Monday, January 30, 2017

CCBA Chinese New Year Banquet

I joined Woo Ching White Crane for the CCBA Chinese New Year banquet. I had to leave before all the speeches but I did get a chance to hear Uncle Paul and Mayor Marty Walsh speak briefly rallying behind the strength of Boston's diverse immigrant communities

St. James Performance

We joined Woo Ching White Crane at St. James the Greater Catholic Church in Chinatown to celebrate the Chinese New Year. 

The hand form we perform is the Cross penetrating the heart fist. Although the reference in Chinese is not to Christianity in any form, I thought the name of the form is fitting and is one of the reasons why i have focused on teaching this form to the boys at Nativity. We also perform a fighting form with prop weapons that I made myself, and though they are not "real" or that stable, I am pretty proud of them. At least I know I can pretty much bring them anywhere and I can even let the kids play with them on each other. (Obviously they still have to be careful.)

After the Church celebration we went to a playground where we met up with Adriana Li. She played the Nian monster and Noah hunted her for a bit. You can also see that the newly refurbished Tai Tung Playground that I used to pick feces and heroin needles up on a weekly basis is looking fantastic. 

The building behind are getting knocked down or redone (any info on this?) 

The community is definitely changing fast. 

Chinese New Year's Day Adventure

We travelled up to New Hampshire with Woo Ching White Crane to celebrate the Chinese New Year with a lion dance and a feast. We then headed to Lowell's Eggroll cafe where local brother's and business owners Mike and Meng Kit provided a New Year's celebration for the Lowell Community. 

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Chinese New year shopping spots

The biggest one to go to right now is the China Trade Center on 2 Boylston Street. But there are also a few other spots on the street in Chinatown and in restaurants. Where do you buy your Chinese New Year Decorations? What are you special New Year customs?

"Art is something that we need more of in the Chinese Community."

My mom always liked sketching and doing Chinese Paint brushing. Thinking back, she was actually really good at it. She could capture a face much quicker than I, and I suppose I owe the fact that I know anything at all about paints or drawing to her. I haven't thought much about the fact that art is not a big a deal in my household until interviewing Rod Gao, founder of Mr. Gao's studio in Chinatown. 

Mr. Gao learned art in China going to design school there and also in the U.S. at Wentworth. He continued on to business school at Northeastern University. Having been in Chinatown for ten or more years he did notice that a lot of art schools charge a very high fee hear and tat for many Chinese families there may be a language barrier between the teacher and the student's parents. 

I asked him if he knew about the stereotype that most Chinese parents (at least on the west coast) are really against allowing their children to pursue art. Honestly this is something I only encountered in recent years, again because my exposure to art was through the Chinese Community mostly. Ironically, I was the one that nipped any "artsy" type career in the bud myself... looking for something more practical (or what I thought was practical at the time).... but then I guess by the time I was in college I did not have parents at all, so that whole, "you have to study something more practical" lecture is something foreign to me. 

But Mr. Gao immediately was like "yep yep I know exactly what you are talking about."

"My friends" (in China) "gave up art to learn accounting, and many parents want their children to focus on STEM," which stands for Science, technology, English and Math, "art is secondary, even in Public Schools."
He went on to explain that recently people have started to put art into that category of important things children should learn however. and call it STEAM. Why?

""Art is important in personality and creative development. It is important for critical thinking. In art there isn't one way. There are multiple ways to get to one result. So the child can think, 'Everyone is doing it that way... but is there another way' Also kids can express what they think. Art is a good indication of what is going on in their minds. Are they upset? Are they frustrated? It plays a critical role in growing up."

He talked about the three ways that people can express themselves. Music, Words and art.

Being a Martial artist I will add a few things to that list. Of course there is also dance. But more dangerously... there is violence. Children and teens who do not have a means to express themselves through words, art, and music may very well choose fists, knives and guns. Being stuck between languages and cultures can complicate and magnify this problem. I mentioned Amber Torres in a previous post and the fact that she had worked on Urban Galas. But yes I agree that Art is something that we definitely need more of in the Chinese Community, to express what is going on in all of our minds. And the first step is to foster the love of art in the next generation with the guidance of someone who has dedicated their life not only to art, but to the teaching of art, like Mr. Gao. 

