On the eve of our Jow Ga Kung Fu Tour of China and Hong Kong Nick finalised his Black Belt Testing.
SiGung awarded him his Black Sash on Saturday 31st March. Nick will also receive our rare Gold Standard
of Excellence Black Belt.
Rare Awards for Gold Standard of Excellence for Black Belt were presented by SiGung to the following Instructors - John Callaghan, Katrina Douglas, Jeremy Nysen, Josh Smith, Nic Smith
In celebration of our 30th Anniversary Sifu Bennett took a delegation to China. The Australian Jow Ga Kung Fu Tour 2012 was an action packed schedule of Kung Fu events in Hong Kong and China over a 2 week period during April. Our delegates visited many Jow Ga schools in China and Hong Kong, performed kung fu in incredible locations and attended about 12 banquets in all! Thanks to Sifu Jow in China for hosting us and keeping us constantly entertained from dawn until late every day. Thanks also to our Hong Kong kung fu family at Chung Oi Chau Biu Martial Arts Sports Assoc and to Chau Bui Chinese Boxing for their usual kindness in Hong Kong.
Day 1 we enjoyed a vegetarian banquet lunch together and it being Ching Ming Festival we payed respects at the graveside of our founder Jow Bui in Hong Kong. In Kong. In the evening we visited Hong Kong Jow Ga schools with students demonstrating their Kung Fu skills and enjoying the interactions.
On Day 2 we attended the Celebration in honour of Si Jo Jow Bui which included lion dance, kung fu per from Jow Ga students and masters from Australia, America, South Africa, Hong Kong and China - all followed of course with a banquet. Here our students claimed the stage to strike 'the Pose' - a tongue in cheek group shot that would be repeated by them to Sifu's amusement many times during this tour.
Entering China by water on Day 3 we travelled along the pearl River to our base in Gaogong - in the chaos of arrival and pouring rain students were introduced immediately to their special transport - the infamous 'Girls Dead Monster' van - and the blasting Canto Pop music mix that would become all too familiar in the coming days (see Gallery/Video page 2012 Monatages for a sample).
The moment we arrived in town there was a lunch banquet for us and then we hit the road in our convey of vehicles to Sun Hui village to pay respects at the Jow Tin school and the brand new Jow Ga Five Tigers Memorial Hall and to visit the well established 5 Tigers of Jow Ga Shrine and pavilion. Heavy rain cleared as we arrived on site - this proved to be the order of things in the coming days - constant rain fortuitously halting each time we arrived at our destination. At the 5 Tigers Shrine numerous offerings were made, led by Sifu Jow and our own Sifu Bennett, along with local Jow Ga masters, their students and the visiting students from our school. This was the first of many experiences in the coming days dominated not only by kung fu and lion dance but by loud firecrackers and much incense. Finally as honoured guest it came to Sifu Bennett to set off the Mother of all Firecrackers 'the Yin Li Lai Especially Red Artillery' at the 5 Tigers Shrine - see slideshow below and Gallery/Video. We then went on to visit the school of Sifu Jow at the Juijiang Hero's Assembly, where back in 2009 we had been part of the Chinese International Jow Ga Tournament . After a casual visit and offerings at the school's shrine we went on to another fantastic banquet in our honour at a new local seafood restaurant. Here we were treated to a banquet of fine vegetarian food and introduced to the potent and delicious Kui Kiang 'Medicinal Wine'! We were soon red-faced and definitely feeling the benefits of this great medicine we would come to consume regularly at lunch and dinner.
Day 4 we travelled to Foshan to the famous Zu Miao Ancestral Temple complex. It was familiar to some of us from previous trips but a new and lovely experience for many. What was planned as an hour or so visit happily turned into hours on site investigating the many temples, grottos and also the museums of Ip Man and Wong Fei Hong. We enjoyed wushu performances, then Jow Ga students and masters on both sides began posing for the cameras, our students doing their own performances and kung fu practice in the grounds. Zu Miao holds a spectacular lion dance on high Jongs daily - it turned out that the kung fu master there was a former student of our host Sifu Jow who is famous for his lion dance and drumming teams. Sifu Bennett was treated as a special guest, honoured during the lion dance to receive the greens and red packet from the lion.
