China's Shaolin Warriors bring the art of martial arts skills to the Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University October 17
"... they combine the agility and grace of gymnasts with the showmanship of Cirque du Soleil performers." The Washington Post
In a fully choreographed theatrical production, the Shaolin Warriors bring the remarkable skill, stunning movement and spectacular imagery of Kung Fu to the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts at Fairfield University on Saturday, Oct. 17 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $45, $40 and $35.
Self-preservation is an instinct that the Shaolin monks, a Buddhist sect founded 1,500 years ago, began developing into a system of defense that would become an art. Through meditation on the attack and defense movements by animals that lived near their monastery, the sect became known across Asia for its disciplined spiritualism and deadly martial-arts prowess.
Buddhist believers espouse a philosophy of non-violence and non-aggression, two criteria in accordance with the modern-day practices of the Shaolin disciples. Demonstrations of Shaolin fighting techniques should not be mistaken for acts of aggression. The Shaolin Warriors perform in silence and exhibit, what can be described as "stillness in movement," a quality cultivated through the practice of meditation.
These Kung Fu masters have trained from a very young age in mental and physical disciplines and it is the daily practice of seated meditation, which enables the individual performer to sustain a demanding physical regimen. The practice known as Ch'an (Chinese for Zen) calms the body and focuses the mind allowing them to perform feats one thought only possible in the movies. In a review in The Orange County Register, the critic described the performers as "...so good at what they do, it almost looks like animation."
The Shaolin performers train in martial arts for several hours every day, perfecting the art of hand-to-hand and weapons combat. Each performer is required to achieve an extraordinarily high level of proficiency in each of the eighteen traditional weapons and become a master of one.
The Shaolin use more than twenty weapons when performing. They include the common axe, cudgel, spear, halberd, sword and broadsword, 3-section staff, dart, dagger, black tiger hammer, plum blossom broadsword, Bodhidharma staff, tiger hooks and many others. These weapons are equally divided between short and long, which means some weapons can be hidden within the performer's robes and may become an element of surprise.
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Posted on September 25, 2009
Vol. 42, No. 68