New York City is amazing. You never know what you’ll come across. I got a call from Stacey on Thursday morning: “There’s a kung fu panda thing happening at Grand Central at 1:30 today!” That’s about all the info she had. I looked it up on-line and found very little more. But it sounded interesting and it was near my office. So I grabbed my camera and headed over. What it turned out to be was an event by the Beijing Tourism Committee promoting their new 72-hour visa-free program. Following far too much dry talk from Chinese dignitaries and the MCs introducing all the dignitaries and selling Beijing, the good stuff started.
I was a bit wary, because it started with a bunch of people in full body panda costumes using “bamboo” staves and nunchucks. But then it moved into a series of exhibitions by students of the Beijing Sports and Exercise School. Some of it was familiar from the Shaolin work that my teacher, Fight Master Mike Chin, would show us — Long fist and staff. I think one of the more amazing sections was a demonstration of Biàn Liǎn or Face-Changing, where the performer came on stage with an elaborate mask and costume. During his dance, he would change the mask faster than you could perceive. Amazing!