Testimonials

This page is supposed to list testimonials for us but we’re starting with one for our online students!

To Our Students

You are the definition of resilient. Although we all prefer in-person training, it’s simply not possible for everyone. It takes patience and focus to learn movements from a two dimensional plane. Most of you are practicing in small spaces at home, including in a bathroom! Many of you are in different time zones and for the past two years, one of you has been taking Shaolin classes at midnight!

Although we’re not physically together, we’ve built a community and you’ve connected with your classmates. When we needed subs, you led classes for us. By doing so, you’ve reached another level of understanding. When you teach, you learn.

We’re appreciative of your continued dedication to online learning!

MICHELLE & JON

"Jon and Michelle have been offering seminars at GateWay Taiji, Qigong & Yoga for the past few years. They have offered White Crane, Taiji Saber, advanced Shaolin sword forms, and Shaolin Long Fist forms. Each time I have received excellent feedback from the attendees. Jon and Michelle have a skilled, well-structured teaching approach and are able to adjust the depth of the seminar to the individuals attending. They are quick to answer questions and develop a great relationship with the students. They have been flexible on attendance and have always provided 110% of what they have earned. Their level of martial arts skills is outstanding. The seminars they have offered at GateWay are often attended by senior students and teachers from both my studio and other schools, who consistently recognize their expertise. I look forward to offering more seminars from them in the coming years. I am proud to be a reference for them."
“I and two of my students spent six hours at the Boston YMAA recently with Jonathan and Michelle studying the first twenty-two movements of the Taijiquan Fighting Set. I value their expertise as martial artists, their effectiveness as teachers, and their generous, gentle spirits. They were able to clearly explain as well as effectively demonstrate what they wanted us to learn. And, they provided individual guidance and corrections throughout the day with sufficient space and time to try to figure it out by ourselves as well. The pacing of the workshop was well managed, too. I certainly look forward to studying with them again and highly recommend them to anyone looking for teachers that exemplify martial morality with integrity and grace.”
"For almost a decade, I've seen Jon's continuous evolution as a martial artist and media producer, as well as his increasing ability to share his tremendous capacities. During the significant time we've shared at the YMAA California Retreat Center and in South America, I've seen the inspiring progress of one of the most talented and hardest working artists I've meet. His calm and deeply connected approach help him to effectively communicate to different audiences; from young kids to seniors, from beginners to advanced students, from people focusing on health to martial arts practitioners. His ability to guide his students through an inspiring and thoughtful learning process helps them experience a journey of self-discovery through these martial and healing arts. As a media producer, his deep feeling of the art blended with his unique artistic spirit result in excellent media projects. Through dedication and hard work, his talent and skills will continue to grow so it's very exciting to continue working with him. I look forward to continue observing his inspiring evolution rooted in his long term commitment to martial, healing, and media arts."
“The December Taiji Ball workshop was wonderful! Jon and Michelle are both such great instructors. I felt that I got both a strengthening of my foundations in taiji ball, and new challenges to expand my study through the coming months. What a great way to start the new year! Thanks to you both for the excellent quality of your teaching.”
Lesley Spencer
“Jon and Michelle (and I’ve found this to be true of the whole YMAA family) radiate the rarest of combinations: mastery of their art, style, and discipline, along with the highest aptitude for teaching. This must come from decades of hard work, but their patient, congenial and kind-hearted temperaments suggest that some natural God-given blessings must be at play too. They are the kind of people you would entrust your children with. I can’t think of any higher praise than that. The instruction is logically sequenced, sensibly paced, and always made more apprehensible by context and application. In challenging circumstances (2020 pandemic), they have adapted seamlessly to a virtual format. More profoundly, affording yourself the gift of their company will be among the best anodynes you’ll find for these trying times.”
Harrison Flynn
“ Over the last few years, I've taken multiple seminars from Jon and Michelle, and all have been exceptional — challenging, but exceptional! Most recently, I took a San Cai Dui Jian (Three Powers Sword Matching) seminar and a Taiji Saber seminar from them. For San Cai Dui Jian, my practice partners and I already knew the movements of the form and were working on all the refinements and details. Jon patiently, and with good humor, called us out on the many areas that needed work, such as fixing distances, understanding targets, and being intentional. This kind of seminar is exhausting, but also so important; Jon and Michelle excel in this type of teaching. For Taiji Saber, I was completely unfamiliar with the form. Thus, the seminar was full of the excitement of learning something new. Move by move, Michelle and Jon helped us build up the beginning section of the form, giving us both a sense of real progress and an understanding of the richness possible ahead.”
“I have had the opportunity and pleasure working with and learning from both Jon and Michelle over the years. They are both extremely talented martial artists and humble in nature. I have learned so much from working with them and from observing them not only for my own practice but also how to improve as a Taiji instructor. They definitely inspire me to deepen my practice and studies of Taijiquan and Qigong.”
Dr. James Norman
