Chinese New Year Celebration February 6, 2016

We all came together to celebrate the Chinese New Year, the year of the monkey, and it was an amazing night!

The night began with an epic story being told. Just as Bodhidharma crossed the Yangtze River, Joe began, so did Shifu cross over the seas to spread the teachings of Shaolin. Joe shared with us the heroic story of Bodhidharma bravely crossing the Yangtze River to transmit teachings of Buddhism. He continued to say that much like Bodhidharma, Shifu also took an enormous risk coming to America to transmit the teachings of Shaolin. For, the ability to face the unknown with courage, and to confidently move forward is a mark of heroism. Furthermore, how lucky it was that he should meet Shimu as well, and establish this school that has enriched so many lives. It’s an illustration of what can be attained when one puts their mind to it. Joe also expressed his love not only for the school and it’s teachers, but also his fellow students. These words truly symbolized the atmosphere that the school creates, so if you were not there to hear Joe’s words, the spirit of them will surely meet you in the school. 

Thus, when Shimu began her speech, it was an almost seamless transition in that she also spoke of what can be accomplished when you face your challenges with courage. Shimu gave an inspiring speech using the ancient Chinese myth surrounding Chinese New Year celebrations. We once again heard about the evil creature, Li, who would come down every year and terrorize the country. Tired of the constant disruption of their lives, the villagers daringly decided to scare off the monster with loud celebrations including firecrackers and lion dancing. However, motivated by a question from one of her students, Shimu was able to transform the story into a source of hope and motivation. The way she explained it, everyone has their own personal Li, but we must do what the villagers did; find our strength and persevere. They were truly words to remember so that we may enter into the New Year with courage and confidence.

So, when Shimu introduced the school’s good friend Byron Wu to play the Pipa for us, the majestic and mesmerizing pieces that he played had us captivated. The first piece was soft and melodic, adding a soothing and serene atmosphere to the space. The second was energetic and enthusiastic, exciting the air around us. And I am quite sure Li would flee, as Byron struck the strings on his instrument!

And so, with energy still high, the children took the stage. The highly spirited performance of the children would have been spectacular on its own, but Mr Cheeky’s drumming added moods of anticipation, excitement, and energy to the powerful presentation. Accompanied by the rhythmic drumming, the kids performed basic and advanced kicks, followed by dynamic displays of the basic and advanced forms. It was a fantastic performance, indeed, and showed what can be accomplished through hard work. As an audience member, you could only be amazed by the intensity of their spirit, and motivated by their clarity, confidence, and courage during the performance.

After their powerful presentation, they were not done entertaining us. They kept us amused playing games, as we were all able to enjoy a large assortment of delicious foods, tea, treats, and most importantly, fellowship with our extended family.

The night was proof that through the love and support we receive from our Shaolin family, we can be sure that we can face the New Year with heroic confidence!

Happy New Year and Gong Hei Fat Choi, everyone!
 

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  Photo by Joe Pickard
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