Sunday, June 24, 2018

Faith, Discipline, Tenacity, and Diligence...

Sunrise at the Retreat Center
Faith has always been about things unseen for me. Absent of any concrete evidence to support one’s dream, there is this steadfast belief that a way is possible to fulfill it. And more than belief, there is the behavior, the actions that eventually shape the journey and manifest the goal. “Faith without works is dead.” -James 2:14-26 New King James Version

Yesterday, June 23, 2018, we celebrated the first graduating class of the YMAA Retreat Center training program! This was the initial culmination of Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming’s vision to preserve the traditional Chinese martial arts and culture. Jonathan Chang trained here for 10 years, Javier Rodriguez and Frank Verhülsdonk trained for 9 years, Quentin Lopes trained for 6 years (and will be returning for an additional 3-5), and Michelle Lin, Piper Chan, and Enrico Tomei trained for 5 years. They trained in Shaolin White Crane, Long Fist, and Yang Family Style Taijiquan barehand and weapons.

To view this momentous event, Google the YMAA Retreat Center FaceBook page and either scroll down the Home page to yesterday’s live-stream video or click on the Videos button on the leftside of the page to open the video section. Once the video begins, make sure to turn up your volume on your device as well as on the video screen itself. You’ll see a variety of individual and partner demonstrations of barehand and weapons sequences performed by the graduates as well as members of the current 3-Year Training program; presentations by Dr. Yang and special guests; and the ceremony for accepting the new disciples into the YMAA family.

Dr. Yang provided the unique environment, opportunity, and mentorship for these young men and woman to experience this journey of self-mastery. The sponsors of the Retreat Center, the local community, and the families and friends gave their financial and moral support to help them achieve this goal. Most importantly, however, it is the graduates’ discipline, tenacity, and diligence which got the job done. This ability to make their bodies, minds, and emotions bend in service to their wills has rewarded their faith in themselves, Dr. Yang, and their process of personal, moral, and spiritual cultivation.

Yesterday was an inspiration for me! With just 5 days remaining now to conclude my second year of training, my aspirations have been further bolstered. The phrase, “Anything worthwhile having is worthwhile working for...” comes to mind and I understand it with crystal clarity. The challenges of a strained shoulder, recurrence of vertigo from a 21-year old car accident, and just the fatigue from these past 6 months of training stymied some of my goals this semester. Nevertheless, I learned so much and am looking forward to this summer’s break to then return for my final year “on the mountain.” Tomorrow we begin 2 days of oral testing on Qigong. Thereafter, we’ll devote time to preparing the Retreat Center for the summer seminars which commence in July.

Thank you, again, for all of your support these past two years! Perhaps we’ll see each other during the summer. I’ll be co-teaching a Tai Chi and Qigong workshop with my teacher, Quentin Lopes on July 14th in New York. The deadline for registering was 2 days ago, but if you’re still interested, please call me: (914) 482-3984, to see what arrangements we can make to have you join us.
Yin-Yang Symbol Partner Drill


  1. Amazing photo! I remember our class sitting in Dr. Yang’s Jamaica Plains studio when, having purchased the land, Dr. Yang shared his vision.... and later when you started conditioning to apply to the 3-year program...and now here you are, embarking upon the final stage of this part of your ongoing exciting❣️
    Thank you so much Good Doctor for an exhilarating ride☯️

  2. Dear Doc,
    It was a great pleasure meeting, playing and getting to know you (a little bit) during my stay at the YMAA Retreat Center. I'm only sorry I didn't get to really know you years ago at YMAA Headquarters in Boston. Even more sorry that our paths never crossed in NYC, though some of my students (Akai and John Brown) know you and respect you. Oh well, all things eventually come full circle. Hopefully we'll re-meet again soon. Wishing you all that is good, Lewis