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Also known as Sayaw ng Kamatayan
"Dance of Death"
Focus Hybrid
Country of origin Philippines Philippines
Creator Napoleon A. Fernandez
Famous practitioners Alvin Aguilar, George Estregan Ruben Sumido
Parenthood Kickboxing, Grappling

Yaw-Yan, also called Sayaw ng Kamatayan or "Dance of Death"[1] 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).

Yaw-yan practitioners participate in various Filipino mixed-martial arts tournaments such as the Universal Reality Combat Championship[2] and Fearless Fighting.[3][4]


The originator of Yaw-Yan is Mr. Nabuab or "Master Nab",[5] a native of Quezon province, who originally studied Jujutsu.[6] 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".[citation needed] Yaw Yan was introduced to the public in 1972. It includes elements of striking, takedowns, grappling, Arnis stick and knife fighting, and additional kickboxing material.

It reflected the growing popularity of Kickboxing during the 1970s to 1980s, and from the 1990s to the Mixed martial arts in the Philippines as well as worldwide.


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's as if Napoleon Fernandez invented an "ancient and mythical martial arts" and tries 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.


  1. "Yaw Yan, The Philippine Dance of Death". Inside Kung-Fu magazine. November 1982. 
  2. Mallari, Perry Gil S. (2007-07-15). "The thrill of the UR CC X". The Manila Times. Archived from the original on 2008-01-11. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  3. "Amurao bags Fearless Fighting featherweight crown". The Manila Times. 2007-03-18. Archived from the original on 2008-01-11. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  4. "Wushu bets dominate Fearless Fighting". Manila Bulletin. 2006-04-16. Archived from the original on 2007-09-11. Retrieved 2008-01-30. 
  5. "Yaw-Yan ‘Texas’ opens new gym in Tondo, Manila". Sun.Star Cebu. 2007-07-08. Retrieved 2008-01-29. 
  6. Yaw Yan, 2011 accessed March 20, 2011

External links

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