World Black Belt Blog
Eric Lee's and Cynthia Rothrock's China Martial Arts Tour
On October 11, 2005, Grandmaster Eric Lee, Grandmaster Cynthia Rothrock, Grandmaster Bob Maschmeier, Grandmaster John Olivier, Grandmaster Max Pallen Sr. (myself-Professor Mitch Powell), Master Mark Gerry, Master Erik Kovaleski, Sifu John Magee, Sifu Peter Charos, Sensei William Miller, Sensei Michael Schieberl, Sihing Joe Quintela, and others traveled to China to experience the birth place of the martial arts.
We could have easily gone to each historic location and took pictures, but Master Mark Gerry had a plan. Instead of taking pictures, he was determined to do much more. Under his direction we all climbed the Great Wall of China with our uniforms and belts in hand. Once on top the wall, we performed our katas and techniques as spectators from around the world gathered to watch.
For many that would have been the event of a lifetime, but Master Gerry's plan continued. Next we traveled to the Forbidden City. After entering this truly historic city and viewing its beauty, we found the perfect location inside where many of us performed yet another demo, attracting hundreds of spectators.
Film stars Eric Lee and Cynthia Rothrock joined us and performed for the crowd. In one sequence Grandmaster Lee performed the tai chi taught to him by his father, as well as his amazing gung fu. Grandmaster Rothrock performed a tandem kata with Master Kovaleski. She then performed a spectacular gung fu form by herself. Master Gerry demonstrated several self defense techniques using Master George Dillman's pressure point concepts. Sifu John Magee and I performed several of Kajukenbo's Palama Sets, and Grandmaster Max Pallen demonstrated hit stick fighting concepts, deliverying a thunderous pounding to his uke.
While all of us stood there in amazment following the demo, Master Gerry's plan had not yet been completed. There was a third demo to be performed.
Making our way to the Shaolin Temple was a moment that I will personally always remember. I felt a certain feeling of enlightenment just standing in front of the Temple. The group gathered together and then we made our way inside. While we were there to watch the monks train and view the historic sight, we also had another motive.
Once inside we began with the induction of Cynthia Rothrock into the World Martial Arts Masters Association. She was truly honored and looking very beautiful in her red silk uniform.
Following the induction, we located a spot inside the Temple and once again assembled together to perform. During this demonstration we all got involved. It was a very exciting moment. We demonstrated our forms and techniques and the crowd began to grow. At one point, many of the monks looked on and watched with great interest. Our guide, Yin, commented afterward that the monks had never seen anything like the kajukenbo techniques that we performed--at least not with all the contact. He also mentioned the monks wanted to fight us to see how good we were, but couldn't because it was not allowed inside the Temple.
Never in my life did I ever think that Kajukenbo would be performed at the Shaolin Temple, let alone that I would be one of those demonstrating it. Because of Master Mark Gerry's determination it's all there on DVD for us and everyone to enjoy. I can't wait to send the DVD to Sijo, so that he can see with his own eyes the Kajukenbo he developed in the tiny Palama Settlement gym performed through China's most historical landmarks, including the birth place of gung fu--the Shaolin Temple.
Professor Mitch Powell
Powell's Mixed Martial Arts Academy