The Truth about Grandmaster Jiang Yu Shan (Hisham Al-Haroun)

December 14, 2020 by VAHVA Fitness

"Exposing" the truth about the grandmaster Jiang Yu Shan and his background, skills and Kung Fu.

By now, you should know more about the grandmaster Jiang Yu Shan’s colorful history: How he was teaching martial arts since he was 16 years old and how he later joined the German military.

Eventually, he wanted to find the real thing in Asia which is why his path led to Taiwan in search of a real master of Monkey Kung Fu. After searching through the island, he eventually found one (Grandmaster Chen Min Lun).

Almost 30 years later he is still living in Taiwan and has accumulated an extraordinary amount of knowledge in martial arts, Kung Fu, Qigong and Chinese medicine.

You may know this already but what you may not know is what he has been doing in recent years and how deep his roots have become in the Taiwanese community.

Jiang Yu Shan has been a military instructor, bodyguard and a consultant for the law enforcement

working with police

Jiang Yu Shan working with Taiwanese law enforcement. We met two of his police friends in Tainan. 

When Jiang Yu Shan worked over 10 years as a special forces instructor for the Taiwanese special forces (CMC.SSC = Chinese Marine Corps Special Service Company), he didn’t only teach hand to hand combat.

He was also teaching tactical raid, entry team tactics, hostage rescue, knife fighting and more. In a city close by, Kaohsiung, we met one of his acquaintances who was currently teaching the same field who also happened to be a championship level shooter (with a pistol). 

Jiang Yu Shan's work eventually extended from the special forces to the police. Till today he has a great relationship with the local police forces and works as a consultant and trainer for them.

We personally met two of his law enforcement friends and drank tea with them. One of them works as an investigator in the province of Taoyuan.

For a long time, Jiang Yu Shan has been a self-defence trainer, military instructor and has also offered bodyguard services. He still does but not as his main job.

During our time in Taiwan, the country had a big presidential election going on that ended in early 2020. The runner-up candidate Han Kuo-yu was campaigning in Tainan and we had the opportunity to see and film Jiang Yu Shan do his work.

Due to Jiang Yu Shan’s great connections, he was invited to provide security services for the candidate. This is only one of the many instances he has worked for high profile individuals over the years.

According to Jiang Yu Shan and his numerous photos, he has also protected presidents, mayors and other high profile people.

hisham politician

Jiang Yu Shan in the honorary seat with the 2020 runner-up presidential candidate Han Kuo-yu. Due to Jiang Yu Shan's skills, reputation and connections he and his team were invited to help with the security.

Drinking tea that costs fortunes and dealing with the underground kings

Jiang Yu Shan is also heavily into tea and tea culture in general. One time, we spent the night drinking tea with Jiang Yu Shan’s highly successful friend who is a tea expert and businessman. His home decorations alone were worth a lot and were incredible Asian art.

The highly refined tea culture in Asia makes the sophisticated Western wine culture look simple in comparison. This was all new to us and very people know this in the West.

During our stay, Jiang Yu Shan brought fine Puer tea to the tea expert for the examination which he had received from one of his massage clients. The expert (or more like a "master") examined the tea very closely, smelling, tasting and weighing it to see if it’s “high quality” tea.

Luckily it was the good stuff. The most expensive teas like Da-Hong Pao can cost up to $600k per pound. That’s something else and sounds unbelievable for us average folks.

This is just to show how deep Jiang Yu Shan has gone inside the culture of Taiwan. You cannot experience this until you gain the trust of the locals who pull you inside the culture and show you things that are almost impossible to experience without proper connections. 

There are people who have lived 10 years in Asia teaching English who barely know any locals, have no real touch with the culture and barely speak the local language. Then there are people like Jiang Yu Shan who has basically become Taiwanese.

Drinking expensive Puer and Oolong tea. The teapot alone costs $20-30k USD. It's made out of silver. We drank tea worth of one yearly salary that night... Not kidding.

This is also one of the reasons why Jiang Yu Shan was chosen to inherit the Taiwanese Monkey Fist and why many grandmasters of different styles have decided to teach him. He knows everybody and has great relationships with all kinds of people.

