Willy Lin was born in 1938 at TaiChung, Taiwan. He began martial arts in 1957 and studied with the Grandmaster of the Tian Shen Pai system, Wang Jyue Jen, until 1968.
In that year he left Taiwan for Sao Paulo, Brazil. He recalled the trip much later as a time of living on hot dogs which he swore he would never eat again. In Sao Paulo he taught for the Chinese Association Center. In 1970 he arrived in the U.S. where he first visited Chen Man Qing (both in the same lineage) in New York then moved to Silver Spring, Maryland. After a brief time association with the Tracy Karate organization there, he opened his own school. Continuing with his promotion of the martial arts he sponsored touring companies for the performance of Tian Shan Pai including local and national demos and TV appearances. He was also featured in educational films for the U S Department of the Navy.
Willy Lin was one of teacher, Wang Jyue Jen’s, top students. He introduced the style to the United States, his first studens – and one of his co-sponsers to remain in the US – being Ted Mancuso. Mancuso remembers, “I got a call from our Silver Spring school about a guy who “claimed” to be a Kung Fu instructor but the local teacher was unable to judge his quality. I drove down and Willy and I met. We had an instant affinity which lasts to this day. He then performed Tai Chi for me and I saw how good he was. He was the first living human being I ever saw doing Tai Chi. I became his student and the Long Form Yang style he taught me I have never had to vary.”
Willy was also very talented at Push Hands – I met him again after many years and find that he is still one of the best. I recall that, after being frustrated with how easy he beat me, I finagled him into playing Sticky Hands with me.
He had never seen Wing Chun and was very enthusiastic. Being a smart ass 20 year old I said, Yeah, it’s pretty good. It’s Chinese. But Willy was fine with this. He had a lovely sense of humor and a tremendous personal integrity. He called himself a “cowboy,” and he was because he was also a gentleman. He taught me steel whip, BaJi (I might be one of the first Americans to learn it), some BaGua and much else. We had a special realtionship I will never forget. His mastery of his own system of Tian Shan Pai is profound.”
For a number of years Willy Lin has been gone from the world of active teaching, pursuing his own career in another field. However, during that time he has never stopped practicing his beloved style: Heaven Mountain Fist. Recently, having retired from the business world, Willy is bringing his excellent instruction back to the martial arts and producing DVDs on Chin Nah ( a particular expertise of his) and other aspects of Tian Shan Pai.
Willy Lin has taught many good martial artists including respected Shihfu in their own right such as the well known and influential teacher, Dennis Brown. Ted Mancuso has the honor and pleasure of being his first American student and his friend.