Shaolin Warriors Perform at Meyerhoff, One Day Only, October 18
Program features stunning feats of Chinese kung fu movement
Baltimore, Md. (September 18, 2009)—The internationally acclaimed Shaolin Warriors will present a fully-choreographed performance showcasing their discipline and skill as martial arts masters at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall on Sunday, October 18 at 3:00 p.m. The Shaolin Warriors-who train for several hours each day in kung fu and meditation-are disciples of the Shaolin schools in China, founded under the Buddhist philosophies of non-violence and non-aggression. Please note: the BSO does not perform on this program. See below for complete program information.
Hailed by The Washington Post as performers who "combine the agility and grace of gymnasts with the showmanship of Cirque du Soleil performers," each performer is required to achieve an extraordinarily high level of proficiency in each of the temple's 18 traditional weapons and to become a master of one. However, it is the daily practice of seated meditation, which enables the individual performer to sustain a demanding physical regimen. Through a practice known as Ch'an (Chinese for Zen), they calm the body and focus the mind to a single collected point in order to attain a mental state known as Samadhi, or complete mental absorption. It is in this quiet, yet highly focused state of mind that they are able to sustain extreme physical discomfort and pain. This enables them to undergo the intense daily training required to achieve and maintain the level of adeptness for which they are so highly praised.
The Shaolin tradition traces its roots back to the early years of China's history, when war disturbed much of the feudal lands. During this time, the Shaolin monks studied the attack and defense movements of animals to develop their own deftness and skill. Nearly 1,500 years later, their practices are still revered for their technical skill and concentration. China Performing Arts Agency Productions in Beijing produces this program, in association with CAMI Ventures.
About Shaolin Warriors
On a summer day in A.D. 525, a Buddhist monk from India named Bodhi-dharma arrived at the base of Mount Shaoshi in what would later become the Henan province of central China. He took in the scenery, thought or said something to the effect of, "This is the place," and promptly founded the Shaolin monastery-the headquarters of a Buddhist sect that became known across Asia for its disciplined spiritualism and deadly martial-arts prowess. One guesses that Bodhi-dharma had no idea that nearly 1,500 years later, the disciples of Shaolin would still be held in great reverence while demonstrating their remarkable skill and stunning movement to audiences throughout modern-day China and around the world.
Recognizing the need to protect themselves in a battle-torn feudal China, the early Shaolin monks embarked on a long process to develop a system of defense by meditating on the attack and defense movements of animals that lived near their monastery. The Shaolin monks called their system of fighting wushu, and after a few centuries of practice, their order was famous far and wide for being a brand of Buddhists that one would be unwise to provoke. However, even with all of their remarkable fighting abilities, the Shaolin monks' skills are never put to aggressive use.
A note about the Shaolin disciples and Buddhism: It is a commonly held understanding that Buddhism and certainly Buddhist believers espouse a philosophy of non-violence and non-aggression. This philosophy is certainly in accordance with the modern-day practices of the Shaolin disciples and it would be incorrect to associate demonstrations of Shaolin fighting techniques as acts of aggression. The Shaolin fight mostly in silence, exhibiting what can be described as "stillness in movement," this "stillness" is a direct result of a serene mind, cultivated through the practice of meditation.
COMPLETE PROGRAM INFORMATION
BSO Presents: Shaolin Warriors
Sunday, October 18, 2009 at 3:00 p.m.-Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall
Tickets start at $25 and are available through the BSO Ticket Office, 877.BSO.1444, 410.783.8000 or BSOmusic.org.