Kung fu fighting

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Call it a Coney Island kung fu invasion.

A group of students from a Sunset Park kung fu school performed martial arts routines at Councilman Chaim Deutsch’s (D — Sheepshead Bay) community barbecue in Luna Park on Aug. 16. The performance included a synchronized fight set presentation, as well as individual performances with students who have mastered the use of various weapons. The students mesmerized approximately 300 curious on-lookers with their depictions of age-old traditional Chinese techniques, but the performance gave the students great pleasure, too.

“It is a positive thing to show people,” said Wissan Charles, a 29-year-old Haitian immigrant who has been studying at Zhang Yuan Kung-Fu School for four years. “You are motivating them to learn something and to stay healthy.”

Charles used a guan dao — also known as a reclining moon blade — in his performance, a pole weapon that features a heavy blade and spike. He has been training with the weapon for six months, and has come a long way.

“It’s really light if you know how to use it properly,” Charles said.

The school’s instructor, the Zhang Yuan, is a Chinese grandmaster and world renowned martial artist who teaches students about discipline, respect, and treating others kindly. Students practice and perform often. A younger student said that performances remind her of why she started studying the martial art in the first place.

“My dad used to show me really cool kung fu movies when I was really little,” said 13-year-old Maria Chen, who has been studying kung fu for most of her life. “And now I can show others how cool it is.”

Reach reporter Eric Faynberg at (718) 260–2508 or by e-mail at Follow him on Twitter @ericfaynberg.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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