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“Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting…”

October 20, 2013

Got into Los Angeles Thursday night 1st August 2013 at 7:00pm after a grueling flight from Hong Kong of more than 15 hours. Harlan picked me up at the airport and together with Shelley we had dinner at a local Vietnamese restaurant. Being exhausted I was in deep sleep as soon as I hit the ‘sack’ when we reached home.  The next day I woke up at 2:30 pm! Time goes quickly when you are in a relaxed mood. At 6:00pm after dinner, Harlan invited me to his Workshop Seminar at the Inosanto Academy of Martial Arts in Marina del Rey.

I have been there a few times before but that day I was excited because I would not only get the opportunity to see Harlan going through his teaching routines and demonstrations, but also I was determined I would attempt at sketching the group in combat actions. What a challenge it was!

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The group first quietly performed their regular warm-up procedures of Kata movements in military precision and natural pattern of movements. You may say that’s liked a “walk in the park”, but if you think carefully you will soon understand that Katas are carefully choreographed Martial Arts Actions. It was beautiful to watch and experience the distinctive character of each member as they try to synchronize with Harlan’s orchestration. Of course I was ‘lost’ in the drama of it all, as I tried my quickest effort to make a group sketch.

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The most exciting period of the two-hour program was the action demonstrations by Harlan with an assistant, to illustrate the combat actions required in performing quick defense and aggressive moves. The students followed awkwardly at first but soon after repeated trials their personal dexterity blossomed.  Actions speeded-up as the group became excited and challenges accomplished. Not only from the live action of hands, body and foot movements but also from sounds of grunting and laughter as ‘fighting-units’ go through their paces…I tried to keep the pace as I sketched the movements. It seemed that, “EVERBODY WAS KUNG FU FIGHTING…”

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