http://cdn.itvs.org/black_kungfu_experience-background.jpg
  • Meet kungfu’s black pioneers and heroes who fluorished at the junction of African American and Asian cultures.

    Meet kungfu’s black pioneers and heroes who fluorished at the junction of African American and Asian cultures.

    http://cdn.itvs.org/black_kungfu_experience-trailer.jpgmp4:black_kungfu_experience-trailer-1024.mov
  • A master of Shaolin Kungfu and fellow devotee describe their dedication to their practice and philosophy.

    A master of Shaolin Kungfu and fellow devotee describe their dedication to their practice and philosophy.

    http://cdn.itvs.org/black_kungfu_experience-extra.jpgmp4:black_kungfu_experience-extra-1024.mov
  • Ron Van Clief teaching in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

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

    http://cdn.itvs.org/black_kungfu_experience-01.jpg
  • Ron Van Clief and students in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

    Ron Van Clief and students in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

    http://cdn.itvs.org/black_kungfu_experience-02.jpg
  • Tayari Casel in Jamaica

    Tayari Casel in Jamaica

    http://cdn.itvs.org/black_kungfu_experience-03.jpg
  • Producers Mei-Juin Chen and Martha Burr

    Producers Mei-Juin Chen and Martha Burr

    http://cdn.itvs.org/black_kungfu_experience-04.jpg
  • Producer Martha Burr

    Producer Martha Burr

    http://cdn.itvs.org/black_kungfu_experience-05.jpg
  • Producer Mei-Juin Chen

    Producer Mei-Juin Chen

    http://cdn.itvs.org/black_kungfu_experience-06.jpg

The Film

Meet kungfu’s black pioneers and heroes who fluorished at the junction of African American and Asian cultures. The Black Kungfu Experience traces the rise of black kungfu in the United States in the 1960s and 1970s, and resonates in the contemporary martial arts scene in Washington D.C, Los Angeles, The Virgin Islands, Jamaica, and Hong Kong. Chinese and African American experiences evolve differently yet converge in unexpected ways; they challenge political and social persecution – from shadows of the Qing government’s oppressive rule in China, and British colonialism in Hong Kong, to entrenched American racism – with the unique vehicle of kungfu.

The film focuses on how a group of African American pioneers became respected masters in a subculture dominated by Chinese and white men. 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.

The Filmmakers

  1. Martha BurrProducer/Director
  2. Mei-Juin ChenProducer/Director