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Thread: Matthew Ahmet

  1. #1
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    Matthew Ahmet

    I caught a preview of NBC's new reality show, Superstars of Dance, and there were performers in monk robes jumping about, doing what looked like a typical Shaolin-style demo. I couldn't find a vid of the ad yet. Anyone else see it?

    NBC Schedule Changes to Impact Four Nights
    Encore telecasts of SVU will step into the Wednesday 9 p.m. hour in January, giving struggling Life a much-needed break...

    ...Superstars of Dance, a new reality/competition from the producers of So You Think You Can Dance?, will open with a two-hour installment on Sunday, Jan. 4 from 9-11 p.m. One night later it moves into its regularly scheduled Monday 8-10 p.m. block, leading into Ryan Seacrest relationship-driven hour Momma’s Boys. Tuesdays will remain unchanged care of The Biggest Loser: Couples (which returns on January 6), followed by Law & Order: SVU.
    Gene Ching
    Associate Publisher
    Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine & www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips

  2. #2
    Wouldn't surprise me! I'm noticing a lot of the younger kung fu students are also break dancing and learning hip-hop moves. Others are taking gymnastics. Good diversity.

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    I saw the ad again last night on NBC during Heroes

    Still nothing on the NBC site about it though. The ad promotes it as a global competition and the segment with the Shaolin-robe clad dancers looks like a typical Shaolin show demo.

    I've never been that into dance shows, but I may have to tune into this one. If they win - dang - that'd be coverworthy.
    Gene Ching
    Associate Publisher
    Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine & www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips

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    i saw the commercial. looked like they took scenes from the wheel of life dvd.

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    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EutEn0B32Ag


    Also, watched NatGeo's Secrets of the Kung Fu Temple this past Thursday. They showed footage of a Belgian coreographer working with the monks on a new show that was to debut in London. Apparently the abbot gave the thumbs up on it. I wonder if the group that is performing in this new show is official or "unofficial"....
    "The true meaning of a given movement in a form is not its application, but rather the unlimited potential of the mind to provide muscular and skeletal support for that movement." Gregory Fong

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by GeneChing View Post
    I caught a preview of NBC's new reality show, Superstars of Dance, and there were performers in monk robes jumping about, doing what looked like a typical Shaolin-style demo. I couldn't find a vid of the ad yet. Anyone else see it?
    I was wondering who would start this thread.

    I've seen the commercial/promo at least 4 times. One side says, "Huh?" and the other says, "Oh well".

    If these are "Shaolin Monks" then clearly the legitmacy of Shaolin in the eyes of the public has taken another blow.

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    legitmacy (sp) of Shaolin in the eyes of the public

    I disagree, Nebuchadnezzar. You're coming from a martial myopic position. For centuries, Shaolin kung fu has been, among other things, a performing art. Sure, there's traditional practice and combat training and all that stuff, but there's also performance. One of the biggest problems with conceptualizing Shaolin is that many martial artists don't know the history. They believe that Shaolin can only be one thing - traditional or not ('not' is usually interpreted as 'performance' or 'modern wushu'). The truth of the matter is that performance is a part of the tradition and has been for centuries. There's nothing wrong with martial performance. You can't to use it in a fight, but it's very entertaining to the general public. And any outreach to the general public is a good thing. The more people understand about Shaolin, the better. Other religious traditions have gone into performance such as ritual dances (ie. whirling dervishes, native sun dances, yogic vinyasa) and song (church chorus, chanting). It's a way to reach those who don't do martial arts and never will.

    I do agree with TaichiMantis in wondering if it's official or not. I'm interested in that mostly because I follow the politics of Shaolin. I don't think it will effect the content of the dance/demo team significantly. Shaolin shows are pretty standard, for the most part, and this one doesn't look like it'll have anything new to show, except for the unique platform.
    Gene Ching
    Associate Publisher
    Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine & www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips

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    Did anyone watch the Shaolin monks on the dance competition show tonight?

    It was pretty cool but I'm not too sure how it was a "dance."
    "If you like metal you're my friend" -- Manowar

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    I saw it. I have never seen Wheel of Life, so I thought it was a very entertaining demonstration. But like was said, I don't see how they were scored so high in a dance competition.
    If I was the Indian or South African groups, I'd be kinda bitter. I thought at least one of the judges would have pulled out a "6" and give an opinion of lack of dance. And to top it off, what kind of credentials would a "Shaolin Monk" have to judge a dance competition? I was like WTF.

