Master Zhu Yin ?



I thought I’d share my meeting with Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan.  He is one of the great unknowns outside of China due to a lack of English, but is so well known within China.

Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan is a man who has come up through the ranks of the Shanghai anad Hang Zhou Wu Shu Federation, was an integral part of the national team and emerged as the primary lineage holder of Eagle Claw Kung Fu and a lineage holder of Da Yan (Wild Goose) Qi Gong.  He has also studied Ba Gua Zhang and Xing Yi since 6 years of age.  Now in his 79th year he still trains every day - up at about 5:30am for his own training in either Eagle Claw, Da Yan Gong (Wild Goose), Ba Gua Zhang or Xing Yi, then off around 8am to the park to teach some of the older citizens.  Most weeks he goes out to schools to teach kids simple Kung Fu to keep them fit.

Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan has slowed his competing somewhat over the last 10 years - he only does the big provincial or national competitions and it’s a rare day he does not get his gold medal.  He had been awarded 5 in the last year alone!  He is a busy man, working harder at 79 than I do at 47.

I met him through one of my annual voluntary / study trips to a TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) hospital in Hangzhou, China.  I’d been on the look out for a good teacher. 

My good friend Darren Stone, an Australian TCM practitioner like me, introduced me to Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan. 


I was one of a few people who introduced Darren to his wife Annie.  Annie, a senior TCM doctor, had been my interpreter on a previous trip to the hospital and had become a friend over the years.  I’d encouraged Darren, who was staying longer than me, to keep company with the very knowledgeable and fun loving Annie.  Little did I know she had a crush on him and they married shortly after.  Anyway, Darren had found Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan by accident (as so many meeting of this type are) when he was training at the local park just along from where he lived.

Darren saw him in the distance and thought ‘”What’s that?”.  He wandered over, saw this guy really had ‘something’ so he started to train with him.  “This guy is really great at Medical Qi Gong (as we in the west call it) do you want to meet him?” Darren asked me.  I was curious and asked what he was like. I got a vague “His qi is really big” and “his medical Qi Gong is very strong”. 

I was confused but intrigued - I trusted Darren’s instinct.  “I can’t really explain him - you just have to meet him to understand” was the only explanation I got.  Boy, he sure was right!   Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan is the type of person that you meet rarely in your lifetime.  As soon as you meet him you know he has got ‘it’.  Even if you can’t articulate what ‘it’ is, when you see ‘it’ you just know.

When I first met Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan he gave me a basic TCM (traditional Chinese medicine) check over. He checked my pulses to see how my qi was in various organs of the body (Heart and Small Intestine, Spleen and Stomach, Pericardium and Triple Heater, Lung and Large Intestine, Kidney and Bladder, Liver and Gall Bladder), looked at my tongue to check the organs and qi, checked my inner top lip for why, I am unsure (didn’t get a full answer too that one, when I do I’ll let you know), then confirmed his diagnosis by looking at my palm.  He told me things about myself I hadn’t ever verbalised even to my wife.  Finally he scanned my qi and told me more stuff.  At this point I was fairly impressed to say the least, and not a little freaked out!

Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan told me about his vision, his “Sky Eye” that he uses to see inside people to fully diagnose them and see if they have deep-set problems.  He said this was a skill that Yang Mei Jun his Da Yan Gong Master had taught him.  You may or may not know, Yang Mei Jun is very famous around the world for giving us Da Yan Gong or Wild Goose Qi Gong as it known. 

Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan continued to train faithfully all through the late 80’s, 90’s and into the 2000’s - even through the dark days of Fa Lun Gong.

I was so impressed that I asked to be his student there and then thinking he would just laugh at me and wave me off as not being good enough, but to my surprise he said yes.  Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan even offered to take me on as an official Tudi the following year (2006) along with Darren, but I had to practice hard and prove my worth in the meantime.  He was pleased my tai chi teacher was also working on building up my qi.