But anyone can pick up a brush, even if they are old. In fact the interview got me thinking more about the fact that I have ignored art for arts sake for a long time. Yes I made some lion heads and my little monkey king statue.... but always I feel like I need it to serve a purpose and maybe I have been neglecting this aspect of my own children's development.   

Well luckily there is an Art school in Chinatown. So after all the Chinese New Year parades and craziness is over, perhaps we will check it out. You should too. 

Rod Gao
Principal, Founder
Mr.Gao's Studio
New Address: 137 South St, 3rd Flr Boston MA, 02111.

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How to pick up women in Chinatown

Yesterday I walked around Chinatown with my little pine tree in my hand.

"That's a nice tree!"

"Where did you buy that?"

"Excuse me.... Where did you get that tree?"

Everyone wanted to ask me, in perfect or broken English.

Actually, now that you mention it, it was all women that were asking me too.

So if you want to pick up women in Chinatown,

head over to 2 Boylston Street for the Chinatown Mainstreet pop up flower market and buy yourself a little bonsai and stand anywhere in Chinatown holding it in your hand. Or better yet stand in line at a siu lap place where people are stuck there... someone will start asking you about your little tree.

I got new footage yesterday with more people shopping.

It turns out.... it is better to get footage with less people because then you can actually see the merchandise.

There are plenty of Chinese New Year decorations, flowers, teas... and yes bonsai trees.

Which again, apparently attract women.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Places to Buy New Year's stuff in Chinatown

China Pearl always creates a magical world for Chinese New Year. I'm really into it. It feels kind of like a Chinese Christmas where you are transported into some sort of Chinese Fairy Land where the Magical Lion lives. Of course these stories do not exist really bit the Santa Claus legend isn't that old and the whole Santa's Village and taking pictures with a guy in a beard is really new.

My friend says the set up is more for Jook Sings and Americans...well..... THAT"S ME!

Another cool place is the Pop up Flower Market at the China Trade Center. It's more traditional like. Your meat and bones Chinese New Year gifts and wares.

I walked over to both today.

Here is a video.

Wonton Violence

I saw this video on Facebook and had to connect with this awesome band.

Here was an interview I did with HKF. Also I think I have a new nickname to add to the many I already I have. "Cheung-bung" The Questions are me, the answers are HKF

Q: What does HKF stand for
A:  HKF is an abbreviation of my name, Hong Kong Fever.  Other members in the gang are Down-Lo Mein (D-Lo) and The Hunan Bomb (HB).  Add these to your acronym bank so you and your homies can LOL.

Q: (I am assuming you guys are in Manhattan) I heard that New York's Chinatown is actually doing a better job at curbing gentrification compared with Boston, but in your video it also seemed to be a concern. Can you talk about this?
A:  Gentrification is affecting all of New York City, with Chinatown residents being particularly vulnerable due to the language barrier and lack of a support system to keep residents informed.  We all know there are some crooked landlords out there, but imagine if you apply that corruption upon traditionally marginalized immigrants and who aren't aware of their rights as tenants?  Families get tossed (unethically) from their own community like yesterday's tofu and their livelihoods get destroyed.  For more info check out

Q: How did Notorious MSG start?
A: We all met in the kitchens of Chinatown, NYC back in the early 2000's.  We weren't content with the idea of working in restaurants for the rest of our lives, so like many pissed-off dishwashers, we formed a band.

Q: Do you guys have a message or is it more just about having fun?
A: Doesn't all media have a message?

For me, NMSG is all about blowing-out homogenized, complacent bungholes across the board. Being Asian American, we're part of an under-represented community... and sometimes a brutha's got to detonate a few ass-flaps to be heard. 

