Airing on public television throughout February, The Black Kungfu Experience traces the unexpected rise of black kungfu in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s, and culminates with the positive impact kungfu continues to have in African American communities across the country today.
At the heart of The Black Kungfu Experience lies the incredible journey of four respected African American kungfu masters: Ron Van Clief, Dennis Brown, Don Hamby and Tayari Casel. The film underscores how the focused, mindful experience of kungfu has been a vehicle for these men as they challenge political and social persecution, and as they mentor future generations in this centuries-old practice. Their stories illustrate how kungfu 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.
Directed by Martha Burr and Mei-Juin Chen, the filmmakers also behind Shaolin Ulysses: Kungfu Monks in America (Independent Lens 2003/2004), The Black Kungfu Experience premieres on public television February 2, 2013 (check local listings).