I had learned many Dao Yin sets such as Ba Duan Jin (8 brocades), Wu Qin Xi (5 animal frolics), Shaolin Nei Gong, Daoist strengthening Nei Gong, and Tai Chi Nei Gong.  I had seen Da Yan Gong performed in the West.  I was not as impressed as I might have been and didn’t consider it medical qi gong.  Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan wanted to teach myself and Darren Da Yan and I admit to feeling a little disappointed.  That was until I started to do it -  what a transformation, I loved it and wanted to learn the whole thing.

Everyday I practiced a small exercise he had given me and I also practiced the Yang family’s middle frame tai chi taught to me. 

When I returned in 2006 I was pleased when Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan confirmed my qi had strengthened enough to be accepted as his Tudi.  Sandy joined me out in China.  It was her 4th year visiting Hangzhou.  Sandy is qualified in Chinese medical massage also used to treat hospital patients.  She was looking forward to taking photos of the Bai Shi ceremony and catching a glimpse of Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan, as she got from me, the same stumbling explanation of Master Yin that I had received from Darren.  I brought Sandy along to my training sessions.  Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan gave her that same rigorous health screening that I underwent, before declaring her in good health.  He showed her a couple of things to move her qi.  The exercise he had her practice kept her fascinated for nearly 2 hours, it was almost hypnotic to watch.  The next day he invited Sandy to train with Darren and me.

That was just the start of a very interesting and fascinating training period.  Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan taught us many things, such as; a form to strengthen our internal qi as well as how gather qi from the environment (trees and plants) known as the Zhu Jie.  As he was explaining and training us, he demonstrated how to manipulate inner qi with the hands.  We watched attentively - it was the most fabulous thing I have ever seen.  In the space between his arms started to grow a shimmering light and a movement that I can’t explain. 


With the movement came flashes of light and swirls like whirlpools of energy.  For maybe 2 minutes Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan continued to manipulate the energy and then gathered it back in to his body, I just stood transfixed.  I was thinking, “Did I really just see that or am I convincing myself I just saw that?”.  It was like something straight out of the films, not from real life.  I did not look at either Sandy or Darren.  I just kept looking forward mulling over what it was that I had just witnessed.  When finally I did turn, it was at the same time as Sandy and we simultaneously said “Did you just see that?”.  We both turned to Darren and we all just laughed and said “Wow, I can’t believe what I just saw!”.  Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan had a great big knowing grin on his face.  He knew what we had seen and he knew we were impressed!

Darren Stone, Sandy, Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan, and me

After only 8 days of training with him we got a big surprise.  Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan was very impressed with Sandy and said that if she was happy to (how could she not be?) he would take her on to also be his Tudi.  He had something special in mind for us all. He wanted to teach us something he had not shown anyone else and was happy for us to popularise it in the West.  Sandy has been doing Tai Chi and Dao Yin for over 10 years and has trained under many of the same teachers that I have.  She was hooked!  Just like me, she’s practicing hard to strengthen her qi so that we’ll be at a level for Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan to pass on his closely guarded secrets.

At the end of our stay in China we found out that Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan had set up our Bai Shi ceremony.  A meal had been arranged for the Wu Shu Federation of Zhejiang Province and Hangzhou to attend.  We were to be taken on officially and formally introduced to the heads of the Wu Shu Federation. At the top table was Grand Master Yen, the chairman of the Wu Shu Federation and Grand Master Chang, the Vice Chairman. 

They were 2 of the most physically intimidating men I have ever met (and I have met a few)!  Master Yen was 6ft tall and looked possibly 6 ft wide - almost square and made entirely of muscle (no fat there) with a shiny bald head and a huge smile.  You can guess what nickname sprang to mind as a means of remembering his name?  That’s right, The Laughing Buddha!  Master Chang was nearly the same size but with forearms like Popeye (which ended up being his nickname).  Other honoured guests included the provincial champion of San Shou (full contact fighting), the “Heads Of” all of the main styles of Tai Chi and Dao Yin, plus some top doctors and teachers from around the area, not to mention many of Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan’s family and students.


When the ceremony started we gave Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan a letter of introduction telling him about our training and lives in Britain and we each gave him a present.  As the oldest of the Tudi, I gave a little speech on behalf of Sandy and Darren.  How much it meant to be honoured as Tudi and how we hoped that this would open up communications between China, Britain and Australia.  It would also strengthen the Wu Shu bonds of friendship in the East and in the West. 

