“Jet Li’s ‘aura’ is quieter, but no less compelling – in
Once Upon A Time in China‘s ladder fight, he dominates a fight scene in which he actually took little combative part. The camera gives as much as it takes away – Li positively
glows in close-up. Chinese martial arts, health and performance traditions all embrace the concept of
qi, a term which carries multiple meanings, including air, spirit, energy and breath. Jo Riley explains that in
jingju(Chinese opera), it also means ‘presence’ –
faqiis to radiate presence. A performing body is “a body which is
presenced. The poses manifest or radiate presence by virtue or articulation of the body”… In
jingju, the key presencing moment is the
liangxiang (radiant, glowing appearance) pose – the term suggests an opening of the body to let light shine, “the moment of expressing presence… the expression of
qi(force) which captivates the spectator’s gaze happens at (the) same point at which
qiis returned or gathered”. “Leon Hunt, critic and Jet Li fan, Kung Fu Cult Masters, pp. 43 – 44
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