Chao Chi Li in Maya Deren's "Meditation on Violence"
What an interesting old video I found. At 64 years old, this is some of the oldest stuff I've seen on film.
I find it intriguing that the form work here was what I expected to see: mostly internal Daoist movements.
But then right at 4:30, he starts doing what I would call the Lam family version of Taming the Tiger, a traditional southern fist set (and a pillar of Hung Ga).
The man performing the "Wu tang ritual" mentioned above is none other than the younger form of this man, who everyone knows as Uncle Chu from Big Trouble in Little China.
In Meditation on Violence (1948) Deren's camera is motivated by the movement of the performer, Chao Li Chi. This film is marked by a lack of dynamism and mobility that we have come to expect from Deren's camera. It also obscures the distinction between violence and beauty. The shadows on the white wall behind Chi amplify the movement of the Wu Tang ritual. In Meditation on Violence Deren experiments with film time, reversing the film part way through producing a loop. Exhibited forwards and then backwards, the difference in the Wu Tang movements is almost imperceptible
Now every time I watch this movie, I'm going to picture him as a badass dabbling in both internal and external arts, prior to becoming a humble restaurateur and friend of my favorite Daoist Magician, Egg Shen.