CHICAGO, Dec. 13, (Xinhua) -- Braving a cold, rainy December evening, nearly 2,000 fortunate Chicagoans had the rare opportunity to witness a fantastic Shaolin Kungfu performance Saturday night.
At the Paramount Theater in the Chicago suburb of Aurora, 14 warrior monks, led by their world acclaimed chief coach, Shi Yanlu, showcased the authentic and classic Shaolin martial arts, developed by generations of warrior monks over the last 1,500 years.
Along with local Chinese dancers and musicians, the Kungfu masters presented a stunning visual feast to an enthusiastic audience, which was opened with a spectacular 10-minute traditional Chinese lion dance.
Paula Lazarz, a Chinese martial arts practitioner and teacher, and Helen Wang, an executive officer and TV anchor at Suncastv, co-hosted the event and inserted glamour and humor to the enjoyable evening.
The most exciting moment finally came when the Shaolin Kungfu masters, in their light gray Kungfu uniforms, took the stage as if it was their battle field.
Within the blink of an eye, "hai..""ya.."crackled through the theater. The powerful sound rumbled like thunder breaking through clouds, followed by the warrior monks' sweeping sequence of movements as brisk as lightning.
Holding their breath, and eyes popping, the audience watched the intricate fighting styles in absolute awe.
Monk Shi Hengshi kicked off the show with Shaolin's famous drunkard boxing. While portraying the illusion of a stumbling drunk, this maneuver is actually a highly skilled movement that combines power and grace.
Immediately following was Shi Hengli's tiger boxing performance, one of 10 open-hand boxing styles that mimic movements from animals such as tigers, eagles, snakes and grasshoppers. Jumping, kicking and roaring like a real tiger, Shi concluded his performance standing tall and courageous like a true king of the mountain.
During the weapon routines, warrior monks adroitly commanded awide range of weapons, such as double spears, swords, strings and knives, to demonstrate their incredible strength, flexibility and elegance.
Meanwhile, the Shaolin masters displayed their implausible internal strength and ability by performing the Qigong arts.
The audience shouted with excitement when one monk astonishingly threw a needle through a glass wall and popped the balloon on the other side, just like a magician.
A 10-year old warrior monk, Shi Xiaoliang, drew prolonged applause after performing Shaolin children's Kungfu, a style designed particularly for young practitioners. He acquires amazing flexibility and was said, to borrow the words of the hostess, as soft as cotton and as hard as steel.
Xie Yunliang, acting consul general of the Chinese Consulate in Chicago, said, "over 20 years ago, the movie 'Shaolin Temple' brought huge fame to Shaolin Kungfu, which is a precious part of Chinese culture."
Chicago Shaolin Temple teachers and students also presented very impressive performances, including circular boxing and eight-step continuous boxing.
Chicago Shaolin Temple was founded by Master Shi Yanju, who launched the training classes aiming both at sharing his teachings with martial arts enthusiasts and preserving the rich tradition of Shaolin Kungfu.
"Our mission is to promote spiritual cultivation, improve health and carry forward the spirit of Zen-Wu and the Shaolin culture," said Shi Yanlu, "We would like to promote cultural exchange and help our American friends become more interested in Chinese culture and understand it better."
At the end of the performance, Jesse White, the Secretary of State of Illinois, received a Chinese calligraphy gift from Liu Yingbiao, a notable calligraphy artist at Shaolin Temple.
Jointly presented by Chicago Shaolin Temple and the Chicago-based IPTV provider Suncastv, the event is designed to further promote Shaolin Kungfu and Chinese culture through multi-media platform.