We started training for our seven minutes of fame last November, meeting for 2-3 hours of practice at least once every weekend. The routine put together by our Sifu, Zhao, Shuping, contained an entire Chang Chuan sword set, a Tai Chi fan set and a short Chen Tai Chi routine. These three sets were surrounded and embellished by short Tai Chi and Kung Fu movements. It all had to be timed perfectly and set to music. It was apparent to me early on, that I had joined a professional group that knew what they were doing. The broadsword set and Chen Tai chi routine were new to me and I had to learn them from scratch. The Fan routine was performed by the women only. When I joined the group I was delighted to learn that the only other non-Chinese member, Rob, coincidentally had spent years studying and teaching two of the same southern Kung Fu styles that I knew. Sifu Shuping asked us to put together a short group of movements from the Hung Gar style of Kung Fu. We chose to each do a segment from the famous Tiger and Crane form. Simultaneously Rob performed the tiger section while I did the crane part.
The entire New Year’s show lasted well over two hours. There were dancers and singers and musicians. It was quite an extravaganza. I would have liked to have watched it from the audience. The people I know who did, told me it was spectacular and well worth the admission price. I watched as much of it as I could from behind the side curtain on stage. It was exciting being back stage with all the performers.
Besides performing with our group, Master Feng performed a Chen Tai Chi routine accompanied by Shi Yi on the flute. My wife, Katie, who was in the audience said, “It was so beautiful, I cried”. Master Feng also performed a solo routine, a drunken Kung Fu Form. This highlighted his incredible strength and flexibility. His interpretation of the form was both inspiring and humorous.
I am not an experienced performer and have a fair amount of anxiety about it. When I was in the seventh grade I was part of our annual Middle School Christmas Pageant. While standing in the front row singing Christmas Carols with the group, I passed out cold and fell to the floor. When I woke up, all the other kids were standing over me. It was humiliating. Even as an adult, that young boy who fainted in front of the whole school pops up when I least expect it.