1755 E. Broad Street
Written and Photographed by Doreen Dawkins
A week before the Asian Festival at Franklin Park I, was downtown while participants practiced for the Dragon Boat Race. This looks like a great activity to foster group teamwork.
This festival offers free parking and shuttle services to and from designated parking lots. I parked at the Cleo Dumaree Athletic Complex, 276 S Nelson Rd., Columbus, OH 43205, and walked a couple of blocks to the festival.
You are wearing unique outfits. I just got here. What did you do?
We just competed a Wushu demonstration. Everyone calls it Kung Fu, but Wushu is the official name of Chinese martial arts.
What are the different levels of belts?
I’m a coach, he is an assistance coach, and he is a red belt. White belts are the beginners, then it goes yellow, orange, red, green, brown, then black.
We have three locations. One here, one in Dayton, and one in Cincinnati. We have an international tournament in August. Ohio Kung Fu Tai Chi Day is coming up in October. Different high-level master’s come to that event.
Why did you come to the Asian Festival today?
I have always been a huge fan of Asian culture. I specifically love Japan. Tokyo is my favorite city in the world. I have been twice. In middle America, being able to celebrate eastern culture in this way is amazing. Having a little bit of Japan to come to me in this way is exciting. I wanted to see what it had to offer.
There are some Asian vegan tacos here by Tofu Louie that are amazing.
Please explain what you were doing.
We perform and play traditional Vietnamese music. It is common that most people do not know about our music. Even Vietnamese barely know about our own cultural instruments. There is very little exposure. The instruments are very hard to learn. With modern life in the 21st century, nobody cares about anything old. The piano appears to be more appealing and high class. Anything old like this they don’t appreciate. Our group performs and promotes traditional theory and traditional music. There are many traditional Vietnamese groups that play modern songs or copy Chinese music and technique. Vietnamese music technique is very hard to learn. It took me over 20 years to master just a few important songs.
Sidebar: Although this festival was well attended it didn’t feel crowded. I was able to sit in an empty chair to view the performances whenever I wanted to sit. I also was able to walk around at a normal non-crowd pace
Tell me about your discipline and your studio.
Our school is in Gahanna, Ohio. We are disciplined in Tae Kwon Do martial arts. Joined art means flexibility and develop your internal energy and increase circulation. If you have a good energy, you don’t need self-defense because people know you are already strong.
We have the trial program for one month. The method is a natural way. Our stance and our movement are walking steps and stretching. Darimar means balance your life first.
Tell me about your discipline
I have been doing Karate now for 44 years. I started in Brooklyn NY. Kyokushin style. In Japan Kyokushin is the hardest style of Karate. It is a modern style. It is full contact Karate. All our tournaments are bare knuckle at the brown and black belt level. Now there is about 44 million people practicing the Oyama style of Karate. We consider it a Karate of war.
I keep hearing Osu (to me it sounded like oooooshhh, not to be confused with OSU (Ohio State University) what does that mean?
It means push yourself to that limit, then go over that limit. We always want to challenge ourselves.
Sidebar: This young lady appeared confident and broke the board on the first try. Good to see young people participating in positive activities.
How long have you been doing this?
We have been doing this for 25 years.
What is it? You had the crowd hyped!
This is an ancient dance. People used to celebrate after a successful harvest in India. We have taken it and added hip hop to it and made it a little more traditional. We have been bringing this to Columbus for the last 25 years and as you can see, everyone is enjoying it.
Sidebar: This performance was the highlight of the festival. This group had the crowd jumping!
My Take: This festival was a great use of space. The park was packed with things to do. There were four different stages (one inside), food trucks, vendors, places to sit and enjoy the performances, room for kids to play, etc. The vivid colors of the clothing was remarkable. There was diversity of music, dancing, and martial art.