At a recent birthday party for Sifu Shi Yan Mang, 41 years young, in lower Manhattan, the luminaries came out to drink some “special water” and honor their teacher. Bet you didn’t know that Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s manager was married to a bona fide Shaolin master, or that he trained some members of the Wu-Tang Clan, or that he’s probably the coolest guy ever. Amazing story.
The celebrants spanned an easy range of age, race, profession, and style: deli clerk, baby, Wesley Snipes, sociology professor, Masta Killa. The RZA, of the Wu-Tang Clan, who spent much of his childhood skipping school to watch kung-fu movies in Times Square, was there, wearing a Staten Island baseball jacket and cap. In a room where hair was fairly unpopular, you could spot Jim Jarmusch’s tall, fluffy white head.