Chinese New Year Kung Fu at the Asia Society in NYC

I woke up at 6:30am, took a shower, and got dressed. I made my wife an omelette, walked the dog, and hopped in my car. I took a 7:48am train into NYC. I live on Long Island so this is about an hour trip on the weekend (slightly faster when I get on an express train on a weekday). I had a nice donut and some espresso at Birch. I got to my Kung Fu school around 9:30am and everything after that is a blur. I got back home at 6pm.

Hing Dai

What the heck happened?

Today was my school’s Kung Fu demo at the Asia Society, an Asian culture center and art museum. My Kung Fu school does a show there every year. There are tons of families watching multiple performances from various Asian groups. It’s a well-attended event, maybe five hundred people are in the audience. Kids love a good show. I participated in a few Kung Fu demonstrations: one weapon form with a built-in matching set, and two hand forms. A matching set is a routine you do with someone else. Matching sets are a great way to improve your timing. The hand-forms are just what you think, weaponless forms that you do in a group or standalone. I was in a group for both hand-form demos.

By far the most challenging aspect of the show is the Lion Dance. It’s physically demanding and we don’t have as much time to prepare. We wind up doing a lot more preparation with our weapon and hand forms. The lion dance is a big deal for Chinese celebrations like Chinese New Year and August Moon. It’s a big honor to be in the dance, even though I’m a lowly tail. When the day is done, you feel good at having participated in such a rich cultural tradition. Every year I get a little bit better, but when I see my Sifu and senior black belts perform the dance, I realize how far I need to go.

Here is one of our Lions. The kids go bananas over these lions. The tug at the fur and the decorations. They probably wonder why the Lion smells like sweat. Well, that’s us under the costume sweating bullets.

Lion
One of our lions
Lion Dance
Lion Dance – I’m the tail of the red one

Next week our school has their own show. That means a lot more training this coming week to get all of our routines in shape. I love it all. So glad I’m doing this. Kung Fu is a deep part of my life and it’s changing my entire way of looking at the world.

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