CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
300 Plaza Centre One
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Jan. 31, 2002
The Heart And Soul Of Chinese Kung Fu Comes To UI
Shaolin Warriors, Buddhist monks from the Chinese temple where Kung Fu was
invented, will demonstrate their martial-arts virtuosity and mental discipline
in fully choreographed theatrical form at 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Feb.
21 and 22, in Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus.
The Shaolin Warriors will also present a public demonstration/Q&A
at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 19, in the Iowa Children's Museum at Coral Ridge,
in conjunction with the museum's Chinese New Year activities. Entry to the
Children's Museum involves an admission charge. The museum's phone number
The Shaolin Warriors presentations are appropriate
for the entire family. The production is a choreographed demonstration in
which no actual violent combat occurs.
For nearly 1,500 years the Shaolin Temple, at the
foot of Mt. Shaoshi in the Henan province of central China, has been the heart
and soul of Chinese Kung Fu. It was there in 525 AD that the Indian Buddhist
monk To Mo laid the foundation for the martial art, out of a commitment to
enhancing harmony between mind, body and spirit.
Kung Fu is based in Ch'an Buddhism (the Chinese source
of the Japanese term Zen), through which it harnesses violent movement as
Recognizing the need to protect themselves in battle-torn
feudal China, the early Shaolin monks began to develop a system of personal
defense. Tradition holds that the monks developed their techniques by patiently
observing the attack and defense maneuvers of wild animals in the vicinity
of the temple.
The monks called their system "wushu," and after a
few centuries of practice and refinement, their order became famous far and
wide as an order of Buddhists that one would be unwise to provoke. Their unsurpassed
skills are now legendary to martial arts practitioners throughout the world.
The monks train in martial arts for several hours
each day, to master hand-to-hand combat and the use of the temple's 18 traditional
weapons, becoming a master of one -- in combination with seated meditation
that creates the mental focus and serenity required to endure the pain and
discipline of their training.
The Shaolin monks have now expanded their weapons
inventory to more than 20, ranging from common axes, swords and spears to
a variety of specialized staffs, darts, daggers and hooks used exclusively
by Shaolin fighters. The monks are also prepared to utilize any common object
as a weapon.
They also demonstrate their ability to "take a punch,"
including a battering ram to the stomach and lying suspended in mid-air on
The staged demonstrations of the Shaolin monks have
attracted huge audiences in China, but they have only begun to tour internationally
-- after 15 centuries. In their first U.S. tour last season, Jeff Rubio wrote
in the Orange County Register: "We're told that the Shaolin Warriors of China
never use their fighting skills in acts of aggression. That's a relief. These
Buddhist monks for a Chinese monastery where martial arts and meditation are
a way of life are so good at what they do that it almost looks like animation."
Time Out in New York noted, in a less serious vein,
"Not many people would ever think of hitting a holy man, but just in case
you're ever tempted, you should know that the Shaolin Buddhist monks of China
could kick your ass from here to nirvana."
And William Littler wrote in the Toronto Star, "I've
always been skeptical about the ability of the human body to do what the Bruce
Lees and Jackie Chans have appeared to do on the silver screen. But after
last night, some of the skepticism vanished."
Cantebury Inn & Suites is the local corporate
sponsor of the Shaolin Warriors performances, through the University of Iowa
Tickets are $35, $33 and $30. UI students and senior
citizens qualify for a 20-percent discount, and tickets for audience members
17 and younger are half price. Zone 2 and 3 tickets are available to UI students
Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10
a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling
area, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax
to (319) 353-2284. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary
services should dial (319) 335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people
with hearing impairment who use that technology.
Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven
days a week through Hancher's website:< http://www.uiowa.edu/hancher
Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American
Express. UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills,
and UI faculty and staff may select the option of payroll deduction. Information
and brochures may be requested by e-mail: <email@example.com>.
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