Kung Fu coming to Pacific Asia Museum!

May 31, 2012

Shaolin monks spar in the Pacific Asia Museum courtyard. See demonstrations of other styles Sunday, June 3 at A Day with Kung Fu Masters!

When thinking about kung fu, many people immediately think of what Hollywood has given us: kicks, punches, and even high-flying stunts. But it didn’t always have this meaning– in Chinese, “kung fu” can refer to anything that requires practice and dedication, whether it be physical, mental or both. And today, this inclusive definition still applies when it comes to Chinese martial arts– there are a variety of styles taught and practiced in China to this day, often named after animals, philosophies or legends, that have both mental and physical components to the practice.

Legend has it that martial arts began in China over 4000 years ago during the Xia dynasty when the Yellow Emperor Huangdi developed early fighting styles. These legends are only known from much later texts, and the earliest mention of martial arts is found in the Chinese classic Spring and Autumn Annals from the 5th century BCE, and other references can be found in other ancient Chinese texts. Despite these early origins, it is believed that martial arts were not institutionalized until around the 7th century CE– that’s the earliest known reference to the Shaolin monks in battle.

On Sunday, June 3, you’ll have a chance to learn more about kung fu at Free Chinese Culture Sunday: A Day with Kung Fu Masters. We’re partnering with Joy of Kung Fu to bring five masters to Pacific Asia Museum who will talk about and demonstrate several styles. Master Bai Li Wang is a Mantis Boxing champion several times over, and will speak on how the style is changing. Master Arnold Chien will talk about how tai chi, traditionally a more internal style, relates to today’s mixed martial arts, and masters Hawkins Cheung and Franco Lung will speak on aspects of the Wing Chun style, popularized by none other than Bruce Lee. Finally, Grandmaster Li Tai Liang will speak on a style he himself helped develop– xinyi-dao.¬† A demonstration follows the talks, and two kung fu films will bookend the day. And on top of all that, the event and the entire museum are free all day! Check our website for the full schedule, and get ready for a dynamic day of kung fu! ~CM


Aaaand we’re back!

May 11, 2012

We’ve been MIA from the blog for a bit– it’s been quite busy here! So today we’re going to highlight some of the awesome things we’ve been up to lately.

Free Family Festival: Celebrating the Cherry Blossoms of Japan Between the gorgeous kimono show and the epic karate match shown at left, there certainly wasn’t a dull moment at our Free Family Festival at the end of April. As usual, there were a variety of crafts and activities to keep visitors busy in between performances. A full photo gallery is on our Flickr, and if you’re sad about missing out on the kimono fashion show, come visit us on June 10 for a demonstration and a chance to be dressed up yourself!

Gajin Fujita: Ukiyo-e in Contemporary Painting On April 20, we opened this exhibition of L.A. artist Gajin Fujita, whose eye-popping works combine elements of traditional Japanese ukiyo-e with street art. On August 5, the artist himself will be at Pacific Asia Museum to speak in conversation with curator Bridget Bray.

Free Chinese Culture Sunday Thanks to MetLife Foundation, we presented our first Free Chinese Culture Sunday this past week so we all could “Be A Chinese Scholar For A Day.” With a workshop in calligraphy and flower arranging alongside more children-friendly crafts, everyone left a bit more “scholarly” that day. Pics on Flickr. Our next Free Chinese Culture Sunday is A Day with Kung Fu Masters on June 3!

Keep an eye on our blog in coming weeks for posts on upcoming exhibition Masterpieces of Tsukioka Yoshitoshi and the start of Fusion Fridays. Something else you want to learn about? Let us know in the comments and we might post on it in the future! ~CM