"When I first came to Oxford in late 2009, I realised that there were not many clubs doing chinese martial arts, or they were not as popular as compared to Karate or maybe Taekwondo which was established much earlier. From early 2010, I began to develop this idea of incorporating martial arts onto stage performance, which is what i call now as ' Kungfu Drama'. This idea seems 'crazy' as kungfu drama requires acting skills, martial arts choreography, scripts with story line, props and synchronised background music. Most importantly, Kungfu Drama is a live performance compared to movie and no editting, retaking of scenes and special effects will be possible.
From early 2010, after I received an invitation to perform in Sheldonian theatre in Oxford, I began to approach several martial arts club in Oxford to promote my idea. However, most clubs like Taekwondo, karate or Judo were busy with varsity games and showed no interest to such new idea. Eventually, it was the Oxford University Kungfu Club that agreed to perform with me. Thus, the starting members of the Kungfu Drama includes me (Current instructor), Edgar (President/instructor), Felix (Instructor; graduated in 2010) and Jake (Instructor; graduated in 2010). All of them were skilled in their own fields and after weeks of martial arts choreography, music production, script writing and rehearsals, 'The Legend of Bruce Lee' was produced and it achieved success as we received invitations for other events. Throughout the entire process of choreographing martial arts performance on stage and teaching club members wing chun; I began to realize the purpose of having such performances/dramas which were not available in Oxford before. Or there may be kungfu performances, but they were either drills or sequences that everyone will expect. Thus, there is not much engagement with the audience and for the people who can’t appreciate the art due to a lack of knowledge and interest; such performances will be boring and cliché. This is when I began to promote the idea of Kungfu Drama from early 2010 in order to incorporate real fighting applications and sequences into a drama. This will hopefully interest the audience as they will need to understand the plot in the drama and appreciate the fighting scenes as well. Although such idea is highly challenging compared to a movie, I found such ways of promoting martial arts very inspiring, especially when I used to watch kungfu stars performing skilled actions in movies when I was young. It may be true that those actions on stage may not be a real depiction of combat realism but we have to realize the importance of going through the process of martial arts choreography and applications as a form of expressing ourselves. Hence, I have always enjoyed putting up performances on stage to bring out the applications for martial arts and to show audience the way it is used in different scenarios. My motivation and drive comes from the moment when I can inspire more people to take up Chinese kungfu and promote this form of art in Oxford. Not only that, I also aspire to influence people to pick up the performances I have put on last academic year as well as this year, so that this form of art can be further passed on to the next batch of students. This is also to ensure a continual influx of new students so that the kungfu club can continue to exist and fulfill its objectives." -Edmund Jian MIn Sim, 2010
Besides teaching Kung fu, Oxford University Kung Fu Club is also engaged in various performances and dramas in Oxford. The idea of performing on stage with martial arts is different from the traditional displays that we often see. The key idea of Kung Fu/ Martial Arts that OUKFC is trying to bring out is an integration of drama and martial arts. However, the key focus here is still the martial arts performance, and the drama is purely a supporting tool to bring out this form of art. Hence, the performance that we put up is carefully choreographed so as to bring out the styles and applications of the forms of Kung Fu. As such, we aim to bring out the combat realism on stage as well as the philosophy behind various styles of martial arts. Please view the videos of our performances for the Kungfu Drama "The Legend of Bruce Lee" (our first kungfu drama show) and other shows.
If you are interested in helping out or joining us, please feel free to contact us.