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    Posted April 3, 2014 by
    Atlantic City, New Jersey
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
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    Traditional Martial Arts Meets Pop Culture at the Jersey Shore - Part 3 of 5


    See more of my photos from this event on CNN: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5.


    My photography portfolio: ByHandPix.com.


    On Saturday, Sifu Cliff Kupper and Global Proving Ground held their annual Chinese Kung Fu & Karate Expo, which took place at the Chelsea Hotel on the World Famous Atlantic City Boardwalk at the Jersey Shore. The event, now in its 8th year, included demonstrations, seminars, a casting call for the next edition of Warrior Island, a vendor booth expo, and “The Masters of Martial Arts Awards,” honoring martial artists and supporters of the arts from around the globe.


    Demonstrations were given by numerous martial arts practitioners and dozens of legends were honored at the awards banquet. Some of the demonstrators and honorees included: Shidoshi Ron Van Clief “The Black Dragon,” Hanshi Stephen Kaufman, Grand Master Sifu Chung K. Chow, Global Proving Ground CEO James Jefferson, Sifu Chiu Chi Ling, Oso Tayari Casel, Professor Sayfullaah Al-Amriykiy, Hanshi Anthony Dwight Lingo, Grandmaster Alan Goldberg, Sifu Mark Messare, Army Ranger Marc Delnicki, Soke David J. D’Antonio, Sifu Robert Samuels, Sifu Vincent Lyn, Shihan Farouk Gibbs, Lu Dwyer, Sifu Karen Schlachter, Master Kenny Chin, Mahaliel Bethea “Sensei Mo,” Sifu Kevin Hufford, Grandmaster John Crudup, Grandmaster Les Kiersnowski, Master M. Keandrus, Kyoshi David D. Taylor, Hanshi Rico Guy, Sifu James Cama, Shihan Richard A. Hopkins, Sensei Rob Carucci, Sifu Tom Lugo, Yogi Shanti Desai, Sifu Art Eng, Sifu Jamal R. El, Sifu Ronald Wheeler, Hanshi Francisco Quinones, Sifu Sharif Bey, Grandmaster Les Kiersnowski, Kyoshi Tanya Jones, Renshi BMR Tyler, Sensei Robert Del Ross, Sensei Brian Moragne, Renshi Timmy Prisk, Sifu Steven Warthen, Master Gary Harrison, Sifu Zsolt George Boka, Sifu Jose Knight, Sifu Mel Roberts, Sifu Xia Chongyi, Sifu Ronnie Taylor, Sifu Wakim Kareem Pearson, Sifu Richard Walker, Qigong Nelson Torres, Sensei Michelle “Sakura” Richardson, Hanshi Kevin McGrath, Master Mike Andrus, Hassan “Giant” Yasin, Sifu Tony Santiago, Shihan Michael Ray Graves, and many, many more.


    There were a number of actors and filmmakers greeting fans of the expo, such as: Chiu Chi Ling, a well-respected martial artist, actor and filmmaker that many fans know best from his role in Stephen Chow’s cult hit “Kung Fu Hustle;” Shidoshi Ron Van Clief, “The Black Dragon,” the trailblazing martial artist who became a superstar in Asia with roles in such cult classics as “Kung Fu Fever” & “Way of the Black Dragon;” Robert Samuels, who Sammo Hung discovered in the late 1980′s after Hung watched some of his clips, later helping Samuels become the first African American member of the Hong Kong Stuntman’s Organization; and Vincent Lyn, whose first movie “Tiger Cage” was made in Hong Kong under the direction of the legendary Yuen Woo Ping, who also handled action direction for a little science fiction film known as “The Matrix.”


    Along with demonstrations that included everything from Chinese Kung Fu to Sanuces Ryu Jiu Jitsu to Israeli Krav Maga, this year’s Chinese Kung Fu & Karate Expo also showcased a number of film, pop culture and historical fandom groups, including: Mahaliel Bethea “Sensei Mo” and actress Onique Bourne, who showed up to promote their action comedy “Love & Kung Fu;” comicbook writer Robert Garrett, who promoted the new GPG comic, along with other indie comics titles; the New Jersey Ren Fantasy Fair; the Mystic Realms Theatric Club, which presented a day long show of zombie survival and mayhem called “Zombies Versus Martial Artists,” complete with a rockin’ Zombie Cage; and Bloody Historical, a group of reenact entertainers, who presented a live-steel combat show, along with historically accurate pirate-related weapons and memorabilia. Others in attendance included: DPTV Network’s Douglas Wilburn & Rochelle Miller “La ChocolateBox,” who interviewed many of the evening’s honorees; Kidini Bully Prevention Program founder Shihan Michael Ray Graves, who discussed how his program helps kids from becoming victims; martial artist John Harris, who’s studied under a number of legendary fighters; Music artists “Why Not Bill Ray,” who performed during the after party; The Art Kartel, an art cooperative whose stated mission is to create artistic harmony, love & respect; former stuntman Gordon Noice, who’s giving retired MMA fighters alternative income streams with his Genesis Pure line of wellness products; and many others.


    The continued efforts of the Chinese Kung Fu & Karate Expo’s organizers shows the continued rebirth of Asian martial arts into mainstream American popular culture. As an example, as I researched this article, I found a movie trailer online for the new Luc Besson film “Lucy,” starring Golden Globe-nominated actress Scarlett Johansson. The film turns Johansson into a super-human action heroine, whose fighting arsenal includes plenty of high kicks, thrusts and blocks, with Asian style influences throughout the movie’s sets.

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