Shifu’s Birthday Celebration 2010

Shifu often reminds us that every day is a celebration, but on February 13th, the USA Shaolin Temple celebrated extra hard. Christmas lights  intertwined across the ceiling with Asian style lanterns dangling from up high, and flowers perfumed the air; the Temple was transformed for this extra special occasion — Shifu’s birthday! Disciples, students, family, and friends piled into the Temple, bringing love, laughter, home cooked food, and special water. The excitement grew as the clock approached 7 pm, everyone eagerly anticipating the arrival of the honored guest, none other than most handsome Shifu.

Upon Shifu’s arrival, the festivities began. Heng Ru (Bokeem Woodbine) stood up to introduce the night. Welcoming all of the guests, he shared that Shifu’s birthday “is consistently the best party I will attend all year.” Shifu’s birthday is extremely auspicious as it falls on the Chinese lunar new year. In honor of this year, the year of the Tiger, the demo team opened their performance with a roaring Hu Quan (Tiger Claw). For the next 10 minutes, they were joined by the next generation of Shaolin Warriors from kids class throwing kicks and punches in a series of movements and forms, spinning and flying through the air, representing the essence of Chan philosophy. Once the performance was over, everyone held up their glass to toast Shifu, “Gan Bei!”

Hungry appetites had been waiting patiently to sample the home cooked food everyone had brought. The huge variety, from Jerk chicken, carribean-style peas, and various pastas to stir-fried bok choy, Singaporean laksa, and Thai curry showed the amazing diversity of the Temple students and disciples. While everyone enjoyed the delicious fare, music filled the air as our very own DJ Heng Fa began to lay down the funky beats on real vinyl. Later, cover band Five2Drive rocked the party, with many students dancing hard to the classics. Heng Ru even got on stage several times, busting out wicked hardcore guitar solos.

It was finally time to present Shifu with his gifts. The Temple community had all come together to donate a beautiful jade plant and new tools to represent building the new Temple upstate. Even more special was the pledge from several disciples and students to give Shifu driving lessons – with the reward of a car when he passes his test – so he can enjoy the freedom of driving to the new Temple at any moment.

This is truly an extraordinary party. Thank you everyone for contributing to the celebration and making it such a fantastic night to remember.