Chinese martial arts masters wow audience
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Four kung fu masters of the Shaolin Kung Fu Mission, People's Republic of China, performed a demonstration ... (more)
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Shaolin kung fu masters of the Shaolin Kung Fu Mission, from the People's Republic of China, and students ... (more)
SANFORD - Swords slashed the air, bodies powerfully leaped and twisted, and feats of skill and precision brought loud applause and excited "ah's" and "wow's" as an audience of several hundred enjoyed a martial arts performance by the Shaolin Kung Fu Mission.
The demonstrations took place Sept. 16 at the Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center, attracting a crowd of all ages. Shaolin kung fu is considered to be the aspect of Chinese culture that has most impacted the Western world. It has been widely popularized by movie stars like Bruce Lee, Jet Li and Jackie Chan.
Many in the audience came to see to a live demonstration of the visual dynamics of martial arts they had seen only in films. Others - children, teens and adults - came because they were familiar with and involved in martial arts.
Bringing four Shaolin kung fu masters to Sanford was a collaborative effort by the college's Confucius Classroom, N.C. State University's Confucius Institute and Pfeiffer University's Confucius Institute. The four masters, Yunnan Liu, Zhongxu Mu, Yuehui Yuan and Sun Gaoyang, served as kung fu coaches for the Chinese Kung Fu Center of the Confucius Institute at Pfeiffer University from 2009 to 2012. All have studied and taught at the Shaolin Martial Arts School, having begun their training there at the age of five.
Shaolin kung fu, a unique expression of China's Zen Buddhist culture, can be traced back 1,500 years. It is practiced to train the mind and body in self-control, promote peace, provide self-defense, and, if necessary, attack to prevent an escalation of violence.
The masters demonstrated barehanded and weapon styles of martial arts with names such as "Drunken Boxing, Monkey Fist, Group Sword or Shield, and Shepherd's Whip. The audience watched amazed and impressed as a master bent a long spear with his neck, another broke an iron bar with his head, and another used a needle to punch a hole in glass without shattering it.
"It was very impressive," said Sanford resident Jonathan Shockey, who has two children studying martial arts. "I liked the acrobatic moves they did. Their performance shows their long-term dedication to fitness and taking care of their bodies. Having a performance like this is a real value to the community. It's to the credit of Central Carolina Community College that it reached out and brought them here."
Adult and youth students from the Black Belt Leadership Academy, in Sanford, performed prior to the Chinese martial arts masters taking the stage. The students, as a group and individually, demonstrated their precision and execution of martial arts under 5th Degree Black Belt Master Jeremy Jackson, academy owner and instructor.
The Shaolin Kung Fu Mission performance was part of the Confucius Institute and Confucius Classroom's celebration of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the Confucius Institute by the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China. Confucius Institutes in the United States have been established to strengthen ties between the U.S. and China through education, language and economic development. CCCC's Confucius Classroom, a collaboration with UNC's Confucius Institute, was established in 2009.
"The Confucius Classroom has been a great asset to the college and to this area," said Dr. Bud Marchant, CCCC president. He brought the idea of having a Confucius Classroom to the college when he became president in 2008. "It is another way we can prepare our students for the global economy while promoting the local area. We also wanted to add to the cultural resources available in our service area and the program this evening has been a spectacular addition."
The Master of Ceremonies for the event was Sherman Tse, who emigrated from Hong Kong and became a U.S. citizen. Guan Wang, CCCC Confucius Classroom instructor, and Charles Sutherland, one of her students, assisted him.
"In Chinese, the number 10 means 'perfect,'" Wang said. "Last year, the China National Orchestra performed a feast for the ears in Sanford. Tonight, we enjoyed a feast for the eyes."
The college's Culinary Institute students provided an hors d'oeuvres reception prior to the performance.
For more information about CCCC's Confucius Classroom, visit www.cccc.edu/confucius.
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