We were given certificates to commemorate the occasion and many photos were taken under a special banner Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan had made for the Bai Shi ceremony.  The eating and drinking began with everyone toasting everyone else. Much laughter came from the tables.  We had many surreal moments such as when Master Chang (Popeye) was heard to say to Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan, “Aaahhh Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan, your Eagle Claw Kung Fu is very strong, but my Kung Fu is stronger! Hah, hah, haaah!”.  Laughter, back slapping and clinking of wine glasses all round.  It was straight out of a Hong Kong Kung fu movie!  It was truly and honour to be amongst it all.

Mark Sandy and Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan

We can’t wait to get back out to China and continue our training with this fascinating man and to study further this powerful form of Dao Yin. We have been asked by Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan to teach Da Yan Gong (Wild Goose Qi Gong) in England and been given an open invitation to take students over to work with Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan when they have been training for a while. 

Watch out for workshops and classes starting soon.


Guess that’s why they call it Eagle Claw

  Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan proudly shows his 5 gold medals



Tudi and a Bai Shi Ceremony

A Tudi (pronounced Too Dee) is the adoption of a student to Master’s martial family circle.  Literally translated as ‘student’ or ‘apprentice’.  The acceptance of a Tudi is usually coupled with a Bai Shi ceremony (pronounced By Shur), which is the student asking the Master to share his knowledge and literally translates as ‘Ask teacher for knowledge’.

Together, the bestowing the title of Tudi and commemorating the special bond between Master and student with the Bai Shi ceremony, the adoption is officially recognised and is documented in the scrolls and stored in a temple on Shaolin mountain.  After the Bai Shi the student and Master’s lives are connected through the extension of the family units and the Tudi is then officially recognised as the next generation in the lineage of the martial art.  The Master is free to give the student all of the knowledge they want, all the closely guarded secrets - the lot.

According to the Chinese Wu Shu Association, Masters are allowed to take Tudi’s once they are over 70 years of age.  A Master is not a Master until they have Tudi’s.


History of Da Yan Gong (Dayan Gong) or Wild Goose Qi Gong


Da Yan Gong or Wild Goose Qi Gong started nearly 1700 years ago in the north-west of China, high above the Himalayas, in the mystical Kun Lun Mountains.  A hermit named Si Dao An (the Peaceful Way) observed the movements of the many wild geese in the area and began to incorporate these bending, stretching, twisting and fluttering techniques into a health-enhancing routine, Strengthening and moving the Qi both through the channels and meridians and through the acupuncture points. 


There are many forms in Da Yan Gong the 2 main ones are 64 movements long and there are many others that are quite short and others that are mainly meditative. There is a lot to Da Yan Gong as there is with all of the Chinese Arts, what may look very simple involves a lot of work.


The 27th generation inheritor, Grandmaster Yang Mei Jun (who died in 2002 aged 107 or 109, a little unclear on that but hey what’s 2 years after so long?) was the first to teach Da Yan Gong openly inside China. 


Before Yang Mei Jun, Da Yan Gong was passed down secretly. Yang Mei Jun only passed this art on fully to very few people, her son, Master Yin and a few others.  She learned this form of Nei Gong (Inner Skill) from her Grandfather from the age of 13 and later retreated away from the world on Mount Wudang. When she came out of retreat in 1980 she returned to her home in Beijing and began to teach Da Yan Gong to local people and became well known. However at the time she went into retreat she lost contact with her son who had joined the army, not knowing what had become of him she went in search of an apprentice or Tudi to pass on her skills to. 


Yang Mei Jun travelled to Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou.  In Hangzhou she found Yin Zhu Yan, Master of Eagle Claw Kung Fu, Ba Gua Zhang and Xing Yi. When Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan saw how strong Da Yan Gong was he asked Yang Mei Jun to take him on as her Tudi.


Did you know?  Mark, Sandy & Darren are Grand Master Yin Zhu Yan’s first overseas (foreign) Tudi