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    At least they were honest about it and just called it a dance.
    A unique snowflake

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    Quote Originally Posted by WinterPalm View Post
    At least they were honest about it and just called it a dance.
    It's pretty sad that China tries to convert a combat art into a dancing art. If I was in the audience seat, I would feel ashamed to be a Chinese and I would stand up and leave.

  12. #12
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    I agree they seem out of place since most dancing does not involve combat applications. However, consider this. If dance can be defined as a set of choreographed movements of the human body then aren't martial arts forms a kind of dance? I watched the solo chain whip form last night and was impressed that the judge from South Africa, who seems to be kind of a hard ass, caught the half ass butterfly twist the monk did. Does anyone know who the Brit is that argued with him?

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    what utter crap. two thumbs down.

    booo hisss booo

    etc.
    我不知道。我不能读中国。

    - Don't bother demanding respect. You'll get less. Earn respect through what you do, you get more.

  14. #14
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    I totally forgot about it

    I went to sleep early and missed it completely. Yesterday, my wife says "I'm surprised you didn't watch it. I did." Sheesh. Coulda woke me up...

    The full episode is here. Maybe I'll watch it later...

    Football Tramples ‘Superstars of Dance’
    By BENJAMIN TOFF; Compiled by DAVE ITZKOFF
    Published: January 5, 2009

    The two-hour premiere of NBC’s reality show “Superstars of Dance” delivered 10.4 million viewers on Sunday, according to Nielsen’s estimates. Those results were not enough to lift NBC out of fourth place for the night as that network drew only 5.7 million viewers for a sports-theme “Saturday Night Live” special. Fox was in first place overall, due largely to an overrun of its afternoon football coverage. The final part of Fox’s broadcast of the National Football League wild card playoff game attracted well over 20 million viewers during the 7 p.m. hour. CBS was runner-up with “60 Minutes” (12.3 million), “Million Dollar Password” (10.4 million), “Cold Case” (12.7 million) and “The Unit” (9.7 million). ABC was third as “Desperate Housewives” (14.3 million) was the night’s highest rated nonsports show.
    Tuesday, January 06, 2009
    19 Entertainment and CKX Score Another Hit With Superstars of Dance

    NEW YORK, Jan 06, 2009 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX/ ----Two-Hour Premiere of International Dance Show on NBC Watched by More Than 10 Million Viewers

    19 Entertainment Limited, a division of CKX, Inc. (Nasdaq: CKXE) today hailed the successful premiere of its new television show, Superstars of Dance, which aired on NBC on Sunday night.

    Superstars of Dance, an international dance show that pits skilled dancers from eight different nations against each other in an Olympic-style competition, is hosted by Michael Flatley (Lord of the Dance) and Susie Castillo (TRL and House of Payne). The show was created and is executive produced by Simon Fuller, the Chief Executive Officer of 19 Entertainment and a director of CKX, and Nigel Lythgoe, the executive producer and co-star of So You Think You Can Dance. Following its debut Sunday night, Superstars of Dance aired its second two-hour episode Monday night at 8 PM ET/PT and is scheduled to continue its run Mondays at 8PM ET/PT through the series finale, scheduled for January 26.

    Commenting on the show's successful premier, Robert F.X. Sillerman, the Chairman and CEO of CKX said, "This is the third collaboration between Simon Fuller and Nigel Lythgoe. Their first two efforts, American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, have proven to be international hits and we are hopeful that Superstars of Dance will follow the same path."

    Mr. Sillerman noted that Superstars of Dance is the first offering from a new venture between 19 Entertainment and Mr. Lythgoe. He added, "We have high hopes that together we will produce additional winners. January should prove to be the beginning of an exciting year for CKX, with the new season of American Idol debuting on January 13, the recent addition of tennis superstar Andy Murray to the 19 Entertainment global roster of talent, and the success of Superstars of Dance."

    19 Entertainment, a division of CKX, is one of the most successful entertainment organizations in the world having created and produced hit television properties including American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, and with its relationships and partnerships with some of the biggest names in sports, music and fashion, including David Beckham, Victoria Beckham, Carrie Underwood, Kelly Clarkson, Chris Daughtry, Roland Mouret and the recently added tennis superstar, Andy Murray.

    About CKX, Inc.