Q: I noticed a lot of Kung Fu and Lion Dance in the videos.. are you guys all part of a team? Which one? Do you go out on New Year's? Are you going out this New Year's? Do you have any cool stories about that?
A: This is a very thorough line of questioning. To answer all your questions:
1. No, but the location we used for our latest video "Wonton Violence" belongs to the NY Chinese Freemasons Athletic Club, a legendary lion dance crew in the heart of Chinatown NYC.  Check their FB page here:
2. See answer to question #1
3.  Sometimes.  We've marched in the Lunar New Year parade in the past, vid here
4. Probably
5. One year D-Lo ate too many moon cakes and blew up the joint with some legendary diarrhea.  Doesn't sound very interesting, but the smell was certainly something we will soon forget.

Q: What's your favorite Chinese Gangster movie?
A:  Probably 1989's "The Killer" with Chow Yun Fat, for it's comedic value.

Q: Do you guys do shows or try to get your songs played in clubs? 
A: We've played live shows since we formed in '02.  Haven't tried to entice the club-goers with our flavor, since mass-scale anal leakage isn't conducive for the dance floor.

Q: Actually I am doing a Chinese New Year event do you have any songs I could play for that are family friendly.
A: I believe the only songs that don't contain any references to the testes and/or rectal passage are: "Dim Sum Girl", "Chinese Jeans" and "Old Shanghai".

Monday, January 23, 2017

Chinese New Year Flower Market

A great way to get into the Chinese New Year Spirit is to head down to the flower market and buy your Chinese New Year decorations, red envelopes, flowers and everything else you need for the year of the Rooster.

Interview with Malden City Councilor Ryan O'Malley

I reached out to Ryan O'Malley in search of a story about the signs in Malden.

(Photo Credit: Adriana Li)

As I mentioned in my last post I thought there may be something that I could label as prejudiced or racist.

Councilor O'Malley said that the laws as they currently stand effect non Chinese businesses too and it's more that they don't make sense and are also unconstitutional.

"If someone is going to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in a business in Malden, we should be helping and supporting them. It doesn't make sense to have them have to do their grand opening with a tarp over something that could be called a sign or a work of art or whatever you want to call it."

Essentially, as long as it is tasteful, then what is the problem?

But if there was any issue or concern regarding race, or if anyone wanted to start an event in Malden to celebrate culture he asks that you please reach out to him. He represents the downtown area.
(781) 870-0041.

I followed up my question about whether a particular ethnic group was being targeted with questions regarding Chinese being the new up and coming group in Malden. 

"I don't know that they are new... I mean growing up in Malden a lot of my friends were Chinese.....Malden has always been a city of immigrants and I would hope that we would welcome and support any group."

It occurred to me that this article I am writing is kind of boring....I mean it's almost as if when there is no racism or prejudice, there is nothing to get fired up over and therefore there is less reason to click and share. 

Of course there is still a story here though. It is the story of Chinese in Malden, which Adriana Li will continue to cover since that is more her turf. 

As we chatted about Chinese businesses in Malden Ryan O'Malley cutting the ribbon for Honey Honey desert Cafe. As it turns out Adriana went down there to check it out and I'm sure will be telling the Boston Chinatown Blog readers all about it and what to order when you go there in an upcoming post. 

But it is true that it seems that negative news sells better. Even on this blog it tends to be tragedy that gets the most clicks. I'm not saying that is the only reason why you will here more dire doom and gloom regarding Chinatown and Chinese communities in the news. 

But it does seem like that sort of mentality spreads quicker.

Mostly what I learned talking to Ryan O'Malley, is that democracy works. It may not be perfect. But there are ways of getting things done, especially on the local level.

And one way again if your issues have to do with downtown Malden.. is contacting him.
(781) 870-0041.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Art Shows

As part of another hat I wear over at the Cape Verde News Network, I interviewed a young activist artist Amber Torres. She started telling me all about her work studying and researching Urban development and disadvantaged neighborhoods around the world, and that word that is famous in Chinatown kept coming up... gentrification.

I thought, "We should compare notes."

But then she went on to talk about all the work she has done with Urban Galas, presenting art for and by people from said disadvantaged neighborhoods through a program called, "Hoods of Boston." and I thought, "That would be a GREAT program for the 1CAC art center once it is all set and ready to open.

