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Wushu spirit

Updated: 2013-09-17 09:26
By Chen Nan ( China Daily)

Wushu spirit

Students from Lang's school give a performance that shows the elegant side of kung fu, with the message of wushu's spiritual values telling people to stop fighting.

"I practiced wushu because my parents thought it was healthy and made me strong," recalls Lang. "But the more I learned, the more I became obsessed with it. I feel so proud that I come from the same place as Huo."

Receiving many awards in China and across Asia, Lang became a member of the China National Wushu Sports Team in 1988, competing abroad representing his country.

After retirement at age 31, Lang, together with his wife, Hou Dongmei, also a wushu expert from Tianjin, founded the school. In its first year, only 56 students applied. Thanks to Lang's reputation, the number of students soon rose dramatically and the training courses expanded to include nine styles, including sanda, or free boxing and Chinese wrestling.

Lang and his wife lived at the school with the students for the first 10 years. Besides teaching and practicing, they also spent their spare time with students, introducing wushu history and the story of Huo Yuanjia to them.

"I watched lots of kung fu movies and I came to the school at 10," says Yang Mengyuan, 19. Now a professional wushu athlete, he practices eight hours a day and has won awards at home and abroad.

"In most action films, good guys fight bad guys. The action looks great. But my teacher told me what I was seeing was just violence against violence, which is about revenge, not wushu," says Yang. "I am starting to know the true meaning of wushu after 10 years of learning it, like my teacher says - stop fighting."

An accomplished solo wushu performer, Yang enjoys every moment onstage, especially performing abroad. He says audiences see wushu as a symbol of China, which makes him very proud.

"I want to open my own wushu studio after retirement. Like my teachers, I want to pass the knowledge and spirit of wushu to more young Chinese people in the future," he says.

For 14-year-old Li Yixuan, wushu not only represents power and justice, but beauty. Li, from Sichuan province, started training at the school at 7. As a minority group in the school, her wushu skills have the grace and fluidity of dance.

"I fell in love with wushu when I was little. A sister from our neighborhood was a big wushu fan and she practiced every morning. Her moves were so smooth and beautiful," recalls Li.

Lang says the achievements and popularity the school has achieved are within his expectations, although things were tough in the beginning.

"Wushu is in our blood, which is natural and never dies," he says. "If the movie Fearless is about a man's journey, then my school witnesses the journey of 2,000 students and even more in the future.

"We honor the beliefs of Huo."

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