Friday, August 03, 2012

Wudang Woes

My plans to return to Wudangshan this September completely fell apart today.  Thus, although the verse primarily pertains to meditation, I am concentrating on the travel wisdom of Dao De Jing 47:

Without going out of your door,
You can know the ways of the world.
Without peeping through your window,
You can see the Way of Heaven.
The farther you go,
The less you know.

Thus, the Sage knows without travelling,
Sees without looking,
And achieves without Ado.

(tr. John C. Wu)

Well that's wisdom, but for real consolation, last night, in some sort of prescient synchronicity, I had a pleasant surprise.  A movie released just this summer that I thought I might see or buy in China during my trip was made available on YouTube. I have been eager to see Vincent Zhao in The Great Wudang for over a year, when I first heard about it. 
The Great Wudang
So without peeping out my window, just by peeping at my computer screen, I visited Wudang anyway, albeit homesickish the way ex-pat Hawaii people might be when they watch 5-0.  (And equally puzzled when the locations don't always make do you get from the North Shore to Diamond Head on foot in an hour?...How do you get from Golden Top to Purple Cloud in five minutes? It took me six hours to walk that route down the mountain once.)

Turning away from Episode 66 (of 77) of Yi San, my current Korean escape, I watched my favorite MA star in a kind of typical wuxia story, set in post-Qing/early Republican times.  In the first few minutes, there is a kick-ass fight in an airplane flying over Hubei on the way to a martial arts competition at Wudangshan.   Everything about it--the time, the plot, the romance, the quest--has led me to call it "Indiana Zhao and the Temple of Tao." (Vincent seems to be channeling Harrison Ford a little bit:  motorcycles, leather coats, scholarly spectacles, and a daughter. No fedora. Or maybe there was. Need to watch again. And where was Sean Connery?)
Indiana Zhao
I'd like to have seen this done as a 20-episode TV series (20 hours of Vincent) with more character and plot development, but it's fun anyway. Scenery is all familiar and authentic (except possibly the mountains in the competition arena: they looked CGI to me, more like Hua Shan).  I have mixed feelings to see sacred spots used this way, but it's not the first time...Jackie Chan's Kung Fu Kid and the 2009 TV series, Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre, were both filmed there too. (Contrary to popular belief, CTHD was not.) The Great Wudang was fun if you like the wuxia action genre and Vincent Zhao. (I certainly do!)

It was nice to find it on You-tube just at this moment, and I'll probably watch it one more time before it disappears. Still, I'll buy it when my DVD vendor calls me and tells me she just got it in.  Just for the locations, you know...and Vincent.
Vincent, where are you?