We made our way through town to another temple famous for it's gourmet Buddhist vegetarian lunches - just one of many delicious vegetarian banquets during our tour, this one so good it almost had our sceptical Cantonese hosts convinced of converting to vegetarianism! Next stop was a local lion dance and kung fu shop where many weapons and equipment were purchased. Late in the day we moved on to another village Jow Ga school in the traditional walled style, all paying respects and interacting there before congregating that evening with Jow Ga family from all over the Nan Hai region of Guangdong for another great banquet and some more of that special 'medicinal rice wine'.....On to late night performances in the grounds of the Juijiang Heros Assembly. Again the rain stopped just in time - rain puddles in the soaked concrete courtyard were Vacumned up, carpets rolled out and we were off and running. Sifu Jow's students opening the occasion with a 16 person drum and percussion performance, students exchanging kung fu until late into the night, the spectators and masters always calling for more, more,..until at last the rain began and we moved indoors to exchange gifts, our Australian Jow Ga Kung Fu 30th Anniversay T-shirt being in high demand!
Day 5 began with a scenic tour of the increasingly gentrified housing and apartments along the local riverside, followed by a tour of the incredibly popular rice wine museum - the Kui Kiang Suang Zheng Museum which showed the history and traditions of Chinese rice wine making. Next we were the special guests of the manager of Kui Kiang in an honorary banquet, accompanied by much 'medicinal rice wine' toasting. Eventually we moved on to the mountain park of Qishan where we walked the paths and climbed the steps through the mountain temples eventually reaching the largest statue of the Buddhist deity Kwan Yin in the world - our students ensuring they took every opportunity to execute 'the Pose' along the way! Upon visiting a nearby Wong Fei Hong complex our students seemed to gather more fans and spectators than the professional performers there - yes striking 'the Pose' again and Zoran flexing his muscles for the Chinese school students! We were soon on the road again to drop in for a visit to the village of Sifu Wong and Lui Hoi Jow Ga. Expecting just a short visit, after making offerings at the school's shrine Sifu Wong soon invited Sifu Bennett and our Australian entourage to a banquet and Ching Ming festivities in their nearby Ancestral Temple at LongGong. Lions, drums, weapons and students were loaded onto the back of trucks and into 'the Girls Dead Monster' van and shipped out along the back roads to LongGong. On the street a large stage and lighting were being set up for a night of Cantonese Opera directly opposite the Ancestral Temple. Lion dance and firecrackers announced our arrival into the complex, a banquet was laid out for everyone after which the evening's entertainment began - our students kung fu! This was completely unexpected - we had believed it was a kung fu free day, students were unprepared, tired, wearing flip flops and tight jeans, harbouring sore muscles and a few mild injuries from days of performing. Lion dance and firecrackers opened our kung fu performances - see video - then with cries for 'more' our kung fu continued into the night...later we exited the Ancestral hall to face the set and performers of the Cantonese Opera with the whole village gathered to watch. It was an amazing night! We piled into our vehicle convey and back to the hotel for a late night farewell to Sifu Jow, our translator Ci Ci and to some of our team members...after a few hours sleep a few were leaving on an early bus to Hong Kong and the rest of us heading off on a flight to the countryside near Yangshou/Guilin for some much needed R & R.
Back in Hong Kong days later, we had more events to attend for the Tin Hau Festival over 2 days with the Jow Ga family schools in Hong Kong. Students climbed on board ferries adorned with banners, loading drums, lions and shrines to head to the Islands around Hong Kong harbour for a day of festivity and kung fu followed by banquets... on our last night Sifu and students attended Chung Oi Chau Bui Associations's auction banquet to raise funds for Jow Ga in Hong Kong.
It was an amazing kung fu tour - enjoy our story, photos and film below and don't forget to check us on Facebook too!
Also see the Gallery/Video page for Montage clips of our Kung Fu in Hong Kong and China