I restore the Balance
Posted On:5/31/2003 2:12am
Style: I wear pants
Chop-chop: Xia Ke Hxiong, a stunt double for Jet Li, has made his home in Cape Town. Photo: Mark Hutchinson, Cape Argus
The man who's got the Cape kung fu dancing
May 29 2003
By Joel Hall
If you are a kung fu movie buff, this man's face is probably quite familiar. However, chances are you don't know his name. Referred to by his students as "Sifu" or "Master", Xia Ke Hxiong, 33, has been working behind the scenes as a martial arts stuntman in China since the mid-1990s. Born in Sh'en Yang City in the Liao Ning province of Beijing, China, Hxiong, moved to Cape Town from Beijing in 2001, first living in Manenberg and then settling in Woodstock last year. Hxiong serves as stunt double for martial arts legend Jet Li, star of such Hollywood blockbusters as Romeo Must Die and Cradle 2 the Grave.
Jet Li, or to call him by his proper name Lien-Chieh, was born in 1963 in Heibei, a small town on the outskirts of Beijing. After years of successful work in Hong Kong and China, Li became a household name in the Western world after the 1998 United States release of Lethal Weapon 4. Hxiong met Li while he was a student in Beijing. Then in 1996, after winning nine martial arts championships in Beijing, Hxiong began working with Li in Chinese films as his stunt double. A student of martial arts since the age of eight, Hxiong says China is not Hollywood when it comes to a stuntman's salary. Hxiong, however, found his niche 13 years ago when he started using the knowledge he had acquired from years of competition to teach.
When he is not in the movies, Hxiong is teaches kung fu to students at his seven schools that have sprouted all over Cape Town over the past two years. Hxiong has also formed a partnership with the Tanze Club, one of Cape Town's up and coming dance studios. He and Tanze Club founder Mareli Schroter are now fulfilling their dream of spreading the love of dance and the martial arts among people in Cape Town. "The purpose of the Tanze Club is to share the enjoyment of dance and movement," said Schroter. "We try to teach people to dance for themselves, for the joy of it." Hxiong, a passionate instructor of tai chi and Shaolin kung fu, shares the same vision, and sees martial arts as a practical tool to help students get what they want out of life. "Kung fu is more than a defence, it is a way of living," said Hxiong. "You can use it in your everyday life to accomplish your goals." The Tanze Club is the latest school to offer Hxiong's martial arts classes. He believes that this partnership will help more students reach their full potential.
"The students will improve by using martial arts in theory and in practice," said Hxiong. The Tanze Club, in Hope Street, was founded by Schroter a year ago. The club, which accepts students of all ages, also does work with Ons Plek (Our Home), a shelter for homeless girls. "We work with the girls and help them develop confidence and teach them to believe in themselves," said Schroter. "The people who run Ons Plek are amazing and do an incredible amount of work. "What I do is just a small part, but I am very proud to be able to work with them."
The Tanze Club will host a Chinese Martial Arts Exposition on Saturday at 8pm featuring Hxiong and his students. The exposition will include displays of traditional Chinese kung fu, "drunken kung fu", tai chi, Tibetan dance, and Thai boxing. For more information call 082 220 8445 or 084 768 9078.
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Posted On:6/04/2003 1:06pm
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