Martial Arts Demo Complements 2014 Common Book

On May 15, Browning’s Upper School students received a presentation from Alan Lee’s Chinese Kung-Fu Wu- Su Association, a martial arts school based in New York City. The association showcased their different abilities and strengths and discussed their methods in relation to the Boxer Rebellion, which served as a fitting conclusion to a year-long discussion of the 2014-15 common book, “Boxers and Saints” by Gene Luen Yang.

Kung-Fu Wu-Su is a martial art dating back thousands of years. According to their website, "The Chinese Kung-Fu, Wu-Su Association has been a beacon of traditional martial arts in New York City for over 45 years. [Their] founder, Grandmaster Alan Lee, was one of the first to teach this knowledge openly to all, regardless of race. The school he founded continues to pioneer the instruction of a once obscure art."

The group presented to the boys breathing techniques, breaking bricks, one-on-one fighting, and concluded with a “brawl,” in which all of the members incorporated all the demonstrations into this final piece.

Middle School teacher and coach Dan Ragsdale, who has been a student of the group for years, introduced them to the boys at the assembly. Mr. Ragsdale also demonstrated his own skills when he amazed the students by slicing a brick in half with his bare hands! Reflecting on the success of the assembly, Mr. Ragsdale said, "The entertainment value of a martial arts demonstration, featuring hand-to-hand fighting and weapons, is an easy sell at a boys school. The accompanying emphasis on mental discipline as the cornerstone of physical and personal development was hopefully a powerful, if less flashy, takeaway for the students.”