Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Infectious Art of Demonstrating





T
his clip is really cool! It’s one of 3 posted on YouTube, a video memory of a party that took place in Taiwan in 1964.


The video has the real look of an impromptu demonstration, either before or after a banquet, where people just decide to get up in dress shirt and tie and demonstrate some of their favourite routines, just for the fun of it. Almost like a Kung Fu version of a Trinidadian “jump up”!

In the late 70s, a Tai Chi master was kind enough to bring a group of excellent people for a private demonstration/seminar for my club in Trenton, Canada. A gentleman in his early 70s had traveled with the group. He just wanted to observe – and have a day out from the city.

But on that day, there was an infection in the air – the urge to demonstrate. He couldn’t contain himself any longer.

He jumped up from his chair with a big smile on his face. Wearing neatly pressed tan dress pants and a pristine white long sleeved shirt he dropped straight down on his knees.  The sound of his knees hitting the hard floor ricocheted off the walls.

We looked down at his legs: his feet were out to both sides at a 90 degree angle. He proceeded to “walk” in that position along the floor. Then he leaped up, turned, and dropped on his knees again, walking back to where he started.

He leaped back up, waved at everyone and returned to his chair.

I think it took a full minute for my jaw to return to its normal position.

In the Chinese martial arts, banquets, parties and other forms of celebration are often a platform for practitioners to display their skills. Most often, the proceedings begin with a traditional lion dance (for their 50th anniversary, the Hong Luck Kung Fu Club of Toronto featured 50 lions). The music, the routines, the noise of the spectators…often there is so much energy in the room that carries on deep into the evening.

If you ever get a chance to attend one of these banquets/demonstrations, I strongly urge you to do so. And along with so much skill on display, there’s always the food!

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