Fists of fury — and skulls of steel — will be on display next month at a star−studded event featuring some of the finest martial arts talent culled from across the globe.
At the 43rd Annual Aaron Banks World of Self Defense, young and old —really, really old — will display brash displays of athleticism: One of the featured performers is 90−year−old Grandmaster William Mack, who will see fit to break massive blocks of ice with his head.
“People of all ages, regardless if they are five or 90 can do martial arts, and be very successful at it,” said the show’s promoter, Great Grandmaster Aaron Banks, the 80−year martial arts patriarch.
The event, held at the New World Stages Theater, 340 West 50th Street, will feature top tier talent like Mr. Karate U.S.A. Paul Mormando, and Grandmaster Robert ‘Sugar’ Crosson, a Shotokan karate wizard who will perform a smashing one−act play called “Taking Them Out.”
Also appearing will be Maurice Elmalem, the Brooklyn−bred master breaker known as the “Martial Arts Daredevil.” Elmalem has participated in over 750 championships throughout the world, claiming 47 gold medals and 450 trophies—and a place in the Guinness Book of World Records.
Grandmaster Irving Soto will showcase street warfare; Shihan Rico Delosanjos, will display his jaw−dropping tae kwon do techniques, and Shihan Robert Ornes will perform “the incredible techniques of being blind−folded and fighting two or three opponents,” Banks said.
Banks has made a career showcasing the varied martial arts disciplines, as well as incredible displays of strength and agility in the form of live, in−your−face entertainment.
He credits himself with being the spark behind reality television, and frowns at the popularity of bloodsports like mixed martial arts. “At my event, they will be seeing true martial arts — not what martial arts like they see on television,” he said.
In the 1970’s Banks appeared in films with Bruce Lee, Richard Roundtree, Roddy McDowall and Adolph Caesar. For over 35 years, he ran a martial arts school in Manhattan, which he left in 1993.
Banks’ martial arts extravaganza debuted in 1966 and was held in Manhattan’s Town Hall. By the 1970s, his show was being held at Madison Square Garden and later, ABC’s Wide World of Sports, he said.
The 43rd Annual Aaron Banks World of Self Defense will be held Saturday, August 1 at the New World Stages Theater, 340 West 50th Street. Show begins at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $25, with discounted group rates available, and available on Telecharge, 212−239−6200. For more information, call Aaron Banks at 718−271−7997.
©2009 Community News Group
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