Fifteen chosen masters endowed with the transformational power of ancient Chinese martial discuss little known secrets about Chinese martial arts in America.
New York, NY -- (SBWIRE) -- 06/21/2013 -- Filming started in 2007 and completed final editing in Dec. 2012; Urban Dragons explores the lives of urban African-American and Latino martial artists. It tells the stories of fifteen chosen masters but also demonstrates the healing and transformational power of ancient Chinese martial arts for men “who exist on the periphery of their society”.
Dr. Keith Hunter, Executive Producer of the movie, explained that many young urban black and brown men are caught in an environment of crime and drugs and it is hard for them to see beyond their broken community. As a martial art practitioner for about 40 years, Dr. Hunter understands the power of martial arts, which can help develop maturity. “Once people can make one thing out of themselves, they can master other things in life,” concluded Dr. Hunter. The characters of this film are legends in their respective art and role models in breaking cycles of economic and moral poverty.
Co-Producer/Film Maker Master Jose Figueroa grew up in New York City and excelled in Traditional Chinese Martial Arts in the areas of competition, performance, education and publishing. Jose founded the Mind Body Synergy Institute in 1992, which utilized various forms of Chinese Wushu exercise and treatments for detoxification. He has been a Tai Chi (Taiji) Consultant at the Veterans Affairs Hospital's Psychiatric Department where he has applied Chen style Tai Chi for Post Traumatic Stress disorder patients, drug & alcohol dependents, and patients with spinal cord injuries. He felt compelled to tell the stories of the black and brown masters who survived hardships and thrived in the arts.
Under the directorship and production of Kamau Hunter, who has produced and directed several films that examine hidden cultures and arts, Urban Dragons tells stories with a powerful message. Master Stephan Berwick, known for his "deadly legs" and founder of “True Tai Chi “, provided narration for this movie and led us through the path how Chinese Martial Arts was introduced and developed in American inner cities, how black and brown martial artists grew up and became masters and the evolution of a craft. The road to mastery wasn’t easy; in addition to strenuous training, diligent study and disciplined practice, masters had to face other obstacles like proving Chinese martial arts as a viable one by competing and fighting against Karate, Taekwondo and other boxing styles.
In many ways, the black and brown martial artists are the true heroes in establishing Chinese Martial Arts in the West and earning respect for the arts. However, due to cultural misunderstanding, the black and brown masters endured some form of perceived discrimination.
Sankofa, a word in Anka language used in Ghana, means "reach back and get it". When urban dragons went to China, they were treated as honorable sons returning home. They were showcased and recognized by the fatherland.
You can visit the official website http://urbandragonsfilm.com/ and learn more each of the masters in this groundbreaking film
By Violet Li