Lunar New Year celebrated with Lion Dance, martial arts demos in Hemet

Chinese lion dragon
The mythical Chinese lion dragon portrayed by two costumed dancers is awakened for the Lunar New Year celebration at the Center for Spiritual Living, Hemet Saturday, Jan. 11. Valley News/Tony Ault photos

The mythical Chinese lion dragon awakened to drums for the Lunar New Year Saturday, Jan. 11, and danced for members of the Center for Spiritual Living, Hemet and their guests, followed by the screening of the first kung fu movie released in 1972.

The Lunar New Year’s celebration, open to the public, was hosted by the Little Tao Dragon Martial and Healing Arts under the domes of the Center for Spiritual Living at 40450 Stetson Ave. in Hemet.

Joining in the celebration were martial arts masters and grand masters from dojos around Southern California, including Calista Carradine, daughter of the 1970s kung fu television series creator David Carradine, and other martial artists and actors.

In addition to the lion dance, eight martial arts students from the Little Tao Martial and Healing Arts Center received their advanced skill belts, three different martial arts exhibitions were performed and the history of the Chinese lion dance was explained.

The Chinese lion dance was created from a mythical Chinese dragon that stole children from many villages, until a young Chinese emperor in a dream fed the lion and from then on, the lion became the symbol of good luck in China chasing away evil spirits.

The guests fed the lion dollar bills in red envelopes. The money benefited the church and the Little Tao Dragon Martial and Healing Arts.

The guests were treated to a screening of the first kung fu feature movie with a souvenir “wanted for murder” poster for Kwai Chang Caine, played by David Carradine, from the Chinese delegation.

The martial arts panelists greeted guests and answered questions, including actress Calista Carradine; Grand Master David Reed, who is skilled in Tae Kwon Do and Jeet Kune Do; Master Lady L. Reed, Wei Kuen Do; Grand Master Robert Price, Tang So Do, Lotus, Muay Thai: Master Robert Moses, kung fu; actor David Ross; Americus Captain Abesamis, sumo wrestler; martial artist and actor Vince Cecere; Grand Master Seming Ma; SiGing Angel Velazquez with Angel’s Black Tiger and Master Mark Hoadley.

There were demonstrations of the Praying Mantis style, Lotus and more.

The Little Tao Dragon Martial Arts Center offers day and evening classes in Kung Fu, Tai Chi and meditation at The Center for Spiritual Living, Hemet. Call (951) 658-5157 or visit for information.

Tony Ault can be emailed at