region has long been seen as a strategically and economically valuable resource. The modern incarnation of Vietnam was first amalgamated by military expansion southwards throughout the seventeenth century, giving the country its distinct "S" shape. Meanwhile, the northern borders have had very little modification since the withdrawal of the Song Dynasty in 1070.
Vietnamese Martial Arts and Their Role in the Modern World - July 24, 2020
The land we now know as Vietnam has been defined by centuries of conflict. Within the modern-day borders of the country, countless battles for dominance, resources and survival have taken place, thus ensuring the development of many unique fighting styles. Although there has been a long and intertwined history between China and Vietnam (the name Vietnam even stems from the Chinese "Nan Yue" which means "Southern Dwellers",) various geographical, cultural and physical differences have all coalesced to create combat systems that are distinctly different from their northern counterparts.
The Way of Wushudo - December 2, 2019
The highest level of martial arts training is to be able to perform beyond all boundaries, systems, styles, and techniques with total freedom of self-expression. You can achieve this only after you have developed a strong foundation in a particular style or system.
Sambo-Not for the Faint of Heart - November 25, 2019
The young newspaper reporter was looking for an angle on his story about the national sambo tournament I was hosting sometime back around 1985 in Kansas City, Missouri. I had given him the necessary background information on the sport; the rules, history, who was competing that day and the other bits of information that would give the reporter more than enough information to provide an interesting story to his readers.
Steps to Winning - November 11, 2019
Many people study martial arts because they want to develop their fighting skills, then have a chance to go one-on-one with other martial artists. It seems more refined and socially acceptable to them than going outside and picking a fight with someone on the street. Of course you don't get the same possible dire consequences, because there is always a measure of controlled fighting in the ring.
Structured Training in the Martial Arts - October 14, 2019
Structured training is not only necessary, it is essential and central to success in any field of endeavor, and especially so in the fighting sports that comprise the martial arts. A person has to train hard, but just as important, that martial arts athlete has to train smart. In most martial arts, there is a rational approach to skill development.
How to be a Complete Martial Artist and Discover the Champion Within - October 7, 2019
It took a 6-foot-wide and 8-foot-high jail cell for me to realize that I had the qualities of a complete martial artist. I struggled with the thought of the inside being like a tunnel and losing my breath from being claustrophobic.
Encountering a Bully - September 23, 2019
When you come across a bully, it is important to understand that there are several defensive tools you can use to escape a fight. To avoid these situations altogether, it helps to know what types of bullies there are and what weapons they will use to try to put you down.
The Pursuit of Do - August 12, 2019
There is a formula in Western civilization that many people follow, hoping for inner peace and happiness—a good education, plus a good job, plus lots of money and material possessions, plus family and friends equal inner peace and happiness.
Judo Isn't Gentle - February 18, 2019
Is judo really the "gentle way?" In the popular meaning of the word, judo certainly isn't anything close to being gentle. To paraphrase the great martial arts writer Donn Draeger; "Judo isn't gentle." And while judo isn't gentle in the more common use of the word, it's certainly efficient; and because it's efficient, it's effective
YMAA Retreat Center Celebrates 10-year Graduation - July 16, 2018
Seven students from around the world graduated from a 10-year intensive program at the YMAA Retreat Center on June 24, 2018. The seven graduates are Jonathan Chang (USA), Javier Rodiguez (USA) and Frank Verhülsdonk (Switzerland), Quentin Lopes (USA), Piper Chan (Canada), Enrico Tomei (Italy) and Michelle Lin (USA). The students trained year-round in the disciplines of Shaolin Long Fist kung fu, Shaolin White Crane kung fu, Yang-style Taijiquan, and Qigong, as well as various weapons, horseback skills, Chinese language, and video production.
A Soul's Journey - March 26, 2018
In Chinese qigong society, it is believed that human beings are made of a physical body and an energetic body. The energetic body is subdivided into three parts: the spirit (shen,) the wisdom mind (yi,) and the emotional mind (xin).
Dr. Yang Announces New Training Program 2018 - January 24, 2018
Dr. Yang has announced he will continue to teach until 2024 at the YMAA Retreat Center. Those interested living in the forest and learning tai chi and kung fu every day should apply soon for this new training program, studying at the Retreat Center with Dr Yang Jwing-Ming in CA.
Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming—a Giant of Martial Arts - November 28, 2017
It reads simple, "Preserving the arts has been the focus of Dr. Yang's work throughout the past 40 years." This mission statement appears on the front page of the YMAA Retreat Center. But the journey hasn't been all that easy.
YMAA California Retreat Center New Program Announcement - October 30, 2017
Thanks to the dedication of the students and faithful support from parents, sponsors, and friends, we are pleased to announce the YMAA California Retreat Center will continue its mission of education in, and the preservation of Traditional Chinese Martial Arts. Special thanks goes to the Ku Foundation, a co-sponsor and co-organizer of the new full-time training programs.
Introducing New YMAA Author! David-Dorian Ross - May 22, 2017
David-Dorian Ross is "America's favorite" tai chi master teacher. He has been studying tai chi since 1979 from some of the top masters in the world. He's also a United States and world record holder in tai chi forms competition.
YMAA Student, Michelle Lin, Earns Role in Assassin’s Creed Movie - January 9, 2017
Occasionally someone asks, "What’s the point of competing in Kung Fu tournaments?" Well, it might just land you a role in a major Hollywood motion picture. But not just any movie, this is the worldwide launch of a potentially massive film franchise, based on a globally-successful videogame brand, and starring Oscar-winning and A-list actors.
My Experience at The YMAA Retreat Center in Miranda, California Part 2 - March 26, 2013
At some point in my stay, a potential five-year candidate named, Nathan Rosen, flew in from France for a short stay. I drove with Dr. Yang and Jonathan Chang to pick him up.
My Experience at The YMAA Retreat Center in Miranda, California Part 1 - March 19, 2013
It was a quiet Monday morning in Bronx, N.Y. at 5 a.m. when I made my usual stop at the deli by the local train to New York City. Out of the corner of my eye, I spotted the former UFC Lightweight Champion, Frankie Edgar, alongside the Bellator Lightweight Champion, Eddie Alvarez, featured on the cover of Black Belt Magazine.
Martial Moralities - February 25, 2013
Martial morality has always been a required discipline in Chinese martial arts society. Before you learn any martial techniques, you should first understand this subject.