Basically I will be doing a more in depth article about Hoods in Boston on the Cape Verde News Network, but at some point I hope to build a bridge here and hopefully Amber Torres's name will son be on a Chinatown event.

Also the video poem she did on Dudley Street was fantastic and it would be great to see more of that sort of thing done about Chinatown.

Signs in Malden, it's not always about race.

I came across this article recently about businesses being forced to cover up their signs in Malden.

Reading it, in my mind, I immediately wanted jump to the conclusion that race or ethnicity had something to do with it. After investigating further, however, I found that to jump to such a conclusion wouldn't necessarily be correct. But I was glad that I at least asked the question so that I could get an answer.

You might ask why I might jump to such a conclusion.

Before I started writing this blog I would hear about stuff in Quincy. How they didn't want a Chinese Supermarket to open up in a specific location, not because of race, but because of traffic or some other sort of excuse. Or there was that perception of tension when my friends went to do a Chinese dulcimer gig. Well more than a perception, they encountered a drunk man throwing F bombs at them about how the Chinese were moving in.

Then there was also that incident ( which also may not have been about race) where after one car was pulled over (the driver Asian the police offer white) and the other cars who were travelling with the car that was pulled over, also pulled over and then got out of the car and ran over to see what was wrong.

The Police Officer felt threatened and what happened was macing and taking down and that sort of thing.

At the time I was studying Criminal Justice and planning on being a cop and my Chinese friends asked me what I thought about it.

I could imagine feeling threatened as well because of multiple people running at me.

So actually I did not blame the cop in the situation. After all, nobody ended up dead like you see happening quite often. So if he were to be punished... it should be light, if at all.

However what happened was the opposite.

The three were arrested and even convicted by the judge of resisting arrest.

The judge... I blame. Though this happened so long ago and I heard about it mostly from here say that it would be interesting to re-examine this incident with hindsight. Also, at the time that I gathered all this info, I was not writing for the Chinatown Blog.

My point is that often times you hear these things on the street and when someone brings up the idea that, "It's cause we're Asian man" people will just go with it. Especially if you don't bother to inquire further.

When I read the article, because I AM now writing for the Chinatown Blog, I did inquire a little further.

I had the chance to interview the hero of the story, Councilor Ryan O'Malley, and get his take on it.

That interview will be coming up soon.

But what I realized in the process of looking into this story is that the Chinatown Blog, is an online space that will be  place where you can ask these questions and discuss these issues, much the same way news would travel in person in Chinatown.

For now Chinatown is still the Center. You will meet people coming in there from Malden, Quincy, South End, Roxbury, Dorchester... although not everyone necessarily connects.

So the idea of the Chinatown Blog is that you can do that by looking at the site on your phone.

By the way, if you remember the Quincy incident I am talking about (or better yet, were part of it) I would love to hear from you.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Chinese New Year events

2017 Lunar New Year Celebrations
January 28, 2017 marks the first day of the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Rooster. To help you celebrate, we put together a list of local Lunar New Year events for you and your family to enjoy! 

Friday, March 3 | 5:30 PM 
Hei La Moon Restaurant | 88 Beach Street | Boston
*Join BCNC at our Annual Chinese New Year Banquet, one of the largest community celebrations in Chinatown! There will be live and silent auctions, performances, and a traditional ten-course dinner. Contact Jean Quintal for more information.

Sunday, January 15 | 11:00 AM-4:00 PM
Boston Children's Museum | 308 Congress Street | Boston

Saturday, January 21 | 1:00-5:00 PM
Malden High School | 77 Salem Street | Malden

Saturday, January 21 |  11:00 AM-3:00 PM
VietAID Community Center | 42 Charles Street | Dorchester 

Saturday, January 28 | 10:00 AM-4:00 PM
Peabody Essex Museum | 161 Essex Street | Salem
Tuesday, January 31 | 5:30-8:00 PM
McKinsey & Company | 280 Congress Street | Boston

Saturday, February 4 | 10:00 AM-5:00 PM
Museum of Fine Arts | 465 Huntington Avenue | Boston 

Lunar New Year Celebration at Tufts Medical Center
Friday, February 10 | 12:00-1:00 PM
Tufts Medical Center Lobby | 800 Washington Street | Boston

Sunday, February 12 | 11:00 AM-5:00 PM  
Boston Chinatown
Sunday, February 12 | 12:00-6:00 PM
North Quincy High School | 316 Hancock Street | North Quincy 

Sunday, February 12 | 7:30 PM 
TD Garden | 100 Legends Way | Boston 
*BCNC will be the beneficiary of the 50/50 raffle! 

