Quarters Worth

My Kung Fu is the Best?

A QUARTERS WORTH Editorial & Call to Action

Written by John Andreula

Edited by Kodid Laraque-Two Elk

Cho ma practice chopped
Me “practicing” Horse Stance

Traditional martial arts and popular culture fit together like white rice and soy sauce or 5280 Geeks and cons.

Ip Man 4, starring Kung Fu superstar Donnie Yen, is in movie theaters throughout the U.S. right now. Donnie will return to the big screen again on March 27th in Disney’s newest live action remake, Mulan. The preview for that one looks fierce!

Donnie Yen hasn’t been the only Kung Fu great who has pierced the veil of American culture through the years. Jet Li, Stephen Chow, Jackie Chan, Tony Jaa, and of course, the immortal Bruce Lee are among the most notable. Since the 1970s traditional martial arts have been deeply embedded in American culture. Who hasn’t seen any of The Karate Kid movies? The last one starred the aforementioned Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith.¹

And who doesn’t remember Jean Claude Van Damme’s Kumite victory in Bloodsport? Or Chuck Norris and Stephen Seagal? How about Jet Li’s American film debut as the killer monk in Lethal Weapon 4? Those were some great moments in American Pop Culture—except maybe Stephen Seagal. . .

There are also some cult classics like The Last Dragon and They Call Me Bruce?.

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The Last Dragon‘s villain, Shonuff—the Shogun of Harlem & baddest mo’fo low-down ’round town! Kiss his Converse!

Without martial arts’ influence we wouldn’t have seen DMX kicking ass in loose Timberland boots in Cradle to the Grave. In fact, there wouldn’t have been the same quality action in many movies over the past twenty or thirty years without traditional martial arts. Japanese Kendo influenced Star Wars‘ stunt coordinator Bob Anderson’s choreography of the lightsaber battles in the original trilogy.

This isn’t overselling. Who hasn’t grabbed a sword—fake or real—and started swinging it pretending to be a knight, a Jedi, or a ninja? I have personally witnessed a friend use his Katana to slice through a whole watermelon.

Yet many may be unaware that there are legitimate places in the real world where people can learn traditional martial arts. I belong to one such school in Boulder. It’s called Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu.

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The inside of Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu.

At Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu my classmates and I learn how to punch, kick, and block just like in the movies. The school’s style is graceful, effective, and devastating. At all times it’s beautiful to watch. However if I watch too much I end up getting punched in the face or kicked in the groin; possibly both.

The martial arts instruction at my school is second to none. In addition to learning how to defend ourselves and others, my classmates and I develop discipline and character. Learning the latter two makes it less likely we’ll ever need to use the former.

The community at my school is dedicated and diverse. They’re more than just training partners and acquaintances. They’re my second family.

The title was over-the-top and tongue-in-cheek if I’m being honest. My martial arts knowledge and abilities aren’t even close to the best. I have quite a way to go before I can even be considered proficient. However, I do believe Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu is the best martial arts school in the world!

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My Shaolin Hung Mei family

Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that is grounded in keeping traditional Chinese culture alive in the Rocky Mountains and beyond.

The school is immersed in the greater Boulder and Denver areas. We put on workshops and a variety of performances. You can find us at countless events demonstrating our martial arts forms each year.

Have you seen our nine person seventy-five foot dragon come to life on 9NEWS, or better yet live, at the Denver and Boulder Parade of Lights or Colorado Dragon Boat Festival? How about our lion dancers and Kung Fu performers at one of the many Lunar New Year’s events from the past few weekends?

It feels like living in a martial arts TV series. I’ve had experiences I wouldn’t otherwise have and seen things I never thought I’d see.

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Shaolin Hung Mei opening the festivities of the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival

Just as with everyone here at 5280Geek.com, Shaolin Hung Mei is my tribe.

If you have ever wanted to be a ninja, a Jedi, or a Kung Fu warrior and no longer want to just be the person hitting a wooden sword against punching bags at the Y, check out ShaolinHungMei.org.² You can schedule a date to visit the school and see if it’s right for you.

If it’s a fit and you’re within driving distance to Boulder maybe we can even become training partners and siblings at the school.

Shuya n jason
Some of our extraordinary lion dancers and young senior students

If Kung Fu just isn’t your thing—It’s totally okay if you’d rather larp or play video games; we get it.—and you’d still like to support Shaolin Hung Mei’s mission and community there are other ways to help as well. Foremost of which is through a direct donation.

Again the school is a 501(c)3 charity, so your donations are 100% tax deductible. 100% of any amount you give will go directly to preserving this unique art and culture. Our generous instructors are volunteers and do not take any salary, despite the enormous value of their instruction.

To make a donation please contact Shifu Solow or myself.

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One of our school’s star acrobatic performers, Jeffrey Li

Please share this article on social media even if you cannot afford to donate. It will go a long way in supporting the future of Hung Mei.

Thanks for taking the time to read about traditional martial arts and Shaolin Hung Mei Kung Fu. My intention is to spread the love and excitement I feel about both with all of you amazing 5280 Geeks. I hope this serves to inform that there are places like this in your own community.

¹ SPOILER ALERT: The Karate Kid (2010) should have been called the Kung Fu Kid. It took place in China and Jackie Chan taught Jaden traditional Chinese Kung Fu instead of Karate? That’s my Quarter’s Worth.

² I’ve seen it with own eyes!

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Me messing up both hand positioning at a live performance

John Andreula is a martial arts geek and student residing in Colorado.

More of his works of can be found at: Moving On Upwards

Reach him at: Info@MovingOnUpwards.com

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