    CKX, Inc. is engaged in the ownership, development and commercial utilization of entertainment content. To date, the Company has focused on acquiring globally recognized entertainment content and related assets, including the rights to the name, image and likeness of Elvis Presley, the operations of Graceland, the rights to the name, image and likeness of Muhammad Ali and proprietary rights to the IDOLS television brand, including the American Idol series in the United States and local adaptations of the IDOLS television show format which, collectively, air in more than 100 countries. For more information about CKX, Inc., visit its corporate website at www.ckx.com.
    And if that didn't confuse you enough, check out the official website description of the China team:
    CHINA

    Matthew Ahmet of Britain serves as coach for Team China. As a troubled teen, Ahmet went to China and found his way by becoming a Shaolin monk. The judge for Team China is Master Haiyang Wang. Master Wang is the natural successor to become abbott of his Shaolin temple. Performing for Team China are a traditional Chinese ribbon dancer soloist, a double whip soloist, an acrobatic ballet duo, and the Shaolin monks' kung fu group "Shaolin: Wheel of Life" - known as the greatest performers of kung fu for 15 years and in 40 countries.
    Gene Ching
    Associate Publisher
    Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine & www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips

  15. #15
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    More grist for the mill

    Anyone across the pond know Matthew Ahmet?

    From Middlesex school boy to Shaolin monk: Enter the (terribly suburban) dragon
    By Amanda Cable
    Last updated at 1:24 AM on 15th November 2008

    He's the ordinary north London boy who became a Chinese warrior monk. And his story is as astonishing as it is inspiring

    Matthew Ahmet is 20 and he's hard - well hard. His head is shaved, and his body bears the ravages of a violent life. A mark on his forehead shows where a metal bar came crashing down on his skull. His forearms have been sliced repeatedly by razor-sharp knives and his left arm has a 'punishment' burn from boiling water.

    So when he sits down, flashes a beautiful smile and talks about spreading happiness and peace, it comes as a great surprise. Because Matthew left his home in Enfield, north London, at the age of 17, to become a Shaolin monk in China. In doing so, he renounced all the worldly belongings that are the staple diet of teenage life, and entered a gruelling regime of training, sacrifice - and punishment.

    Each mark on his body bears testament to this new and extraordinary life. Matthew says, 'Recently, I went to visit an old schoolfriend of mine, who is at Manchester University. I met him at the digs he shares with his friends and I was stunned.

    There were dirty clothes everywhere, unwashed dishes and belongings just thrown around. In China, I wash my own robes in a bucket of cold water, which I also use to bathe in. I sleep on a bunk bed with no mattress, lying directly on a plank of wood.

    Everything in my new life is so neat and disciplined that I can't imagine being a typical student now.'

    Does this earnest young man, who looks like a feral youth but who is in fact gentle and thoughtful, miss anything about his 'old life'?

    He says with a brilliant smile, 'Hot showers. When I do go home, I love the luxury of being able to have hot water running over my body.'

    The extraordinary transformation of an ordinary teenager into wannabe monk began nine years ago, when China's famed Shaolin monks performed their extraordinary show of martial arts and physical feats at London's Dominion Theatre.

    Matthew says, 'I was 11 and my older brother and cousin took me along to see the show. I was quite interested in martial arts, and I liked watching Jackie Chan films, but nothing could have prepared me for this.

    I sat in the audience absolutely mesmerised. The show started just like it still does today, with a candle burning and soft chanting before the monks start demonstrating gentle tai chi moves.

    Suddenly, it all explodes into wonderful combat sequences and incredible feats of human endurance. The monks walk up stairways made from razor-sharp knives, lie on beds of knives with concrete slabs on top of them, and break metal bars over their own heads - showing how they can overcome pain.

    But it was when I saw a monk do a handstand, supporting himself on just two index fingers, that I thought, "Wow. I want to be that strong." I vowed that one day, I would be on stage with the monks.'

    On the way back to the three-bedroom home that he shared with his parents and two brothers, Matthew was strangely quiet. A new dream had been born.

    He says, 'People say that there is often a moment in life where everything changes, and for me, it was watching that one performance. I knew immediately that all I wanted to do in life was go to China and join the Shaolin monks. When I got home, I told Mum and Dad, and I think they assumed it was just a passing phase. But they were wrong.

    'I found a small local martial arts club and, as I grew better and better, I started training with a private teacher at five every morning, before school.

    Meanwhile, I researched everything I could about the monks, and downloaded pictures of them from the internet to plaster all over my bedroom walls. I wanted to wear impressive robes like the orange ones they wear for their performances, so I borrowed the sewing machines at school and made myself some.'

    When Matthew was 15, his Turkish-born father, Metin, was diagnosed-with testicular cancer and was admitted to hospital for the first of two major operations. Matthew, his mother, Penny, a professor, and his brothers sat in vigil by the bedside.

