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Master Lin Bo Yan was born on 18th November 1903 in Dayang Village, Longyan County, Fujian Province. He married 14-year-old Zhang Ruo Lan at the age of twenty. They have a son and two daughters. His son, Lin Han Peng, was born in 1930 in Wuhan. His elder daughter Yun-Yun settled down in Hongkong. His younger daughter Yu-Ting, graduated from Yi-An Technology College and lives with her parents. She studied Wushu ever since she was a child and was a natural. Lin Yu Ting is still teaching in Singapore today and is one of the best Tang Lang Masters.

Master Lin Bo Yan was introverted, not sociable and was a person of few words. His only interest in his whole life was martial arts, so he chose teaching them as his occupation for over sixty years. His ambition was connected with the surroundings of his childhood. Like other children Master Lin learned Zi-Wu-Gun when he was a child. Gun, as one of the "18 Arms", was very popular in Dayang Village at that time. From then on he took more and more interest in the traditional martial arts. After the Xinhai Revolution many elementary schools were set up in Dayang Village. Master Lin's father was one of the founders and also worked as teacher. In those days Master Lin was the youngest and the most noticed pupil. Afterwards he studied in Guoming Primary School in the city and Jimei Pedagogical School.The now deceased chairman of the Malaysia Chinese Teachers Association, Lin Lian Yu, who later recommended Master Lin to teach at Zunkong Middle School in Kuala Lumpur, and the ex-vice director of “Wushu Research” for the Guoshu Association, Lin Wie Jue, were classmates of Master Lin at Jimei Pedagogical School.

In those years there were wushu classes at Jimei Pedagogical School. The Bei Quan Master from Shanghai Central Chin Woo (Jing Wu) Athletic Association, Liu Zhan Chen, was invited to lead the administration. Another task was preparing to establish a branch of Chin Woo Athletic Association in Xiamen - in order to cultivate Wushu trainers and leaders. On recommendation, Master Lin went to Shanghai for advanced study at the Jingwu Sport Pedagogical School and graduated two years later. Then he worked as a trainer at the Shanghai Chin Woo Athletic Association and was also the part-time Wushu director and teacher at Shanghai Tongji University and Guangdong Public College.

"Lin Bo Yan listed as one of the orginal Shanghai Chin Woo Masters in an early edition of Chin Woo Magazine"

During his study at Shanghai Chin Woo Athletic Association School he learned Wu-Style Xiaojia Taiji Quan from Xu Zhi Yi, the promising pupil of Wu Jia Quan, the venerable master of Wu-Style Taiji. He had also learned Shaolin Tantui from the chief trainer of Chin Woo Athletic Association Zhao Lian He, Tang Lang Quan from Luo Guang Yu, Yingzhao Gong from Chen Zi Zheng, Xingyi Quan from Geng Xia Guang, Yang-Style Dajia Taiji Quan from Dong Ying-Jie. Master Lin's favorite style was Qi Xing Tang Lang Quan, which he learned from Luo Guang Yu. During the 1st Guangxi Wushu Meeting Master Lin presented his astonishing talent for Qi Xing Tang Lang Quan. In the three fight (Du-Ji) competitions he was among the best of the successful candidates.

Lin Bo Yan listed as one of the Chin Woo masters in Wong Hon Fun's 'Er Lu Zhai Yao book'

Master Lin also profited much from eight years occupation in Hankou. He learned at first Wudang Jianfa (Wu Tang Sword) from Wudang master Li Jing Lin. Then his best friend Pang Yi-Zhi introduced him to work as Wushu trainer in Guangxi, afterwards in Guangdong, where he saw with his own eyes the performance of Yang-Style Dajia Taiji Quan by venerable master Yang Cheng Fu. Through the introduction of Pang he respectfully offered himself as master Dong Ying Jie's disciple in order to learn Yang-Style Dajia Taiji Quan. Master Lin’s achievements in Taiji Quan are as high as in Tang Lang Quan and he had as many Taiji students as Tang Lang students also.

After 1940 besides Guoshu (Martial Arts) he also taught Chinese and Geography at Zhongzheng Middle School in Singapore. One year later the Japanese army invaded and occupied Singapore. In 1952, on the recommendation of Lin Lian Yu, the chairman of the Malaysia Chinese Teachers Association, Master Lin assumed a position teaching Chinese at Zunkong Middle School in Kuala Lumpur. He simultaneously taught Guoshu at Sarawak Chin Woo Athletic Association for six years. In 1957 he came back to Singapore and was invited by Zhongzheng Middle School as a Chinese teacher and held a position as Taiji Quan trainer at Nanyang University and Singapore University. During that time he set up the Jiulong Tang Taiji Quan gymnastic class in Lin's ancestral hall in Guangdongming Road. In 1967 this class changed its name to Bo Yan Taiji Gymnastic Society.

Master Lin taught boxing for 66 years until he was 87 years old. He was a great teacher who profoundly influenced all his students. His pupils are spread all over the world. Master Lin lived an earnest life without unhealthy hobbies. His lifelong interest was teaching martial arts. He also exercised Taoist Qigong as supplement. He held the Taoist ideal of stillness (wu-wei) in high esteem. So he spent the autumn of his life in quiet and happiness.

"Lin Bo Yan ti - Lin Bo Yan hand writes the calligraphy for Wong Hon Fun's first edition Mei Hua Lu Quan book."

(archive photo from Alex Au, Hong Kong)

Selected from Liang Jun Yi's "Singapore Wulin Figures"; translated by Cao Jialin and Kai Uwe Pel


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