In a little over five weeks I will be going to China to study Kung Fu. On a mountain. At a temple. With Taoist priests. For a month.
I saw my first Kung Fu movie when I was seven years old (“Five Fingers of Death”), which was quickly followed by Bruce Lee’s “Fist of Fury” (better known as “The Chinese Connection” in America), and with that, I was hooked. So started my lifetime obsession with Chinese martial arts. If I wasn’t sneaking off to Chinatown to buy rare Kung Fu books and comics, or frequenting one of the four theatres that showed Kung Fu movies there (oftentimes hitting all four in the course of a week), I was either at home flying around the living room with high kicks and nunchucks, or narrowly avoiding getting my ass kicked by older kids in the surrounding Chinese neighborhood (where a then-as-yet-unknown Donnie Yen was honing his skills at his mother’s Kung Fu school). I was eventually accepted into the fold, and haven’t looked back since.
While I loved the stories of revenge and perseverance of so many of the old classic Kung Fu movies, it was the fantastic tales of flying swordsmen and women, who roamed the land dispensing justice on a never-ending quest for adventure, enlightenment, and truth that really struck a chord with me as a kid. Some were rogue soldiers, others were bandits and outlaws with an Eastern “Robin Hood” mindset, and the shaven-headed Buddhist monks of Shaolin were always there to be the calming voice of reason. But the coolest ones for me were always the long haired, high flying (and often “eccentric”) mystical sword-wielding Taoist priests from the magical temples of Wudang Mountain.
And now I get to go there and study with them high atop the clouds in ancient temples. To say this is the realization of a childhood dream would be an understatement. I can’t wait to tell you all about it when I come back. And I’m sure there will be enough inspiration for at least a few songs…