“As a student of the martial arts for the past 20 years I have had the opportunity to work with dozens of martial arts teachers. Jon Chang and Michelle Lin are two of the most talented, dedicated and caring teachers I’ve had the pleasure of working with. I’ve known Jon and Michelle since 1998 and have worked with them and hosted them at my studio. Jon and Michelle are passionate about their training and their teaching. As a result of their years of full time practice and learning at the YMAA Retreat Center they have developed a level of talent usually reserved for teachers twice their age. They hold themselves to the highest standard as martial artists. They have a keen eye for their students and have great insight in offering corrections and assistance. Beginner and advanced students can benefit from their teaching. Jon and Michelle are dedicated to the practice, preservation and propagation of the traditional Chinese Martial Arts."
"Jonathan’s approach to teaching is a very unique one; his calm energy is backed up with a wealth of knowledge and flawless form. He can easily keep your attention as you learn and practice with him. A quiet and young “master” that you will feel very fortunate to study with."
“I first experienced Michelle and Jon's classes through the YMAA International Virtual Camp last month and found them both to be wonderful teachers with good energy. After the camp, I then took a virtual Taiji ball workshop with them that was just as awesome. Everything they taught was clear, well demonstrated, progressions transitioned well and logically, and they have excellent attention to detail. Not to mention, it always makes me happy to see peaceful Xiao Hu snoozing in the background. I not only would recommend them but I hope to also be able to take more classes with them in the future.”
“I’ve recently completed a Tai Chi Sword Workshop with Michelle and Jon. It was a lot of fun! Even though I’ve practiced (Taoist) Tai Chi sword for many years, they have pushed the standards of the art to a higher level. Their passion for maintaining the standards of Traditional Chinese Martial Arts is reflected through their instruction and attitude. The format of the workshop was continuously modified based upon feedback, observation and environment. They took on the challenging task of teaching this intricate art through Zoom, and made available recordings of each class which were very helpful useful. I’m currently studying Taiji with both Michelle and Jon.”
Lily Gee-Leger
“I am a long time Chinese martial arts enthusiast and practitioner. I’ve been following the teachings of Dr Yang Ming and the YMAA for over 10 years. When Jonathon and Michelle graduated from the Retreat Center and announced they would start offering online lessons I immediately was intrigued. I’ve been searching for a more one on one training experience but haven’t been able to get what I’m looking for locally. I was apprehensive at first doing something over the internet because I wasn’t sure if I could get a truly individual experience. However after just the first session I knew I made the right choice. Everything from prepping me for the lesson, to experiencing his guidance over the internet which felt like we were almost in the same room together, to his after lesson follow up was spot on. He listened to my specific goals and needs and tailored a program just for me. Thanks for the great training so far and excited for my future training experience. I recommend these guys to anyone wanting a seriously in depth training experience.”
“I've known Michelle and Jon for years and can vouch for their commitment to Chinese martial arts. They both share qualities of dedication, focus, and patience that becomes immediately apparent when working with them. Barking Rabbit is another expression of these traits, and the effort they put into their instructional material results in a final product that is both significant and extremely valuable to the traditional martial arts community.”
Sullivan Donahue
“I have had the opportunity to train with both Jon and Michelle for many years now and can attest of their fabulous skills as martial artists. I have studied Chinese Martial Arts for the last 22 years and have come to count them both amongst the most gifted and valued training partners I have had the privilege to practice with. They also are uncommonly modest and considerate, always providing a safe training environment for you to test and expand on your skills. As such, they are great educators and their patience, dedication and attention to details characterize their teaching style. They efficiently communicate their passion for the arts and inspire in their students the desire to excel. Hence, children are naturally taken by their good-humored nature, their welcoming attitude and their playful pedagogic style. More mature students, on the other hand, appreciate the depth of their knowledge and understanding of the arts as well as their ability to relate it to the different styles practiced by their audience. In short, Michelle and Jon are amongst the very best practitioners and teachers of Chinese Martial Arts that I have encountered.”
“Michelle's exuberance and passion for the Martial Arts show through in everything that she teaches. Her own abilities belie her rigorous dedication to her training. Always willing to help others and forever patient, Michelle never fails to reach her students in some way. Jon's quiet demeanor and obvious skill instill a special confidence in his students. His twenty plus years of experience have given him a vast pool of knowledge which he expertly imparts. It is impossible to watch Jon demonstrate or teach without being inspired.”
“The seminar held at YMAA Québec was really satisfying. We learned sword basics and the sword sequence San Cai Jian. Jon and Michelle did a really great job. They are very good teachers, taking time to teach every movement and to properly correct the mistakes. Due to their background and experiences they can easily adapt to every student. We can clearly see that they know their stuff!”
“I have had the pleasure of watching Michelle Lin and Jonathan Chang develop from their beginning days as students at YMAA Andover into highly skilled Chinese Martial Artists of today. At some point over the years, both of them have been my students, my colleagues, and my instructors. Their dedication and perseverance in pursuit of their passion attest to their many qualities and strengths, both physical and mental. Not every good martial artist is also a good teacher. Jonathan and Michelle are talented as both martial artists and teachers of the martial arts. I hope to witness their continued success in advancing and perpetuating the traditional Chinese Martial Arts."
Meg Holmes
YMAA Andover

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