Temple Celebrates Shifu’s Birthday 2011

Shifu Arrives.On January 29th, The USA Shaolin Temple held it’s annual celebration for Shifu’s birthday and Chinese New Year, which fall on the same day. The Temple community spent several hours setting up beautiful homemade decorations and setting up the food and bar areas. As the clock neared 7 PM, everyone prepared for Shifu’s arrival. Soon the word was given, and everyone stood in anticipation. Soon Shifu emerged from the elevator with a huge smile, and greeted the crowd. After taking his seat, Heng Zhi appeared to address the audience, and talk about the progress that’s been made on the upstate Temple.

The demo team performs.Afterwards, he introduced the USA Shaolin Temple demo team, which quickly began their performance with a blast of chi. It was an electrifying show, as it was the demo team debut of Heng Xian and his 9-section whip form, which he’d learned on the 2010 trip to Shifu’s brother’s school in China. The other team members also excited everyone with performances of staff and sword forms, and awesome fight sets. As always, the favorite was when students from kids class performed together.

After the performance, student Josh Tufano went on stage to rap a song he’d wrote just for Shifu in honor of his birthday. After expressing himself beautifully, Heng Zhi came up again to talk more about the New Temple, and thank Chris Traub, who was the contractor in charge of the fall phase of renovation, and will return again in May for the next phase. Shifu went up and presented him with a beautiful Chinese sword in gratitude for his contributions.

Finally, bottles of champagne appeared and it was time for the toast. Shifu greeted the audience and told them how he’s “The luckiest Shifu on the planet” for having such wonderful students and disciples.

Shifu presents Chris Traub with a gift.After the toast, it was time to eat! The temple community had brought trays and trays of homemade food that spanned a huge variety of styles, from thai style beef curry to chana masala, from home-made kim chi to roast duck. After everyone had eaten their share, it was time to present Shifu with his birthday gift. The first few packages were opened – pillows and a bed set. Finally, Heng De handed Shifu a picture of the big gift – a tatami bed for his quarters in the upstate temple that students and disciples had all contributed for.

Afterwards, the party went into full swing! Resident DJ Heng Fa began spinning his awesome sets of hip hop and reggae classics, and alternated with Heng Yi’s rock cover band. It was such a great party, even the police showed up at one point! Of course, there was no problem, and the music was turned down accordingly.

The Temple community danced the night away, celebrating their beautiful lives and grateful for the beautiful opportunities Shifu has brought to them. Every day is Christmas, every day is New Years. Express yourself and train harder!

To see more pictures of the party, visit our facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/usashaolintemple.