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Black Kungfu Experience

29 customer reviews

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$14.30 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details Only 6 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.

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Black Kungfu Experience + The Hanged Man: The Story of Ron Van Clief
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

This film focuses on how a group of African American pioneers became respected masters in a subculture dominated by Chinese and white men. Their stories illustrate how Kung Fu was and still is a unique crucible of the black experience, which is less about flash and style, kicks and punches, than it is about community, identity, and cross-cultural bridges.

Review

Intertwining interview clips with archival footage, this entertaining documentary should have wide appeal. Recommended. --Video Librarian

Product Details

  • Actors: Mei-Juin Chen
  • Directors: Martha Burr
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: PBS (DIRECT)
  • DVD Release Date: June 11, 2013
  • Run Time: 60 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00C12ZIE8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #101,831 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dingfelder on January 17, 2014
Format: Amazon Instant Video
It looks like The Black Kungfu Experience was a very positive one. As one of the masters says, that's a natural thing. How can something that teaches you discipline and patience and concentration not wind up being something positive?

It was for these masters. Some of them grew up in especially tough times. Brutally attacked by a gang of racists that sent him to a hospital for months, in retaliation merely for refusing to sit at the back of the bus, one master (Ron van Clief?) in the marine corps recovered only to be sent on suicide missions by his "cracker" officers in Vietnam, who told them that if they couldn't get him here, the "gooks" would get him out there. It took him decades, he says, to get out of survival mode enough to be able to sleep well. Yet now he has the kind of easy smile and humility, and positive attitude, we'd all wish on ourselves when we get to his grey-crowned years.

There is lots of recounting of going to Chinatown movie theaters back in the 70's to catch the kung fu movies back when nobody had even heard of kung fu or had any idea what it might be. I'm old enough to remember those years and the incredible thrill of going into those theaters as one of the only non-Chinese there to see people move the way I might not even have been able to imagine people moving before, in villages and costumes and with weapons my whole world had no idea of. The laughing and flirting and hooting turning the place upside down while the actors talked, only to be suddenly hushed, not one tiniest noise, when the first loud stinging slap on screen began the wrong that must be righted, the injustice that would be redeemed. With the tiger claw, the toad punch (what?), the dragon whipping his tail.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rokudan on November 1, 2013
Format: DVD
It was initially a multiple volume project that was limited to one film for budget reasons and the makers went with the strongest choices in a myriad of martial artists. Ron, Dennis, and Casell are what the film says they are. They are real artists who paid their dues during the grindhouse years when kung fu was in its infancy in America. Good People. I am at a comfort to see they have the mantle as torchbearers and they deserve it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Somalia Gullette on September 3, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I loved this documentary. I wish it could have been a bit longer & more in depth. Overall, I enjoyed this. My only complaint is that it didn't include the late great Jim Kelly. How can you talk about Black people in kung fu & NOT include him or Carl Scott, Taimak, & Peter Cunningham?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Master1349 on November 19, 2013
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this documentary about the Black KungFu Experience in America. These Martial Artist have accomplished a lot in their lifetime, becoming movie stars and Martial Art Grand Masters plus owning their own schools. The filming is great; some of the film is dated material from the early 70s, but a part of our American history, great information. I learned a lot about these men that I did not know. This DVD was a great purchase for me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Andy Rodz on October 17, 2013
Format: Amazon Instant Video Verified Purchase
A+ documentary. Exactly how I wanted to spend my evening. I especially liked the detailed explanation of the 4 different snake styles one of the masters teaches. And I've got the hunger for some Hung Gar. (Sorry for the terrible pun)
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Wonderful look at how four African Americans used their love of the Chinese Martial Arts to develop and advance their lives. Of note is that I remember Tayari Casel as a fantastic sparring champion who used rarely seen groundfighting techniques as well as superb timing to battle the seemingly invinceable L'il John Davis in Madison Square Garden's old Felt Forum way back in 1974. Casel represented the Chinese Systems at the time but has since gone on to do something he claims as entirely African in origin although how he got to it is never explained. Ron Van Clief is, as far as my knowledge, the only New York based fighter to have competed in the old style bareknuckle Karate tournaments, Professional Full contact Karate matches in the US as well as in Europe and Taiwan, and then finally the UFC against the amazing Royce Gracie. He made up his own system but backed it up by fighting anyone who challenged his ways-and won! Dennis Brown's story is however most important. What he is able to pass on through teaching the Kung Fu he learned from Willy Lin is invaluable to the inner city kids who are his students. Sifu Brown is truly an amazing man who is really helping everyday folks through the teaching of the martial arts. The BKFE is a must for anyone involved in the martial arts!
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Good DVD presenting a excellent view of the Black aka African American experience since the 1960 to the late 1980s. There are a few issues which I can relate to 1. Master Ron Van Clief in the military is or was common for most men of a dark color. I experienced up front and personal. I however studied the MA prior to me entering into the Navy which was still highly prejudice in the upper ranks in the 1980's. I also, can related to Master Dennis Brown in that my start in the MA started in a similar fashion. My only negative issue is that there were so many other martial artists who were African American that left their mark on the African American society little known Martial artist Carl Scott, whom made movies beside Bruce Li and Billy Chong within the same time line. Although this master showed his "thing" in the mid to late 1980- He was moving up in the 1970's i.e. Billy Blanks.
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