In a park on the corner of 12th and Carpenter Streets members of the Hawthorne Cultural Center practiced for the participation in the 2011 New Jersey International Wushu-Kungfu Tournament.
Hasan Rucker, a teacher of Wushu-Kungfu at Hawthorne, is excited that his students will compete.
“This is definitely exposing children and adults to a different culture, main land China and giving children an opportunity to speak Chinese. When they participate in Wushu, they learn about kinesthetic awareness, flexibility, power, strength, coordination and discipline.”
Hawthorne Cultural Center is a place where residents from not only South Philadelphia but around the city come and practice the skill of Wushu.
Orathay Dethluxay, a practitioner of Wushu for three years, loves practicing at Hawthorne.
“It feels like a family,” Dethluxay said.
Although she’s not competing in the tournament, she will be there supporting her fellow classmates.
Hawthorne Cultural Center is not only a space for Wushu practitioners. It is known citywide for being an arts and crafts center. Students come and learn how to create art such as paintings and pottery. Members have won awards for the pieces they have created.
Jeanne Lee, the secretary of the advisory council at Hawthorne Cultural, did her part for the students preparing for the competition by painting good luck posters.
“We incorporate all types of culture and all types of art,” Lee said. “What’s great [about the center] is it brings all types of people together. It introduces people to different religions or cultures and makes Philly what it is, a melting pot.”
Shana Staley, a member since 2006, feels that Wushu at Hawthorne is good for the kids of the community.
“I think that the recreational centers have a very strong impact on young people because it keeps them into things that are creative, things that are active, things that will help them grow into better people. Also keeping them focused instead of being focused on negative things out in the streets,” Staley said.
People from all ages are welcome to visit Hawthorne Cultural Center located at 1200 Carpenter St..