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Tet In Worcester

Going to this event was eye opening. It's not the first time I saw a big event replicating an Asian community in a convention center. But it is the first time I saw something like that done grassroots, for an Asian community by an Asian community. The other events I went to were corporate functions that had a Chinatown section or a New Year's celebration where there was a gate displayed.

I liked that the event came before the New Year. I felt like it got me in the New Year spirit. Often times it comes around to the actual date of Tet or Chinese New Year and I haven't done anything yet and I get all depressed about it. And then weeks later you celebrate with the parade. It's kind of why I scheduled my event in Jamaica Plain on January 30th. Which is closer to the real date, January 28th. And in fact I just did an event at the library today as well. But these are small compared to the giant event at the DCU in Worcester.

They had a Hockey game that was going on at the same time, and actually it was really easy for the ushers to tell who was going where if you know what I mean. But they paused suddenly at me. My face causes much confusion. Then they saw Noah and asked if it was the Vietnamese celebration I was going to.

Yes it was.

Now since last year was almost the Polar Vortex temperatures for the parade, I can totally see the benefit of having the celebration be indoors. However, being from Chinatown I also realized how spoiled I was to have the gate and the businesses and now even the parks as permanent decorations and backdrop to your festival.

I think even if Chinatown becomes 100% touristy (which is some people's fear) you will always have the gate and the parks.

But I wonder, do they parade on the street too or is there not enough of a cluster of Vietnamese businesses?

Well as you can see from the video we got Pho afterward and there was a small cluster. The Pho was fantastic. you could taste the blood from those rare cuts of beef. It is difficult to use really fresh ingredients in any section where rents are high. So it's hard in Chinatown... and even harder in Cambridge. Which is why I don't care if a restaurant at Harvard Square is full of Chinese people from China... it can still suck. And again, I don;t blame the chef. The technique is great. But what can you do with rents like that?

Luckily Chinatown's food is still good. But Worcester's Vietnamese food is definitely a level up.

But on the same street is a burnt out movie theater.

Now even in the Combat zone days you didn't see that. I mean there were a few cases of fires that smelled like arson. But then things got fixed. And again, a peep show theater is not run down. Not like a burnt out theater. I mean I could see why you would want to bring the celebration of Tet to another part of town. Especially when there are parts of Worcester that look absolutely sparkling. Now I'm not sure if that's why these decisions were made. I am only taking a look at similarities and differences between two Asian communities and how the celebrations therefore function. I guess I really need to interview people from there to find out instead of just talking after having spend a few hours in the city.

I definitely would like to go back next year, especially since the event is so early there is no time conflict and also I will take notes for my own New Year event in JP, which will be much smaller scale of course.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Free deep Cleaning and fillings

Tufts is looking for any eligible patients in the Greater Boston area who are in need of dental care. The patient will be invited to a basic screening and x-rays and if eligible he/she will receive a free deep cleaning and fillings during the dental license board exam at free of charge with reimbursement up to $100.  Please contact:

Please share this with local Chinatown people, as these would be the best candidates. (Less likely to blow off the appointment than someone from the suburbs etc.)

If you know people who need this and don't read English, please let them know. Technically you can Google Translate this page, but it's not the same. 

Also let me or the blog know if you go through with it. It will make a good blog story. 

