The Black Kungfu Experience

The Black Kungfu Experience

Tue, 02/25/2014 - 7:00pm

Pictured, Van Clief teaching in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.

Photo credit: Martha Burr.

This film introduces kungfu's African-American pioneers who challenged convention and overturned preconceived notions while mastering the ancient art. The Black Kungfu Experience, airing Tuesday, February 25, 2014 at 7 p.m. on WXXI World, profiles four martial artists including Ron Van Clief, an ex-Marine and Vietnam veteran who starred in more than 40 kungfu films and earned the nickname "Black Dragon" from Bruce Lee. Their compelling stories illustrate how kungfu began as – and remains – a unique crucible of the black experience. In particular, kungfu's themes of the underdog triumphing against the odds resonated in black communities across the United States.