I spotted this amazing poster at the Lutheran Church of the Messiah. I’m bird obsessed and have a poster fetish so I was extremely hyper about this find. I tacked it to my fridge then upon closer inspection discovered it’s for a martial arts class called White Crane: Unity of Body and Movement from the Island of Java. And it’s right here in Greenpoint (129 Russell St) on Thursdays at 7:00pm for $5. Dreamy.

The description of this beginner “no experience necessary” class  is promising, with “self-cultivation opportunities appropriate for everybody – independent of age, gender and physical condition,” that “will work on learning balance, coordination, strength, and endurance, so if you don’t have those skills yet, no problem.”

Yet? I have been working on these elusive skills my whole life, especially balance and coordination. Sometimes I wonder why I even have hands with all the dropping I do. Three broken iphone screens later and the universe needs me to take this class.

Five bucks is cheaper than a beer and you get a hell of a lot more out of this intense hour and a half class than from a beer. And you can just have a beer after class!

When I met our instructor Karl a.k.a. Kayrock, who has years of experience studying this “movement system” and spent some months training in Java, I didn’t ask him about the class, I asked him about the poster.


“I love this poster!”

Kayrock runs Kayrock Screenprinting, which was at Monster Island then moved to the GMDC building on Manhattan Ave. after the massive evacuation. Another multi-talented Greenpointer doing great things in the community. And your $5 is donated to the church.

White Crane was so on. We began by jogging around the basement of the church barefoot to warm up. Then we did a series of punch and kick repetitions that really got us pumped. After some stretching, Kayrock described the method as a the yoga of martial arts, and many of the stretches were similar and very relaxing.

Then the coordination training began. We did slide walk kicks across the floor, repeatedly. At first they felt awkward but after my body learned the movement and I started to get it, it was a lot of fun. I was able to focus on what I was doing in the moment, which is great for dealing with everyday stress and distractions.

After that we moved on to the “dance fighting with a partner” portion. That is not the technical name, but that is what it felt like. This is where martial arts really differs from yoga. In yoga you fly solo, on your own mat and work on an inward practice. White Crane is more dynamic in that your practice is outward and shared, and you must anticipate the movements of someone else, while trying to be coordinated yourself. Not easy, but even in the short time I was there I got better.

My fight dance partner was my boyfriend. If this isn’t a form of couples therapy I don’t know what is. At one point Jon and I were fumbling through one of the block then punch slide routines and he said, “You punch me, then I punch you.” I never thought I would ever hear that sentence much less it be a positive statement, but it was and we got better at fighting each other, gently of course.

We raved about the class all week and look forward to returning and getting better. I can’t wait until I can trip him so he falls on the floor! And he’s going to like it.

Try White Crane; you will be hooked. And watch this video I made. Aaliyah and Timbaland and trips and back flips make up for the poor editing.

White Crane: Unity of Body and Movement From the Island of Java
Thursdays @ 7:00-8:30pm
Lutheran Church of the Messiah
129 Russell St

More info: email kayrock (at) gmail.com

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