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Growing up with Chinatown

Monkey King (Summer 2016)

During the last week of December, I was with a friend who has never heard of mochi ice cream.
“Chinatown adventure time,” I say.
My friend is not very food venturous but the idea of ice cream is the magnet of the excitement. I usually don’t eat ice cream during the winter but to have someone getting excited over something new is an experience I wouldn’t take away.
            When we arrived in Chinatown, I parked by Bamboo Garden. I suggested we walk through the bamboo garden and pointed out how vibrant the garden is during the spring and summer time. This past summer 2016, the Monkey King statue was on display but unfortunately its been removed.
            As we made our way to Beard Papa’s Boston. I started to point out how some of the restaurants are as old as I am, restaurants like China Pearl, Hong Kong Eatery, and Chinatown Café have been around for a while. Those places are nostalgic for me since I spent a great amount of time there, eating and learning about who I am and experimenting what I like to eat. At this point, I like to eat everything now.
            When we arrived, my friend ordered a strawberry mochi while I ordered the sakura, nothing like the taste of the spring during the winter. We sat down and chatted. My friend asked me how much Chinatown changed since I was a kid.
            It took me a moment to think about, I must say Chinatown has changed a lot. When I start to think about the places I used to eat at, the vision of the meals would return to me in waves of tingling my taste buds, each having a moment of happiness while eating. I told my friend, how the 2nd floor became my second kitchen serving me lunch and dinner. Or when I had to chauffeur my Dad to Chinatown while he would hang out with his friends at the Maxim Coffee House. He would have me double park down the street and he would bring me back a pastry and a soybean milk. I always had to double back when the meter maid told me “NO PARKING HERE!” There were a number of times, where the meter maid would say “didn’t I just tell you no parking here earlier.” I always said no and shrugged my shoulders before moving, I know it’s rude but what are you going to do. When I was in my early teens, I was completely a jook-sing, focusing only on American foods, so I spent a lot of time at McDonalds.
            Even though, I am saddened by the fact that a lot of these restaurants have come and gone. New restaurants are coming in and becoming someone's part of growing up with new food memories. Boston, Chinatown a community, a part of my childhood. It’s still evolving, even today, growing up with Chinatown in many ways is part of who I am. Going to Chinatown, gives me the opportunity to see it grow. A cornerstone that remains the same, a path where folks can still see Chinatown intact with personality and identity as Chinatown grows with us.

Interview with Chinatown's Wudang Master, Zhou Xuan Yun

A lot, (but not all) of my involvement in Chinatown centers around Kung Fu and Martial arts, so the more I explore Chinatown’s history, I always learn something knew about the history of Kung Fu in Chinatown. It is interesting to me that many of the things that I though I went through, had happened already decades ago for others. Posting about Kung Fu has put me in touch with fantastic masters like Sifu Edward Woodruff and Sifu Tim Lavallee. It also helped me get closer to other Masters like Sifu Donald Wong and Larry Wong. They have many stories about OLD Chinatown and are instrumental in developing new Chinatown. And of course Sifu/Director/film star Mandy Chan. Many more reach out to me who are not as public.

But there are also a lot of cool things happening with regards to new Kung Fu people coming in. In fact Everyone has been talking about two masters in particular. Zhou Xuan Yun is very recognizably a Kung Fu Sifu. Watching him at the Kung Fu Federation in my 20’s and seeing him walk around Chinatown with his students, and then later pushing a stroller, dressed in full Taoist gear like he has stepped out of Wuxia film, there is no doubt how cool his presence alone brings to the overall atmosphere of Chinatown. (The other Master everyone is talking about btw is from Shaolin Temple. Every since these two masters came out old Chinese men have gotten extremely excited about their childhood Kung Fu fantasies.)

I had the opportunity to shake hands and connect at the Films at the gate event. The following interview was done through a document. His wife translated the questions.

How did you learn martial arts?
I was born in Henan Province, in central China.  When I was 13 year old my parents sent me to Wudang Mountain, which is a sacred Daoist (Taoist) mountain.  I lived and trained full time in a martial arts academy there.  When I was 17 year old, I left the academy and entered the temple and became a Daoist priest.  

What brought you to Boston?
My wife is from Boston.  We met in China and moved here in 2009, after our daughter was born.

