Current Students

Enrico Tomei

Enrico Tomei Hometown: Conversano, Italy
Age: 30
Blog Link: The Corner of Courage
Joined: 2013

I have been involved in Traditional Chinese Martial Arts since I was 15 years old. I spent my first years of training studying Hung Gar, Wing Chun, Taijiquan and Qigong in my hometown. In 2005, I had the chance to meet Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming during one of his seminar in Naples. I was fascinated by him and decided to devote my training to the YMAA program. I began training Taijiquan, Qigong, and Shaolin through YMAA.

My love for these disciplines comes from watching many martial arts movies as a child. I began training in hopes of learning the stunning abilities I saw in them. In time, I discovered that traditional Chinese Kung Fu has a more profound and deeper meaning, so I became interested in going beyond the surface. I want to understand the true value of this ancient art, and that is the reason that brought me to the Retreat Center.


Frank Verhülsdonk

Frank Verhülsdonk Hometown: Scharans, Switzerland
Age: 38
Joined: 2009

I had been practicing Yang-Style Taijiquan and Qigong for about 3 months before arriving at the Retreat Center. I am here to gain a deeper insight of the ancient ways of training. Having the right attitude, I hope to achieve a good foundation to expand my knowledge of traditional Chinese martial arts. I really appreciate having the opportunity to learn in this singular environment.


Javier Rodriguez

Javier Rodriguez Hometown: San Antonio, TX, USA
Age: 32
Blog Link: Kung Fu Diary
Joined: 2009

I started studying martial arts around the age of 10. Over the course of about 7 years I studied Tang Soo Do and Shuri Ryu. I also earned a black belt in Shito Ryu.

For 7 years, I lived in Florida and studied various forms of martial arts while there, including some Filipino Arts. I am also certified to teach Yoga and have also practiced Taijiquan. Before arriving at the Retreat Center, I had started to learn Qigong and meditation for about 4 years under the YMAA system. I have never been as passionate as I am now about traditional Chinese arts.


Jonathan Chang

Jonathan Chang Hometown: Andover, MA, USA
Age: 27
Blog Link: A Rabbit And A Dog
Joined: 2008

I have been practicing martial arts at YMAA since I was 5 years old. I started learning at YMAA's Andover Branch under Mr. Christopher Fazzio and have since continued to study there until my recent move to the Retreat Center. I studied and taught Long Fist and White Crane Kung Fu for 15 years before joining the YMAA Retreat Center. In 2007 I began training in internal martial arts, Yang-Style Taijiquan, under Andover's Mr. Paul Blake, and now I learn directly from Dr. Yang.

I hope to greatly expand my knowledge of Chinese martial arts and to become proficient in what I learn. By doing this, I hope to effectively teach the future generations of martial artists by sharing my knowledge and positively influencing their training habits. I enjoy practicing and teaching martial arts very much and wish to pursue these passions throughout my lifetime.


Michelle Lin

Michelle Lin Hometown: Andover, MA, USA
Age: 32
Blog Link: A Rabbit And A Dog
Joined: 2013

I trained Kung Fu at YMAA Andover for 8 years. There, I was involved in teaching, coordinating demos, and working on projects as the assistant director of the Kung Fu Program. Independently, I developed a traning program at Chinese School Andover, where the number of Kung Fu students doubled within one semester.

In line with the Retreat Center's goals, I aim to preserve and pass on traditional martial arts at the highest level possible. Practicing martial arts has helped me overcome many struggles, and I believe it can do the same for many others. My goal is to become a knowledgeable and inspiring teacher while making the arts accessible to anyone who wishes to learn.


Quentin Lopes

Quentin Lopes Hometown: Mashpee, MA, USA
Age: 16
Joined: 2013

I trained martial arts before I even went to kindergarten. My dad put me in a Kung Fu school when I was about 3, and I trained there until I was 12. Later, I began training at YMAA Boston.

Since the first day I visited, I have felt that the Retreat Center was the place for me. My purpose in training at the Retreat Center is to better myself and deepen my understanding of martial arts. I hope to improve my teaching skills and pass on what I learn at my dad's martial arts school back home.

After finishing the 5-year program at the center, I want to attend college for acupuncture.

"Quentin is a promising young individual who has shown much enthusiasm, passion, and talent in pursuing martial arts as a career and lifestyle. Despite not fulfilling the minimum age requirement of the 5-year program, he nevertheless applied and came to the center as a full-time visitor to prove his sincerity and resolve. He worked very hard to gain the support of his parents and Dr. Yang, and to find a solution for graduating high school while training at the center. At such a young age, Quentin has the potential of a very great and remarkable martial artist. I am looking forward to seeing what he will be capable of accomplishing in this program, and in his life." -Nicholas C. Yang