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|Also known as||Sayaw ng Kamatayan
"Dance of Death"
|Country of origin||Philippines|
|Creator||Napoleon A. Fernandez|
|Famous practitioners||Alvin Aguilar, George Estregan, Ruben Sumido|
Yaw-Yan, also called Sayaw ng Kamatayan or "Dance of Death" is a Filipino style of Kickboxing developed by Napoleon A. Fernandez. Since its inception in the 1970s, it has dominated the kickboxing scene in the Philippines and has proven very effective against other stand-up fighting arts.
Yaw-Yan closely resembles Muay Thai, but differs in the hip-torquing motion as well as the downward-cutting nature of its kicks, and the emphasis on delivering attacks from long range (while Muay Thai focuses more on clinching).
The originator of Yaw-Yan is Napoleon Fernandez or "Master Nap", a native of Quezon province, who originally studied Jujutsu. The word Yaw-Yan was derived from the last two syllables of Sayaw ng Kamatayan meaning "Dance of Death".
Fernandez had a background in various martial arts such as Jeet Kune Do, Karate, Eskrima, Aikido, and Judo. He is said to have modified all the martial art forms that he studied and fused them to create a martial art form that is deadly to opponents and "advantageous to the build of Filipinos". Yaw Yan was introduced to the public in 1972. It includes elements of striking, takedowns, grappling, stick and knife fighting, and additional kickboxing material. He eventually traveled to Thailand to train Muay Thai.
The forearm strikes, elbows, punches, dominating palms, and hand movements are empty-hand translations of the bladed weapons. There are 12 "bolo punches" which were patterned from traditional Filipino martial art of eskrima.
Yaw-yan has gained considerable criticism due to its cult-like rituals such as branding of the chest. For a hybrid sport that was created in the modern contemporary era (1970's), the rituals are very unnatural and very artificial compared to cultural norms existing in the Philippine society. It is as if Napoleon Fernandez invent an "ancient and mythical martial arts" and try to imbibe it with the same mysticism like the ancient arts of Kung-fu while already living in a modern and contemporary era where logic and reason is the norm.
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- Yaw Yan, 2011 accessed March 20, 2011