Kenny’s Wudang Shan Album

kenny climbing stairs to golden peak

Kenny and Tingting

Kenny and Tingting

kenny by the quiet temple

It was “Karate Kid” (the Jackie Chan remake) that first made Kenny want to see Wudang Shan, the legendary birthplace of taiqi, in Hubei.

Truthfully, a recent watch of the movie suggests they actually shot parts of the Wudang Shan scene (where Jackie & Jaden Smith climb the mountain & he drinks holy water), at Hua Shan on the other side of the country, at Huang Shan maybe, and even some aerial shots over Guilin very far in another province! (Basically, a roundup of picturesque China!)

Golden Peak

Golden Peak

Be that as it may…he really wanted to see it, and I agreed. We took a 22-hour train ride there (new direct route, no need to stop in Wuhan) from our summer teaching base, Qingdao.

Incense burner projecting over cliff - (where the female master in the movie hypmotizes a cobra)

Incense burner projecting over cliff – (where the female master in the movie hypmotizes a cobra)

The Taoist holy mountain exercised a powerful effect. The legends of the immortals, who used medicine, meditation and mountain power to find life everlasting. Hiking through misty valleys to the rocky outcrops where they gained immortality, where now temples stand (small and large, built by the Ming emperors — unlike the Qing, who preferred to underwrite & practice Tibetan Buddhism).

Southern Cliff Palace

Southern Cliff Palace

The astonishing Ming palaces (Taoist word for temples & monasteries), which have been very , so it appeared to amateurs, tastefully, properly restored, or just shored up well, preserving their wood carving, stone work, amazing architecture, paintings.

"Holy Water"

“Holy Water”

More on all that later. Here is Kenny’s album. Studying tai qi with Master Gu at his school, WuDang Wellness Academy, and hiking around the many holy peaks. These are his selections for his favorites.

kenny doing tai qi

kenny in mist near golden peak

kenny near golden peak

kenny on misty stairs

kenny on steps to southern cliff palace

kenny sitting at temple

kenny with golden peak behind

kenny with others at golden peak

Southern Cliff Palace

southern cliff palace landscape

with master gu at the training grounde

chinese national interesting place It is, indeed, as the sign says, a “Chinese national interesting place.”

Chinese Santa

We know Santa Claus is 中国 (Chinese). We met him in a hotel, hunting for food in the Olympic Park ghost town. (I blew a week’s food budget on bar snacks. At least Santa gave out dessert). We were in the area for a big charity concert at the Indoor National Stadium celebrating Chinese-American educational exchange, with Black Eyed Peas Will i am and ap.l.de.app — didn’t know he was Filippino. Also soul singer John Legend, Chinese pop stars Coco Lee (who intriguingly stood in for Fergie) and pop chanteusse Shunze. It benefitted APSA, Americans Promoting Study Abroad.

And because America cares about minority rights noncontroversially, Chinese ethnic/folk minority artist Sa DingDing opened. A stunning Mongolian who sings in Tibetan and Sanskrit while banging huge drums and whirling like a dervish — I loved her.

Fulbrighters got tix, to treat our students. Between acts, videos about young Americans who’d studied in China — all African-Americans from either projects or poorest rural America, transformed by the experience. Clearly Obama/Hillary’s “100,000 Strong” initiative, to send that many Americans to learn in China, means to take a new sort of student overseas.

Along with Motorola, Jackie Chan sponsored, but didn’t show.

Another cultural celebrations: my school’s journalism department awards ceremony. My incredible student Yilei performed a 20th century composition on violin. We love him, on and off the stage. With his roommate Vince, the boys’ tutor.

A few other Chinese cultural moments this week, now that the boys are done & I”m playing hookey a bit. Dancers on a winter’s day, with live musicians, in Beihai Park in the heart of Imperial Beijing. The Party is the new emperor and the Party elite’s ultra-exclusive housing, beside the Forbidden City, is the new palace, my kids reminded me, but I also need to remind them: remember China in recent years lifted 600 million people out of poverty.

Dancing at a Beihai Park pavillion on lake

The same winter’s day, taich’i practitioners nearby; Ethan tried joining. He knows a couple dozen characers now and using them, read enough of a restaurant receipt to figure out what was missing from our order. I almost fell over.

This picture is in every Beijing tourist’s photo album; the large white Tibetan temple in the middle of Behai Park’s lake is covered in ceramic Buddhas. I hope more American exchange students, and teachers, of all races, come here and get to take this picture.

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