By Retzel Fabillar
Flapjack Chronicle staff
The warrior sharpened his weapons with aggressive strokes as the audience gleamed with excitement. Then the four shiny swords were positioned horizontally-upright on a resting rack.
Suddenly, gasps filled the auditorium once spectators realized what was to happen next. A warrior laid on top of the sharp blades, maintaining his strength as two warriors rested their weights above his body.
Then a block of cement was placed upon the stomach of the third warrior and SMASH! The fourth warrior crushed the cement to dust with the blow of his hammer.
Amazingly, the three warriors moved to stand without any sign of pain and received an astounding applause.
This is only a snippet of what went on during the Shaolin Warriors show on Thursday, Oct. 14 at Humboldt State University.
More than 500 people arrived to see the descendants of the Kung-Fu masters. The sounds of a plucking of a samisen and trickling of water filled the entire theater, and it was almost as if the entire audience was transported to China.
The lights dimmed, and finally the show began.
The warriors entered dressed in long, bright orange robes. They bowed and placed their hands together in a form of meditation. After many rituals and stretching exercises, their physical and aggressive acts were presented. Their swift and fierce movements involved long leaps, strong kicks, high jumps, and very impressive flips. They raced around the stage and punched the air with their muscular arms, masking the samisen music with their echoing grunts and shouts.
One spectacle was when three warriors held thick strips of strong metal and broke them with one force each on the tops of their strong heads. Another impressive moment was when a warrior placed a bowl upon his stomach and sucked it in so strongly with the use of his abdominal muscles that even two middle-aged men were unable to pull the bowl away. A highlight of the night that received the most applause was when the warriors allowed over 50 children to step on stage and imitate their swift Kung-Fu moves. The crowd roared with laughter and applause as they watched children kick and grunt to emulate the warrior’s movements.
At the end of the show, many people had much to say about the event and the Kung-Fu arts. Bridgit Ford, 62, showed great esteem and fondness for the warriors and their style of training.
“What I like about this is that their practice is sort of single-minded,” said Ford. “You can see that they are so focused the way they project their strength and intensity onto the crowd.”
Karma Walker, an 18-year-old HSU student also expressed appreciation for their practice.
“Shaolin is the most ancient arts in Asia,” said Walker. “The monks truly show what the human body is capable of.”
Walker also explained that he was a former student of Kung-Fu and that his teacher was a descendant of a Shaolin monk.
“I can kind of relate and respect what they do,” said Walker. “Their performance is quite amazing.”
Michael Moore, Center Arts coordinator, was more than pleased with the turn-out of the event.
“I thought that the show was very enjoyable,” said Moore. “I think that the athleticism displayed by the monks is extraordinary. The dedication to the art form of Kung-Fu is simply amazing.”
Moore also discussed likely possibilities of the Shaolin Warriors’ return in the future.
“The event was part of the Center Arts 2012/13 performing arts series,” said Moore. “We’ve hosted the Shaolin Warriors previously, and they are very popular with the Humboldt audience. I’m sure that we will have them return in a few years.”