Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wanna take a field trip? Shaolin Monks come to Kansas

First....a big fat mid-west hello to my visiting "family" in, not Brother Brian and his crew who arrive Tuesday, but to the long lost cousins....the Shaolin Monks (pronouced like sh-ow (I hurt myself)-lin).  Cousins, Val?  What are you talking about?  That is a blog for another time.  :)  Stay tuned.  I am feeling very chines-y today.

Ever hear of a litte show from the 1970's called "Kung Fu?"  About a monk in the pioneer west who walked around and solved problems.  Kicked some butt when necessary  (For you Mormons, sort of the Asian version of one of the Three Nephites, only dressed in an orange set of jammies.)

The Shaolin Monk Order began in the year 525 and still are going strong today.  After a couple hundred years of practicing the art and meditation of Kung Fu, they actually thought they might be getting good.  This is according to their own writings.   Monks are peaceful buddists, and this is simply a form of expression for them. 

I read a book last year about a white kid from Kansas who trained with the monks in the 1990's.  It was a very interesting tale and when I heard they were coming to town (the white kid has come home long ago), we bought our tickets six months ago.  :) Holy hannah, this rocked.  :)

Let me just say that the pictures are less than stellar. 
They were taken with my pocket camera
without a flash.  Across a theater. 
But I had to show you what a treat it was. 

These boys were about 6 and 9.  They train, travel,
and live as monks.  They were monk "bat boys" in
the show as well as performed.

They were soooo fast.  Running, whacking, leaping.
They specialize in 18 different weapons.

It was hard to wrap my mind around the fact this
is their way of LIFE.  Not just a show. 
Not just a performance.  The monestaries send troops
all around the world to perform so they can earn money
for the monks back home to live.  If you are ever
in China and have time, you can go the monestary
directly and watch them train and perform.

Holy Cow!  Look who is on the sold out show
theater stage!  The Boy.  We were excited to see his
courage to go on up and participate.  Helloooo,
he was doing kung fu with real monks. 
Not too many kiddos can say that!

Here is the new monk in training.  I asked him
what the coolest part was.  He said that the monk
actually touched him and there is an energy.
A power that comes from them.  He said he just
felt respect for them and their abilities.  :)

I think I identified with this part of the show.  Notice
the monk in the background.  He was sweeping.  He was
probably upset about having to do his four bathroom floors
the other day too (see my last blog post). 
As a matter of fact, he was so upset....

that they laid down on giant Ginsu Knives.  The bottom
fella is a Master Monk (he gets to sport a beard).
Then the bed of nails was placed on him, then another monk,
then a slab of concrete that they smashed with the sledge
hammer.  These types of tricks are their speciality. 
It didn't leave a single mark.

It is called"Iron  ----." 
The monks train one certain part of their body,
whichever part they want, to become "iron."  All pieces.
Heads, hands, throats, backs, stomaches. 
All, and I mean all.  You get the point. 
Fortunately, we got the point without having to see
much more. 

This guy was obviously upset about having to do his bathroom
floors, he was hoisted up on six spears.
Look Ma, no hands!
Not a single mark, blood, or puncture wound on his tummy.
I didn't do the spears here at home. 
I ate an ice cream sandwich instead.  :) 
No mark, blood or puncture wound on my tummy.
Just additional fat.

They did such a wonderful presentation, visually.

Here they were saying "goodbye cousin Val.
Why didn't you invite US over for ice cream sandwiches?"

In all seriousness, if you ever get the chance to see them, GO.
There is no narration, so make sure you read up a little beforehand.  :)