Kung Fu in the courtroom

It’s not every day that you get a Buddhist fighting monk to testify at a trial. But when the defendant is Kung Fu grandmaster Frank DeMaria, it makes perfect sense.

Shi Guo Lin brought some action — and a laugh — to the courtroom of Westchester County Judge Barbara Zambelli today when he took the stand as a defense witness. DeMaria, his friend and Kung Fu brother, is facing felony sex abuse charges for allegedly directing four young female students to grope him during class.

Guo Lin, who does not speak fluent English, did some Kung Fu moves for the jury to demonstrate a groin strike that DeMaria claims he was teaching the girls when two adult male students saw him and accused him of abuse. He showed some other kicks and punches in front of the jury box as defensive moves during an attack.

Assistant District Attorney Christine Cervasio asked Guo Lin about the “tiger claw,” a phrase to describe a groin attack he did not understand in English and that the Mandarin interpreter could not translate.

“Could you demonstrate so I could see what it looks like?” he asked the prim, polished prosecutor. The image of Cervasio, or any of the lawyers, doing Kung Fu caused the courtroom to erupt in laughter.  The judge, with a smile, said there would be no demonstrations and that DeMaria could tell his lawyer the Mandarin word for the tiger claw move so he could inform his witness.

DeMaria, left, and Guo Lin in happier times. Photo from kungfu.org, the American Center of Chinese Studies website.

Rebecca Baker

Rebecca Baker joined The Journal News in March 2004. She covers Eastchester, Bronxville and Tuckahoe, and was previously the state and county courts reporter in Westchester County. In prior jobs, she covered the Town of Greenburgh and Rockland County government and politics. Before coming to The Journal News, she was a municipal reporter for newspapers in New Haven, Conn. and Warren, Ohio.