Even the local mafia.

In Tainan, the local mafia drives white Western cars (like Mercedes) and wears black shirts. We dined in a restaurant with an old don who had some of his fingers cut off. It’s a dark world but most of them are real gentlemen.

The big cities like Taipei are obviously run by the government and local police but in smaller cities like Tainan the mafia has more control and influence.

Sounds like a movie? For Westerners. This is perfectly normal in the small towns of Russia, Romania, China etc. but has become increasingly uncommon in many Western countries over the last 100 years.

MMA, Boxing, etc. Are NOT Self-Defence and Military Combat

cmc.css hisham military combat

There is a reason why the military and police do not focus heavily on boxing, wrestling and BJJ. They do learn some, especially grappling but the reality is that perfecting a jab and roundhouse kick is not worth their time and effort.

They need something useful and realistic. Boxing, MMA, wrestling etc. are all sports and although the self-defence possibilities are immense and they do work outside the sports.... they are still sports.

Military combat, street fighting, police combat etc. have vastly different conditions and circumstances. For instance, even the kickboxing champions tell people that most kicks are useless in real fights due to the restricting pants, lack of space (indoors) and a high risk of slipping.

Likewise, in a real fight going to the ground is the last thing you want to do. However if you end up there, wrestling/grappling will help you the most.

Jack Dempsey, one of the greatest boxers of all time, in his very good book Championship Fighting talked about how delivering a knock out strike is the most important ability in a street fight.

You want the fight to be over as soon as possible and run away. There are simply too many risks involved. People die in street fights every day.

This is where the vital points of Kung Fu come into play. You want to deliver the most damage to your opponent in the shortest amount of time – and then run away.

How does this happen? You stick your fingers to your attacker’s eyes, target the crotch or hit the throat.

These are all inside of Kung Fu. The ancient Kung Fu covers lots of practical aspects of fighting. There is a reason why the kicks are rather limited and many styles focus on the hands.

This is why it's a bit silly to hold Mixed Martial Arts as the only standard for combat effectiveness. You would assume that over the decades and hundreds of years of experience, the military or police had figured this out by now.

And they have. The military still wants to focus on Krav Maga in the West, Systema in Russia and Kung Fu in Taiwan. You would be surprised how different real fighting is from sports like MMA.

Here is a good example: Anthony Smith, a current UFC fighter who not a long time ago fought Jon Jones for the world title, could barely handle a home invader who was 60 pounds (30 kg) smaller than him.

We are talking about a 6′4″ (193 cm) MMA fighter who is ranked as one of the top 100 fighters in the entire world. Here is Anthony Smith talking about his experience: 

Anthony Smith's quotes about fighting the home intruder:

"I realize he is young, early 20s, turns out he is 22 or 23, not very big like 165 or 170 pounds… but he is super strong. I had a really hard time controlling him. Trying to tie his hands… trying to knock him out. Trying to make him stop… but he never did."

"I'm by no means the baddest dude on the planet. But he's a regular Joe and I had a hard time dealing with him. And he took everything that I gave him—every punch, every knee, every elbow. He took every single one of them and kept fighting me."

The MMA fighter also said how terrified he was during the whole incident:

"You always just think you're such a badass. I just don't feel like one. I feel ... insufficient a little bit. I didn't know it was possible to be that terrified.

"I'm not lying when I said it was one of the toughest fights I've had in my whole life. I went into that fight ready to die. Nobody smart breaks into a house in the middle of the night unarmed. When they break in at night, it's to hurt people."

The point?

Even fighting at the highest level in MMA and being a monster who weighs over 230 pounds (100kg) doesn't fully prepare you for a real fight with the unknown variables and your own emotions fighting against you.

MMA is still A GENTLEMAN SPORT with many variables you know beforehand. You know exactly your opponent, his skillset, the overall skillset of the sport, the time, the place and the circumstances. And you are both trained athletes with strict rules. This is not real fighting.

Obviously MMA works and everything you learn is useful but it alone doesn't prepare you for real combat and doesn't give a real understanding of self-defence.

Learn Self-Defence and Kung Fu

kung fu eye attack

First, let's be honest: a lot of Kung Fu does not work as self-defence. You are not going to effectively defend yourself with modern Tai Chi.

