Massive kung fu training from space

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/11/17/massive-kung-fu-training-from-space.html

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Kung Fu Cat (Kung Fu Fighting)

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We have now reached the last part of Clarke’s ‘Childhood’s End’.

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Wow! Such coordination! Such order! That’s a real triumph of the will! :thinking:

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You’re still young enough that under the right circumstances, you could drop everything and move to a monastery in china, learn martial arts, come back and take revenge on your enemies. I believe in you!

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Came here to say that.

Once you’ve seen Triumph of the Will, large displays of simultaneous exercises, close-ups of young determined athletes looking far off into the distance, just don’t generate the same enthusiasm.

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(EDIT: someone flagged this? Really?)

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To be fair, Shaolin monks aren’t quite the same thing as Hitlerjugend… being a monastery and all… Zen buddhists aren’t exactly known for being big proponents of genocide and all…

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To be even more fair, this appears to have slightly less focus on Zen Buddhism or monastic existence than it does on being a state-run performing arts school.

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Still not an example of genocidal youths…

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Well, no, I don’t think so either, and nobody said that they were.

But I also don’t think it’s the craziest thing in the world to be slightly uneasy with the aesthetics of it all in its context, even if it is pretty cool looking and impressive.

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path to enlightenment

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I mean it also looks like an OK Go video though.

I mean, it would be silly to ignore China’s history of celebrating racial purity and cultural hegemony but it’s relevant to remember that their relatively recent history is one of surviving attack from fascist Japan during WWII and at least a century of anti-Chinese stereotyping, media and exclusionary policy from the West and East.

A a parallel to this display, I think about the millions of American kids stand up and say the pledge of allegiance and salute the flag all at the same time every morning in school. That’s just not all in courtyard caught on camera. And America as a young nation doesn’t have anything as historically embedded or culturally significant as Zen Buddhism or Shaolin that would build these kinds of numbers and common enthusiasm. I wonder is Russia has similar things for Ballet.

That said of course, I’m sure none of the commenters here were implying that America’s celebrated “individualism” is any less authoritarian so maybe I pissing in the wind here.

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So nice, we got it twice:

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Some are

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I did not say all Buddhist. And yes, I’m aware of that.

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This demo is CCP propaganda, not Shaolin. Did you notice the youngsters are wearing track suits, and not religious garb? The Shaolin monastery is a religious institution that has been stripped of all religious symbolism and forced to rebrand as a ‘martial arts school.’ The CCP likes the kung fu as a propaganda tool, but has sought to wipe out the religious aspect. It’s unhelpful to confuse state propaganda with Buddhist religious practice.

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Everybody talking about the kung fu but I have to talk about the footage. I think there are only three still satellite shots in the clip and the rest is some cgi transitioning to drone or tower video.

Could be wrong but I don’t think commercial satellite vendors are selling video yet.

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Drone shots maybe, definitely doesn’t look like satellite footage.

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Also, is there some direct connection between the PLA and Shaolin, religiously oriented or not? Because if not, then this still bears little connection to the HJ, IMO, which fed directly into the Wehrmacht. It also seems to me that given the history of the attempts to secularize the whole country during the Maoist era, that it should not come as any sort of shock that the Shaolin practice has been secularized and employed as some kind of cultural propaganda, which is common practice in the modern era. The Chinese government is well aware of the cultural sway that the practice of Kung Fun has in the world, so of course they’re going to use it as propaganda. We do that with movies, comics, and popular music.

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