He received his training at Mukden and Paoting Military Officers' College.
Yu-shan Shih first joined army service under Feng Yu-hsiang and through many years of service, became a distinguished officer in the Kuominchun (Feng's Army). He also participated in the various revolutionary campaigns in the North with Feng Yu-hsiang in 1927-1928 and was made a General. Then he was appointed Chairman of Anhwei Provincial Government in 1930, but was relieved of his office, when he joined the Yen-Feng Military Coalition at Peiping in opposition to the Nanking Government. After the collapse of the Coalition, he re-entered the service of the National Government and was appointed Commander of the 13th Route Army of the National Forces, which post he resigned in 1931.