Freeman Cebu Sports

Legendary Yaw-Yan founder GM Nap Fernandez passes away

Lemuel P. Maglinte - The Freeman
Legendary Yaw-Yan founder GM Nap Fernandez passes away

The legendary Yaw-Yan founder Grandmaster Nap Fernandez (L) with one of his brightest students Master Ekin Caniga.

CEBU, Philippines — Philippine martial arts has lost one of its biggest pillars with the passing of Grandmaster Napoleon ‘Nap’ Fernandez, the revered founder of Yaw-Yan. He was 92.

A legend in Filipino martial art, Fernandez introduced Yaw-Yan before a small group of disciples during a simple ceremony in Sta. Cruz, Manila way back in 1972. The word Yaw-Yan is derived from the two last syllables of “Sayaw ng Kamatayan” meaning “Dance of Death.”

Before he created Yaw-Yan, Fernandez was an undefeated All-Asian and Far East kickboxing champion.

Yaw-Yan is specially invented for small Filipinos to fight against big and heavy opponents. Fernandez gave emphasis to Filipino culture by incorporating his martial art to his code of ethics and uniforms.

Master Benigno ‘Ekin’ Caniga Jr., one of GM Nap's brightest students, said Fernandez has touched so many lives for his contribution in Philippine martial arts.

“We lost a legendary martial artist,” said Master Ekin. “He groomed me to become a master of Yaw-Yan. He gave me the blessing to make my own gym. I would not be here if not for him.”

“Yaw-Yan's ultimate goal is to preserve, promote and continuously improve and further develop our very own Filipino martial arts. GM Nap also reminds us that we can be a winner even without fighting by avoiding violence,” added Master Ekin.

From its humble beginnings, Yaw-Yan has now over 50 chapters here and abroad.

“I hope his departure would strengthen the bond of Yaw-Yan members and I hope the growth of Filipino martial art will continue,” said Maestro Eric Albotra of Yaw-Yan Alakdan Leyte.


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