On the Championship

A couple of days before coming to Toronto, I corresponded with a long time customer who is with a foreign embassy now residing in a country that is perpetually at war. In a few back-and-forth emails our talk lit on the role of the artist—martial or otherwise—in bringing peace.

I thought of him as I watched the opening ceremonies of the 10th World Wushu Championship last night. Representatives—that is, martial artists—from over fifty countries paraded the exhibition hall behind their countries’ name placard and flag. Although they are, presumably, all here for “competition”, it was the fact of “coming together” that really stirred my heart. People who countries are at war stood together; whose countries had been demonized, smiled and waved as the audience cheered them on; people who are separated by language, distance, religion, custom but who share this common love of martial arts.

Perhaps the most radical thing an artist can do is not cross boundaries but refuse to acknowledge them. I am fairly certain that a Chinese general 1000 years ago did not expect to see his art performed in Argentina, or Finland, or Canada. Yang Lu Chan probably did not anticipate the world renown of Taiji. The Chinese martial arts have flowed into every country and in every country people have knelt, dipped their cups into that river, and stood up as martial artists.

Other posts in this series:
10th World Wushu Championship
The Sad State of Southern Kung Fu
Some Proposals

Leave a Reply

What do you have to say?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.