    Matthew says, 'Watching Dad in so much pain was the most awful time of my life. He was so brave - he became my total inspiration. But watching him lying in his hospital bed, so sick, convinced me that life is too short.

    My teachers wanted me to do A-levels and then go to university. I realised that I didn't want to waste any precious time - I wanted to follow my dream.'

    When his father had recovered, Matthew, who had passed seven GCSEs, begged his stunned parents to allow him to fly, alone, to China. He says, 'My martial arts master in London had direct links with the Shaolin monks in China and approached them on my behalf. They agreed to give me a one-year trial to see if I could withstand the regime.

    Dad wasn't keen at all. He wanted me to carry on studying. But Mum understood that it was something I had trained for years to do. She agreed to pay for my flight and said I could try it for a year.'

    In June 2005, the Ahmet family gathered at the airport to wave Matthew off. He says, 'We were all in tears. My martial arts master had arranged for me to travel with an old Chinese man, who could deliver me to the monk's temple.

    But when we got on the plane, I realised he didn't speak any English. When we arrived in China, all the signs were in Chinese characters, and I couldn't understand anything. I suddenly felt really alone.

    It took 14 hours to reach this man's village by car, and after staying overnight we set off for another nine-hour drive. I sat in the back of a tiny van on top of my case, and I was absolutely terrified. No one wears seatbelts in China, and they all smoke and chat as they drive.'

    When Matthew arrived at the Shaolin monastery in remote province of Henan, he was given plain grey robes and shown to a sparse dormitory with a concrete floor, no windows and rows of plain bunk beds.

    He said, 'My bed had no mattress, just a thin pillow and a blanket. The next morning, we were woken at five to go running up a mountain. I learned that training each day is the same - after reaching the top, we crawl back down on our hands and feet, like crabs, to build up our muscles.

    At the bottom, we stretch and pull our legs for 20 minutes, then, at seven o'clock, we stop for breakfast - boiled vegetables and rice.

    'From eight to 11, we continue training, with a 30-minute run to warm us up again. Then, we spend an hour on hard stretches, which include raising our straight leg and putting our foot into our own mouth. At midday it is lunch - vegetables and rice again - and then a two-hour sleep followed by training until nine at night.

    'By the second day, my calves and hamstrings were hurting so much I couldn't walk. But I learned that if you stay in bed, you are pulled out onto the floor - and if you don't line up outside quickly, you are whipped around the legs with bamboo canes, which really hurts.

    'The first few weeks were incredibly painful and lonely. I wasn't able to ring my mum and I lost over a stone in weight. But my pride just kept me going. I didn't want to admit defeat, and I also saw children aged four and five training alongside us, doing the same punishing exercises.

    If they could do it, then so could I. Finally, after about a month, I started to understand the language and I learned to carry on through the pain, and to conquer it.'

    Within a year, Matthew was able to join the famed Shaolin monk performing troupe, which had so inspired him as a child. That summer, his mother flew to China to see him. He says, 'I did look different - my head was completely shaved and I had lost so much weight - but she could see that I was happy.'

    Did he not miss the teenage temptations of alcohol - and girls? Matthew shrugs. 'I had never drunk alcohol because I didn't like the smell. And even though I had gone out with girls at school, I never wanted to just have casual sex. I felt it was too disrespectful.'

    Now, on his tours of the UK with the Shaolin monks, Matthew can be seen on stage performing incredible feats. He says, 'If I do feel pain, and it does hurt, I always think back to my dad lying in his hospital bed and how brave he was. That image helps me rise above the pain.'

    Matthew visits schools to talk about the monks and Buddhism. He says, 'I want to teach kids that you can be cool without being violent.

    My friends had knives when I was younger, but if I can persuade just one boy to put down a knife and train in a proper discipline like tai chi, my work will be worthwhile.'

    And Matthew hasn't completely forsaken girls: he is marrying 20-year-old Chinese student Chang Chun on 25 January - his parents' wedding anniversary. He says, 'I am allowed to marry because I haven't taken my full vows as a monk.

    I want to continue as part of the Shaolin monks, perhaps moving back to Britain.'

    Matthew sits back and flashes a brilliant smile. 'I see plenty of other lads my age who have shaved heads and scars. But none of them smile the way that I do.'

    You can't argue with that.

    Shaolin Monks: Wheel Of Life is on at the Hackney Empire, London, until 22 November, www.hackneyempire.co.uk
    Gene Ching
    Associate Publisher
    Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine & www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips

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