Classic Kung Fu
You have seen it in the movies but those who saw it at the Gymnasium of the Garfield Sobers Sports Complex in Wildey last Saturday can testify that Kung Fu, acrobatics and contortions are indeed real.
The eyes of the hundreds who packed the Gymnasium were fixed on the stage as they witnessed Wire Fu kicks, Wing Chun punches, rear leg front kicks, jump kicks and multiple flips, to name just some of the basic Kung Fu moves.
The sharp sounds of swiping whips were clear. Girls with rolling blankets contorted their bodies any amazing way they wished. Ballet on shoulders. Running, rolling and somersaulting skills.
Heads were used to break steel and a needle bored a hole in a glass.
There were no camera tricks!
All of this action happened live and direct onstage when an evening of Chinese Kung Fu and acrobatics by the Henan Cultural Performing Arts Group, one of China’s renowned Kung Fu and acrobatic troupes, was presented.
The event was organized by the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth and it was indeed an exceptional and flawless production.
Despite the entertainment provided for the audience, Kung Fu enthusiasts were shown how basic Kung Fu – jumping, attacking and defending – practised daily can achieve physical fitness, prolong life and prevent diseases.
A spear was captured by hand as the monks displayed attack and defence methods. Ears were shocked with the sounds made by the whip when monks ploughed and shepherded with whips that followed their bodies in harmony and proved that softness embodied hardness.
Imitative Kung Fu was also evident as monks amazingly imitated a frog, scorpion, tiger, eagle, mantis and others to show that combining animal appearance and action with Kung Fu techniques can help improve imagination and flexibility.
No blood was splattered or noticed, but a monk demonstrated his strength and hardness by using his head to break a steel plate. People cheered when a focused martial artist used speed and strength to drive a needle through a glass and left a hole that was not there before.
The acrobats’ excellent skills – dancing ballet on shoulders, body and head – was a revelation and it was soothing to watch two lovers show their love with acrobatic dexterity.
To add versatility to the Kung Fu, local culture was added.
Dancers and performers from the Pinelands Creative Workshop, Dancin’ Africa, Adrenalin Dancers, Michael Taitt and the Shaggy Bears, stiltwalkers, Mother Sallies and The Pompasetters Tuk Band brought Barbados’ culture to the show.
The Barbados Kung Fu Association also added a kick to the show.
Among those watching the presentation was Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Stephen Lashley and China’s Ambassador to Barbados Xu Hong.
Speaking to the media after the show, Lashley thanked the Chinese embassy for joining Government to host the excellent cultural show which he believed was a significant hit with the Barbadian audience.
“You would have seen our own cultural persons onstage with the Chinese cultural actors, and that really is symbolic of the very close relations we enjoy with the people of China.
“We want to forge ahead with our cultural exchanges and very soon we want to have a cultural exchange with the People’s Republic of China,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Hong said he was impressed with preparations for the event, which he too believed was successfully staged.
He said, “The Gymnasium became a sea of joy and we can see that not only from the performance of the Henan [Cultural Performing Arts Group] but also the excellent local performers. The cultures are different but we can see it is a harmony here – we share the same joy,” the ambassador said.
And as Master of Ceremonies Carl “Alf” Padmore said repeatedly during the show, do not try these Kung Fu moves at home.