Practice tai chi in front of Chiang Kaishek.
A short time ago, I was taken on a chaperoned jaunt through Shanghai’s Kung Fu Museum by tour guide generalissimo Daniel Newman. Lying hidden away in the peaceful and leafy northern part of the city like some solitary monk, the Kung Fu Museum is usually empty and mercifully free of the hordes of noisy, flag-waving tourists you find polluting most of Shanghai’s historical sites. Daniel, himself a martial artist, was extremely knowledgeable and methodical while explaining the artful ways the Chinese have been bashing in their enemies and one another throughout the centuries. Thoroughness and fun are the main reasons Newman Tours—Daniel’s firm—is fast becoming highly reputable in China, recently earning glowing reviews from China Daily, CNN Travel, and The New York Times.
Visitors sample the food invented by Qi Jiguang to keep his troops alive.
Not only was the tour packed with gory info (did you know the red tassel on a spear was used to stop the flow of blood from the blade getting to the wooden shaft? Nope, me neither), but it also gave a comprehensive overview of China’s martial arts culture, heritage, and accompanying variety of terrifying weaponry. For a self-respecting armchair fan of the flying kick such as myself, it was an afternoon well spent. Easily the funniest moment came at the end of the tour, when we took turns fighting a green screen virtual simulation of Bruce Lee. Bruce proved a tough adversary, until the only girl in our group defeated him by repeatedly beating him over the head with her handbag (below). No amount of exhaustive training could have prepared him for the wrath of her Longchamp. Ka-pow!
For more information, visit http://newmantours.com/.
Photos: Courtesy of George Wyndham