The term Kung Fu has always been widely used to refer to the traditional Chinese Martial Arts. However, in the Chinese language the true definition of Kung Fu means: refined skill acquired through prolonged practice. This would be accurately applied to all forms of Arts and Craftsmen trades from painting to cooking to carpentry to medicine and so on. By the same definition, Yan Kung Fu is by no means a style of martial arts which I myself have developed and named after myself. I will openly say here that my skill is in no way worthy of such a lofty distinction. And furthermore, it would be the ultimate disrespect to the traditional Arts themselves, all my teachers, and all the Masters who came before them and extremely pretentious of me to think otherwise.
Yan Kung Fu is merely what I have chosen to name my particular skill set, my method of teaching, my brand, and my company.
I, instructor Kenny Yan, have been training Traditional Chinese Martial Arts since 1989, beginning with Hsing-I Chuan (Form Mind Fist) and Northern Shaolin Kung Fu. After becoming proficient at the basic forms I began learning traditional weapons like Earth Dragon Staff (the trademark Shaolin weapon) and Chinese Saber while progressing to the advanced Shaolin and Hsing-I hand forms. Around this time I also began learning Tai Chi Chuan, along with Qigong, Yoga, and Meditation.
In addition to the traditional Chinese arts, I also spent time training Kali Stick Fighting, Western Boxing, Kickboxing, Judo, grappling and joint lock submission techniques in order to become a more well rounded and proficient fighter. This was around the mid 1990's and at this point I had also done a lot of sparring and began training heavily for fighting tournaments. In my history I had only entered three competitions with mixed results: one loss by a 2-1 decision and two DQ's (disqualifications) due to "excessive contact". After these experiences I realized that in order to "win" at these types of point sparring competitions I would have to specifically train within the confines and rules of that particular "sport". (This was all before the UFC became popular and Mixed Martial Arts competition rules and tournaments became prominent.) I also learned that the outcome of these competitions were not a true reflection of my ability as a fighter within the context of an actual "street fight" situation, where there are no rules, gloves, or protective gear. These realizations brought me to a crossroad in my career as a martial artist. With only so many hours in a week available to me to train, I had to make a choice regarding what my developmental focus would be going forward. At this point mastering self-defense skills was no longer a concern of mine, and fighting and attaining trophies was not a personal goal.
And so, although I still enjoy the physicality, strategy, and competitiveness of sparring to this day, I made the decision to follow my original passion and goal...which was (and still is) to master these Arts with as much traditional integrity as possible. In addition to this, I have over the years become increasingly focused on self-cultivation and refinement, and the Healing aspects of the Internal Systems such as Tai Chi Chuan, Hsing-I Chaun, and Qigong. Along the way, I also developed a strong passion for teaching and helping others improve their general health through the principles and practice of these Traditional Arts.
These days the majority of my students are learning Tai Chi, either in a class environment or through private lessons. I also conduct workshops and seminars on Stress Reduction & Management, do private sessions administering Holistic Therapy to people with various health issues, and train people for general fitness, strength conditioning, and self-defense. All of the Arts that I have had the privilege of learning has enhanced my health and life in countless ways. For this reason I feel duty bound to share what I have learned to help others. My next big goal will be to open a school with a strong focus on teaching kids and young adults.