There is a lot of life that surrounds the Chinese Kung Fu scene. Films, TV shows, comic books, pop-art, weapons, theatre etc. In fact Kung Fu is the general word for pretty much any type of martial art originating from China. With all the buzz it’s difficult to tell the face from the real.. or even understand, what is Kung Fu?!
It is evident that in modern days the majority of martial arts practitioners are motivated by money. Especially in China, people yet cannot afford to have such time consuming hobbies so even being able to combine your work with your hobby is quite an achievement.
But unfortunately these kinds of money orientated motivations are far from the origins of Kung Fu. Modern styles that at best make it until the movie theater screen of course look spectacular. However it’s because they are made to look so on purpose.
Kung Fu in it’s ancient form is filled with purpose that is purposeful. Meaning that every move has a meaning, a function and it’s the most direct route to mastering an art of combat. When one starts adding non purposeful movements the original purpose is lost.
There is one theater however where the traditions have retained as much as possible while bringing a real Kung Fu spectacle that’s both purposeful and entertaining. The show at the Red Theatre in Beijing is a prime example of a classic Kung Fu story. It covers real issues about growing up and mastering ones mind and body through the art of Kung Fu. Of course some glamour has been added to bring the show into spectacle form, such as smashing of bricks and lying on top of nail mattresses. Yet the show has kept a strong traditional flavor that is respected by real Kung Fu lowers around the world.
It’s good to remember that the performers are not real Shaolin Monks, but they are highly skillful martial artists that are trained for the performance. Having shaved their heads as monks, the respect for historical facts is deep and is well reflected in the show.