You lack the proper mentality, the dirty tricks, proper techniques, sparring, conditioning, hardening... almost everything.

If you want to learn real combat, real self-defence and real kung fu, you must be well acquainted with everything that can happen. Only this way you will be able to keep your cool and control your nerves.

Even if you have no desire to fight dirty, you must know that dirty attacks like attacking the eyes, hair pulling, hitting the crotch etc. can all be used against you. The only way to know how to defend against such attacks is to know how to do them by yourself.

However, the most essential part is knowing how to handle your emotions during the fight. You body reacts to stress with 3 options: fight, flight or freeze. Obviously, freezing is not an option. So in reality you have only two options: fight or flight.

Sometimes you cannot run away, at least not immediately, or you need to protect someone else. Sometimes fighting is the only option you have. 

But what if your body doesn't react normally? What if you are a championship level fighter and you still cannot control your nerves? What if the enemy is a maniac on drugs who feels no fear and doesn't hold back?

This is covered in Internal Kung Fu by Jiang Yu Shan. Internal Kung Fu is fundamentally about developing internal energy, body mechanics, rooting, strengthening the body and controlling your mind. It's about creating the proper mindset to fight.

This is why mindset exercises like the self-induced rage are especially vital. By practicing the state of rage beforehand, you will be able put yourself in the same state later whenever you must.

With a snap of your fingers you can become demonic and fight the enemy with a merciless and ruthless attitude to protect yourself and other people. This type of training prepares you to fight and survive that is missing from almost every other martial arts system.

In the case of Anthony Smith, the home invader was incredibly strong and fearless. Someone who has all of his emotions working for him and is in a state of trance, is a superhuman in terms of strength and fearlessness. We believe this state is achievable naturally.

Internal Kung Fu creates the proper state of mind and this is massively important because without it your external skills will almost be useless. The impact can be so strong that a regular joe can almost beat a professional fighter. How crazy is that?

Master Both the Internal and External Elements of Fighting

real monkey style kung fu

Jiang Yu Shan's top students are big and strong who know how to strike, grapple and wrestle. They also have hardened forearms, shins and hands. And they also do sparring and intense conditioning. Not easy guys to beat.

But being strong internally is not enough – you need to know how to throw a punch and how to defend and attack technically as well.

External Kung Fu by Jiang Yu Shan is the most practical Kung Fu you have ever seen. Almost all of it works even in combat sports like MMA and Muay Thai. The master perfected the system through his work with the military and by attending actual competitions.

What does External Kung Fu include? You will learn orthodox and unorthodox strikes that are straight forward and devastating. One shot power. You learn the basic blocks, the eight elbows and tons of strikes that are practical inside and outside the ring.

The real hardening skill is also transferable to everywhere but it's especially vital for fighting without gloves. Even for MMA fighters the skill doesn't only protect the hands and shins but it can also make them harder for more impactful strikes.

For real fighting, the harden skill is a must. You simply lack the body weapons to be effective without the ability to throw your hands with full power. Regular hands are brittle and easy to break. Only when you don't need to worry about your hands, you can properly use them.

Boxing gloves are not just there to protect the hands but they are also weapons – they allow the boxer to throw leather with full power. Take the gloves away and the boxer loses a lot of his power.

Internal & External Kung Fu by Jiang Yu Shan is the most complete and practical introduction to the world of Kung Fu that covers both the necessary internal and external elements of fighting. People have said it's the "best kung fu course they have ever seen."

Most teachers in traditional martial arts lack real world experience. They haven't competed and tested their skills. And very few have any background teaching (or even learning from) the military or police.

If you are interested in learning real practical and ancient Kung Fu that is not watered down by the cultural revolution, this is the real thing. This is truly rare and hidden knowledge that has been polished by a real master of self-defence.

You can find the courses at

friendly kung fu master


samuli jyrkinen

About the author 

Samuli Jyrkinen

Samuli is the ninja behind the scenes (photography, videography, websites, program platforms and more). He has been training religiously for over a decade and has a firm grasp of physical and mental fitness. You will find our story here.

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