Y is for Yaw-Yan

Yaw-Yan is short for Sayaw ng Kamatayan, which means Dance of Death in Filipino.

Developed by Grandmaster Napoleon Fernandez in 1970, Yaw-Yan is a Filipino style of kickboxing.

Grandmaster Napoleon Fernandez

Grandmaster Napoleon’s father was a magician, and he wanted his son to follow in his footsteps. But he made the mistake of teaching him Ju-jitsu, and Grandmaster Nap, as he is called, chose martial arts over magic. *You can read more about Grandmaster Nap’s amazing journey here.

Grandmaster Nap, has a background in Ju-jitsu, Jeet Kune Do, Karate, Arnis and Aikido. Taking all that he knew from these martial arts, Grandmaster Fernandez apparently created a martial art form that was not only deadly, but more advantageous to the short, stocky built of the Filipinos.

Master Ishmael “Boy” Garcia, photo from fusionmma.com

Yaw-Yan resembles Muay Thai, since it employs hands, elbows, feet and knees to strike. But the  main difference between these two martial arts lies in the hip-torquing motion, and the emphasis on delivering attacks from long range. They also make use of 12 bolo strikes patterned after the Filipino stick based martial art of Arnis/Escrima.

Here’s a short documentary on Yaw-Yan.

As you can tell from the video, Yaw-Yan is not for the weak. (That guy didn’t even flinch when branded!) I’d be interested to learn some yaw-yan moves, but I don’t think I can even consider joining. Tattooes make me flinch so I’d probably embarrass everyone by screaming when I get branded during my initiation—or worse, I might just faint.

Yaw-Yan students engage in the martial art for a variety of reasons, but some of them actually join and win mixed martial arts competitions.






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8 Responses to “Yaw-Yan”

  1. […] Y is for Yaw-Yan from The Writing Nut […]

  2. Francene says:

    Yaw Yan is not for me either. I’m not flexible enough due to an injury and … age. Sigh. I used to love exercising. Well done with your ‘Y’ word.


  3. mooderino says:

    Not sure I’m into the branding side of it. I have enough difficulty drinking a really hot cup of tea.


  4. Think I’d avoid anything painful.

  5. Jenny says:

    Interesting! I’ve never heard of Yaw-yan. Pretty intense.

  6. Damyanti says:

    Never heard of this before—some parts of that video are pretty jaw-dropping.

  7. I once joined a Kook Sul Wan class for a few months, but it was nothing as severe as Yaw-Yan! Grandmaster Nap is just THE best name, ever 😀

  8. Glenn Soria Jr says:

    Hi I want to have a dvd or video lessons for Yaw-Yan, where can we get it? Thanks

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