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YMAA Retreat Center Student Candidate Information

The first group of five disciples began the 10-year training program in September 2008. A second group joined the training in 2009.

Since the first public announcement of this project was published in the Boston Globe in August 2005, interested individuals from around the world have contacted Dr. Yang to apply for this opportunity to study Kung Fu (gongfu), Tai Chi (taijiquan), meditation and more. The interview and application process for this program was mentally and physically rigorous, so that ultimately, the most exceptional candidates suited for this unprecedented training were carefully selected.

Stay in touch with the Retreat Center and watch the disciples progress over the next 10 years.

YMAA CA Retreat Center Development

(updated) Sept 2010

Dear Friends:

The California Retreat Center program has being ongoing since 2008. It will be completed in 2018. No further students are being accepted at this time.

If you are interested in visiting and joining in the training, the best time to do so is for a week-long seminar in a topic that interest you. Click here for more info about Seminars.

Also, for those who are interested in training with the students of the 10-year training program during non-seminar seasons, please visit the web for costs and availability. Seasons for these sessions will be from September 1 to December 15 and from January 16 to June 30. Please remember, since these times are not seminar seasons, there will be no special program or lessons for you. It is simply an opportunity to train and live with the students of the Retreat Center, following their scheduled curriculum. Click here for Information About Training at the Center in non-seminar time.

Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming


Stage 1: Candidates submit Application and Questionnaire Essay Answers. Essay Question: "What is the meaning of my life?"
    Questions about the Training Program:
    1. Why do you want to participate in this 10-year Traditional Gongfu training program? Why not pursue something else?
    2. How much are you willing to sacrifice for this training? (Give some examples of sacrifices you have made to accomplish personal goals.)
    3. Are you able to accept mental and physical discipline for the purposes of this training? (Give some examples from your life.)
    4. What are your expectations from this training? What do you hope to get out of it?
    5. What qualities guarantee you to endure the intensity and boredom of this training?
    6. How much confidence do you have in completing the 10 years of training?
    7. How will you begin your own business and become financially independent once you graduate?
    8. It is important that applicants understand that thoughts lead to impulses, and impulses lead to action (behavior). At some point(s) during the training process the applicants should expect to entertain ideas of quitting. This is normal. How the student responds to these initial thoughts will determine his success in this program. How will you respond to these thoughts/impulses when they arise?

    Questions about Gongfu Philosophy:

    1. What is Gongfu?
    2. What are the general contents of Gongfu training?
    3. What is the general value or purpose of training Gongfu?
    4. Why do you want to train Gongfu? What are your goals for training?
    5. What is your purpose and goal of life?
    6. Can Gongfu be used to defend against modern weapons? If not, then what is the purpose of training?
    7. In what way do you expect to pass on and develop the art of Gongfu?
Stage 2: Two-Week Testing Period for Applicants Once chosen, applicants will be invited to participate in a two-week testing period (cost paid by Retreat Center, except for travel expense), during which their qualification for the 10-year program will be assessed.


  1. To test the participants’ physical capabilities, including:
    1. Strength
    2. Physical Endurance (Tolerance)
    3. Physical Stability (Balance and Centering)
    4. Physical Flexibility
    5. Speed

  2. To test the participants’ mental fitness, including:
    1. Self-discipline
    2. Learning Capability (Pondering, Thinking, and Analyzing)
    3. Selfishness
    4. Alertness and Awareness
    5. Laziness
    6. Protection of Public Facilities
    7. How thick is the mask, or facade, on the face?
    8. Willing to Accept New Challenge or Try to Avoid It (Sneaky of Not?)
    9. Repelling the Rules. Tradition, or New Ideas.
    10. Faking
    11. Honesty
    12. Showing Off
    13. Jealousy
    14. Judgment (Neutral Point of View)

  3. To test the participants’ morality, including:
    1. Moralities of Deed
      1. Humility
      2. Respect
      3. Righteousness
      4. Trust
      5. Loyalty
    2. Moralities of Mind
      1. Will
      2. Endurance
      3. Perseverance
      4. Patience
      5. Courage

  4. To test participants’ social relationship with others, including:
    1. Leadership
    2. Public Relations
    3. Cooperation
    4. Concern with Other People’s Feelings

  5. Physical Training/Testing Methods
    1. Basic Stance Training (8 Postures) --- Endurance and Strength
    2. Learning Lian Bu Quan --- Learning Capabilities
    3. Stand on Bricks --- Balance and Stability
    4. Stretching and Kicking --- Flexibility
    5. Reaction Training --- Speed, Alertness, and Awareness

  6. Spiritual Training/Testing Methods
    1. Meditation
    2. Qigong Lecture
    3. Discussion of the Meaning of Life and Other Spirituality-Related Subjects

  7. Languages
    1. Chinese - Learning attitude and capability
    2. English - Speech and discussion

  8. Mental Testing Methods
    1. Through Observing Daily Activities and Behavior

  9. Morality Testing Methods
    1. Through Observing Daily Activities and Behavior. Also, Through Daily Discussion of Various Subjects

  10. Social Relationship Testing Methods
    1. Through Observing Daily Activities and Behavior. Also, Through Daily Discussion of Various Subjects

View the 10-Year Training Curriculum

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