Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting
Those kids were fast as lightning
In fact, it was a little bit frightening
But they fought with expert timing
Every Wednesday after The Cassettes, I collect my kids from the bus stop, and take them to their Wu-Chi Kung Fu class. LaoKung Gav leads the throng of grinning, kicking, sprinting and at times frighteningly poised kids, within the mud brick walls and timber floor of Durrumbul Hall. We parents sit outside and lap up 45 minutes of passivity, taking in the sounds and energised atmosphere.
There’s a lovely mutual respect between the students and the teacher. He takes them seriously. Could also be the rhythmic WHACK of the sticks Gav holds to keep time as the kids holler, “Yi Er San!”, their little hands moving with fast as lightning yin bai hits.
Having been to two Wu Chi Kung Fu demonstrations, or should I say flashmobs, some striking parallels between The Cassettes and Kung Fu have become apparent. Which makes me feel pret-ty tough.
How The Cassettes and Kung Fu are like, really similar in some ways:
And everybody knew their part
From a feinting, to a slip
And a kickin’ from the hip
- The fabulous balance of work and play. In LaoKung’s letter to the children re: Bangalow Billy Cart Derby demonstration, these were the top three points to remember:
- Have fun
- Keep a straight line
- Hit hard, call loud and work together to get your timing
The same week in class, I spoke to The Cassette dancers about the same topic:
- Lose your shit as a performer
- Keep clear formations
- Dance beautifully and on the intended count
Spot the difference:
He said, here comes the big boss, let’s get it on
We took the bow and made a stand
2. A specific class etiquette. In Wu-Chi Kung Fu, there is behaviour in the dojo, versus behaviour outside the dojo. I like this. At The Cassettes too, how we look and behave inside class, is clearly different to what happens outside class. This superhero like transformation allows something special, sacred even, to happen within class time.
Wu-Chi students wear black pants and top, with the corresponding belt to match their level. Mix Tape, Hot Stuff and Flashmob Troupe dancers wear their favourite dance gear to class, generally in the form of bright lycra tights, humble shirts with slogans like, “I woke up this awesome”, and finally in winter: leg warmers.
As Wu-Chi Kung Fu students enter the dojo, they do a loud and clear Kung Bow. Then its on: a flurry of focused tiger presses, jhong kicks and the ancient art of stuck in the mud. Cassette students enter the studio to the organ-like intones of Bananarama, leaving behind their parenting and work responsibilities. When class starts, they know it’s time to cream some jazz to Prince. And then leave all casual, feeling a little bit changed.
They were chopping them up
They were chopping them down
3. Restraint. Yes, Both Wu-Chi Kung Fu and The Cassettes dancers could kick some serious butt, yet we choose not to. There’s great power in these dance guns. If push it came to shove, kung fu fighters MIGHT be able to do more damage; but I dare you to stand in the corner of a room while an entourage of dancers come at you with a step ball change stag leap combo. Terrifying stuff.
Figurative nunchucks and whip chains tucked in The Cassette suitcase of intrigue.