In Chinese, Yong means forever or always and Sheng means winning. Born to a Chinese father and a British mother, Master Vincent Lyn’s Chinese name is Yong Sheng. When asked whether he felt the pressure to excel in life, he smiled and said no. In reality, Vincent Lyn is like a Renaissance man and his diverse talents allow him to shine in several distinctive careers.
Vincent Lyn was an elite model for Levi’s, Valentino, Gucci, Puma, Adidas, and Yves Saint Laurent. He was also in demand in Asian action films. His first movie Tiger Cage was made by internationally acclaimed film director Yuen Woo Ping. Tiger Cage was a blockbuster and he subsequently acted in two dozens more movies including playing a lead villain who fought action movie superstar Jackie Chan in a climatic battle sequence of Operation Condor. Unlike some movie stars, Vincent did not get the roles just because of his looks. He started his martial arts journey at age 8, learning Tai Chi from his uncle and later mastered his family Kung Fu Ling (or Lyn) Gar (or family) style. Jackie Chan once called Vincent Lyn one of the best fighters he had ever worked with. You can see a compilation of his movie fighting scenes via a link here. Last November, Lyn was awarded the Fists of Legends “Hong Kong Legends Cinema Award” at the Urban Action Showcase Expo in New York.
In the world of sports and martial arts, Lyn has been versatile and successful in different capacities. Vincent was the 1983-1984 U.S. National Middleweight Kickboxing champion, and 1985 and 1987 World Kickboxing champion. In 1999 Lyn was inducted into the World Sports Medicine Hall of Fame for making outstanding contributions to the field of Sports Medicine and the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame in two categories: Grandmaster of the year and Best Martial Arts Actor of the year. In 2001 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Action Martial Arts Magazine Hall of Fame. Since then, he has been honored over ten times in the Hall of Fame. He has been invited to teach martial art workshops in many countries. Lyn is an expert in corporate security, executive protection, threat assessment, air security, and other security domains and founded Pro-Force Security Corp based in New York City in 2003. In May this year, he taught 700 people Tai Chi and Ling Gar Kung Fu in a soccer stadium in Portugal.
Lyn can act. Lyn can fight. Lyn can also write. He has written numerous articles for Budo Magazine and authored seven instructional videos, which have been released in seven languages and distributed in 54 countries. He has been featured in books, magazine covers and has appeared in over 200 magazine and newspaper articles throughout the world. His first book The Ling Gar Legacy – Kung Fu in the Real World came out in 2009 with a foreword written by Yuen Woo Ping. Lyn collaborated on a comic book titled Kung Fu Star based on his stories as a film star. The first issue was released in 2010 as a monthly series in Budo Magazine and re-released internationally at the NYC Comic-Con in 2012.
In April 2007 Master Vincent was invited as a special guest to the first Martial Arts Olympics East-West Open in St. Petersburg, Russia. In the opening ceremony, he not only demonstrated his superb martial art skills in front of 20,000 spectators but also performed a piano solo, which surprised and dazzled the audience. While Vincent inherited martial arts from his paternal side, he was blessed with musical talent from his maternal side.
A graduate of the Boston Conservatory of Music majoring in piano performance and composition, Lyn once wrote Canto-pop songs for recording artists with a major label, PolyGram Records, two of which became top ten hits. On October 14th, 2011 Lyn gave his debut performance to a sold-out crowd at Carnegie Hall in Manhattan in connection with the release of his Grammy Nominated Album Heaven Bound. Lyn exhibited his classical music training and creativity in this album, which received two Grammy nods for Best Improvisation Jazz Solo for Oscar Peterson’s Nigerian Marketplace and Best Instrumental Jazz Album. The album was voted in the Top Ten Album of the Year for Unsigned Artists and Top 40 Jazz Album of the Year. In the following year, Lyn released his second jazz album Wing Sing, which received four nominations in the Grammy Ballot. He was invited back in 2013 and 2014 to perform at Carnegie Hall with great success. Wall Street Journal called him a “Master of martial and musical arts” in Oct 2014. His CD Vincent Lyn Live in New York City (a live recording from Carnegie Hall) won 5 star reviews and was #12 for 8 weeks on the World Jazz Charts and received 4 Nominations in the Grammy Ballot. His 4th CD Redemption came out in May this year.
Vincent remembered that during his college days he would spend six hours practicing piano at the Boston Conservatory and then cross Fenway Avenue to a park where he would practice Kung Fu for a couple of hours. Music and Kung Fu are like Yin and Yang in his life. His goal is to keep both balanced. As an artist, he has to be very focused regardless at which one he is working. But he is not intense at all. What amazed me most was his persona. He was laid back, genuine, and humble when we met for the interview.
On Oct. 9, Master Vincent Lyn will team up with Grammy Award-winning flutist Wouter Kellerman and other outstanding musicians to perform at Carnegie Hall. It will be an exciting collaboration of music from around the world including New Age, World, Jazz, Bossa Nova, Afro-Cuban, and Contemporary Classical. Additionally, Master Lyn will also perform Tai Chi onstage. For more info, you can visit Carnegie Hall’s website.