How was it initially coming into the Boston Chinatown Community?
When I first came to Chinatown, my first impression was that it was dirty, but that the food was good.  I also was surprised that Southern Chinese culture was so prevalent.  It is wonderful that there is a Chinese community in Boston, but Boston Chinatown does not represent the diversity that can be found in China.  

What did you observe about the other Martial Artists.
Before I moved to Boston, I came here once for a short visit.  During that visit I happened to meet Yang Jwing-Ming (from Yang’s Martial Arts Association).  I felt his ideas about the martial arts were very good.  I published three DVDs through YMAA Publications, and taught seminars at his former school near Forest Hills.  When we moved to Boston, I got to know the Chinatown community better.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were a lot of traditional Chinese arts being practiced.  Of course, the martial arts community here is not perfect.  One of the problems is that a lot of the masters are much older.  There isn’t a lot of energy or vitality in the martial arts scene.  Also, most people are interested in promoting their own style or lineage.  There isn’t a lot of cooperation.  Many newer forms of martial arts (like MMA) are drawing potential students in a different directions.  Chinatown rents are also rising rapidly, and martial arts schools have been forced to move elsewhere.  It is difficult in this country to be a professional martial arts teacher.  The vast majority of teachers have a day job and teach martial arts as a hobby, even when it is their true passion.  The traditional martial arts are at risk.

How did having a child change things? As a Kung Fu Parent myself, I found your approach with your daughter learning gymnastics interesting. I think other Sifus like Mai Du can relate to having your child learn from someone else instead.
When teaching kids, your class has to be a mix of training and play.  My teaching style is more old-school.  For example, I don’t have a ranking system, and I don’t teach a kids-only class.  I have a few children in my classes, but most are adults.  Most of my students had trained and taught martial arts for many years. They were frustrated and looking for a way to bring their practice to the next level.  In many ways, my daugher is a typical American kid.  She thinks that training kung fu is too boring.  Gymnastics is a great way for her to gain flexibility and strength while having fun with other kids her age.  It will also make it easier for her to pick up martial arts in the future if she wants to.   

What do you think about the future of Chinatown and how has your involvement with the community shaped your view?
I think that Chinatown is becoming more and more commercial.  Service industries like stores and restaurants will succeed, but there will be less and less room for cultural or educational institutions.  People visiting Chinatown will have less places they can go to understand Chinese culture on a deeper level.  The things that you and I teach are art forms, not commodities.  They take years of hard work to learn.  Martial arts can’t be put in a to-go container, but for dedicated students, they can be life-changing.  

Why do you think there isn't as much outdoor stuff in Chinatown?
From what I’ve seen, outdoor events in Chinatown don’t make a profit.  Every year my non-profit organization, the Daoist Benevolent Association, runs an event for World Tai Chi Day.  The event is possible because of our volunteers and because of donations we receive.  The event is worthwhile, but is it not profitable.  Chinatown’s other large outdoor event, the Films at the Gate, is also run by a non-profit organization.  I don’t see for-profit companies running outdoor events outdoors in Chinatown.  

Can you talk more about your Taoist beliefs? How do you balance those beliefs and that philosophy while being in Chinatown as opposed to being at a Temple.
There is a saying in Chinese: 坐为庙,起为云. The first part of the saying means that anywhere you can sit can be your temple.  The second part means that anywhere go, you can be free.

Do you do any of the other stereotypical Taoist Priest things? Feng Shui, exorcisms, fortune telling, that sort of thing.
In the temple on Wudang Mountain, I was training in all of the Daoist arts, including chanting, ritual, divination, meditation, exorcism, and feng shui.  I also lived as a wandering monk for over 7 years.  During that time, I was able to seek out and study under new masters.  I have continued with this work in the United States.  I have officiated at weddings, and performed the traditional Daoist blessing rituals for new businesses, homes, and babies.  I have also helped remove bad spirits from homes.  I have traveled with people to view homes or land they were considering buying.  This isn’t something I advertise.  I just wait until people find me.  If it is meant to be, it will happen.  

Zhou Xuan Yun currently teaches classes in Chinatown at Boston Ultimate Fitness. To find out more about classes or to get a Feng Shui reading and such check out his website
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