Yon Ch’uan Martial Arts – After 20 Years

Grand Master Robert Xavier and Sensei Mark McGee
Grand Master Robert Xavier and Sensei Mark McGee

It has been my great privilege to be a student and friend of Grand Master Robert Xavier for the past 20 years. We met in March of 1997 and he introduced me to Hwa Yu T’ai Chi Ch’uan, 15 Animal Kung Fu, and Yon Ch’uan Martial Arts. I had recently moved to a new city and asked a martial arts friend for a recommendation for a master instructor who was a Christian. He told me about GM Xavier and that was the beginning of learning a new martial art system and making a great friend.

GM Xavier and his daughter Rebecca met with me and my wife on their way home from teaching in another state. We met for supper and discussed martial arts and our shared love for Jesus Christ. Several great things came from that initial meeting.

Hwa Yu and Yon Ch’uan

Even though we lived in different states, we got together as often as possible to train. My first lessons with GM Xavier were T’ai Chi Standing, Rowing and Walking. After almost a year of learning the foundations of Hwa Yu T’ai Chi Ch’uan, I began learning the Long Form, Pushing Hands and other aspects of Hwa Yu, Yon Ch’uan and 15 Animal. We would get together for 3-4 days at a time and train from early morning to late at night to maximize our training opportunities.

One of the biggest changes for me was learning “internal” martial arts. I had spent 36 years studying “external” arts prior to training with GM Xavier, so learning the “internal” side of the martial arts was both exciting and challenging. Yon Ch’uan includes aspects of both external and internal; Hwa Yu T’ai Chi and 15 Animal Kung Fu are internal.

Learning the internal principles of Chinese martial arts brought my understanding of martial arts to a deeper level. Those principles are embodied in Six Combinations Eight Methods (Liu Ho Pa Fa / Water Boxing) and are foundational to this ancient system of health and self defense.

GM Xavier studied with GM John Chung Li for many years and became Lineage Holder of Hwa Yu T’ai Chi Ch’uan and Yon Ch’uan Martial Arts in 1980. The video below shows GM Li demonstrating the Hwa Yu T’ai Chi Long Form in the early 1970’s.

John Chung Li from Hua Yue Tai Chi Institute · Cph on Vimeo.

I began teaching Hwa Yu T’ai Chi Ch’uan and Yon Ch’uan Martial Arts in January 1999 at a local YMCA. GM Xavier taught the class when he visited and we made many wonderful friends during those years. I also taught Hwa Yu T’ai Chi for a local university’s arts center. We had the opportunity to demonstrate T’ai Chi at local community events, hospitals, physical therapy centers and parks. We also started the community’s first participation in World T’ai Chi Day. We set up new websites and produced many videos during those early years to help pass along the arts of Hwa Yu T’ai Chi Ch’uan, Yon Ch’uan, and 15 Animal Kung Fu.

We moved to Florida in 2002 and had more time to get together with GM Xavier for training and developing tools for training. That included producing more videos, building new websites, and publishing The Chinese Five Word Song. I taught Hwa Yu T’ai Chi classes at hospitals, community centers, churches, and several of the Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA facilities.

If you are looking for a martial art to invest yourself into, I highly recommend Hwa Yu T’ai Chi Ch’uan, Yon Ch’uan Martial Arts and 15 Animal Kung Fu. GM Xavier passed the lineage of Yon Ch’uan Martial Arts to GM Dave Maloy and the lineage of Hwa Yu T’ai Chi Ch’uan to GM Glenn Newth three years ago. I was present at the lineage ceremony and have been privileged to train with GM Maloy and GM Newth through the years. We thank them both for continuing the lineage of these ancient martial arts systems.

Grace Martial Arts

Grand Master Robert Xavier and Senior Instructor Mark McGeeGM Xavier and I also developed the ministry of Grace Martial Arts Fellowship during our early years together and continue to be involved with GMAF classes to this day. Seeing it grow from an idea to a reality with dozens of Christian black belts teaching martial arts from a Christian perspective is a great blessing to us both.

GM Xavier teaches regular classes in the Bradenton/Sarasota, Florida area. I taught for 12 years in Tampa/St. Petersburg area and some of our Black belts are still leading classes there. I now  live and teach in the North Alabama area. You can email us at gracemartialarts1@gmail.com for information about classes near you.

We appreciate your interest in Grace Martial Arts!


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