New Delhi: A lean young man, wearing a loose grey-coloured garment, stretched both his legs, then effortlessly pulled the right one towards his right shoulder and rested it on his left shoulder - creating an illusionary knot. With his left leg on the other shoulder, he lifted himself in air with the help of his hands.
This unthinkable and unimaginable act of stretching and balancing was one of many such extraordinary acts that wooed the audience in the national capital Tuesday evening during the maiden performance of the Shaolin Kung Fu troupe from China.
The 90-minute show was an initiative of the Chinese embassy in association with the India China Economic and Cultural Council to celebrate 2014 as the "Year of
friendship for India and China”.
There was an understated minimalist approach in the cultural performance where elements of drama and grandeur were limited, but the focus was more on showcasing the "teachings that go inside the fabled Shaolin Temple" as the 25 martial art performers were students of this revered destination that is home of
legendary warrior monks and thousands of Kung Fu martial arts enthusiasts from China and around the world, including India.
"The Chinese and Indian connection ties together with Buddhism, so this performance was to showcase the Indian audience what goes inside the temple and how the Buddhist teachings preach peace and equality, and our teachings are based on that," Yan Zhuang, the head of the delegation.
"Cultural exchanges like these are a great stage to bring the two oldest civilisations closer to each other," he added.
The fourteen performances showcased different boxing styles, traditional inside practices taught at the temple, fighting with Chinese traditional weapons, thumbing fist and group fighting – the traditional custom of Shaolin Temple when apprentices finishes the course and bids farewell to the master, they have to fight against the groupeighteen golden people group and find a way out.
Boredom hardly had any moment to settle in because these agile, flexible and most importantly, disciplined performers kept the audience glued to their seats by
showcasing the prowess of their act and command over syncronised body and mind ability.
"Many people perceive this form of martial art as aggressive, but what they teach you is how to stay peaceful," Chinese Embassy cultural counsellor Zhang Zhihong told IANS.
"Cultural is a great way to increase people-to-people contacts and cement our relationship with each other through various initiatives in art, films, music and
drama," he added.