CHINA Podcast: Story in the Story (2/11/2020 Tue.)

CHINA

Podcast: Story in the Story (2/11/2020 Tue.)

People's Daily app

01:43, February 11, 2020

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From the People's Daily App.

This is Story in the Story.

While most Chinese students have gone on winter holiday, some from Jinshan primary school still go to school every workday for a two-hour martial arts training.

The school is located in Danzhai county, Qiandongnan Miao and Dong Autonomous Prefecture in southwest China's Guizhou Province, an area that is impoverished.

On a normal day in Jinshan, 38 students practice different movements with different martial arts props on the soccer field, and improvisation of cudgel play by 12-year-old Wei Jinfu got a full house cheer.

"I've been learning martial arts for five years, in which I am extremely interested," said Wei, who often got sick before but has become physically healthier due to learning martial arts.

According to the department of education of Guizhou, there are more than 5,000 schools offering the education of Chinese ethnic cultures.

Today’s Story in the Story looks at how martial arts education has been fruitful for China's younger generation.

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Students performing martial arts. (Photo: CGTN)

Wang Shaobang, 48, headmaster and martial arts coach of the Jinshan school, said that the students practicing together were preparing for a martial arts show for the Chinese New Year.

"All the students have been learning martial arts for at least three years and they are invited by the local government to perform at the show for the Spring Festival celebration," he said.

Wang was the man who brought martial arts into the school program in 2014.

"In that year, China was speeding up the introduction of the Chinese ethnic cultures including opera, music, woodcarving, paper-cutting, and calligraphy into schools, and I introduced martial arts just because I hoped more students would love martial arts and improve their bodies," he said.

Jinshan school has a total of 311 students, 98 percent of whom are from Miao ethnic groups. They all have learned martial arts and are trained for free by the school in the summer and winter holidays.

Wang said more than half of the students are left-behind children and they want to spend more time with each other on holidays through martial arts training at school.

"Children living in impoverished areas are commonly short-spoken and unsociable," he added, with martial arts not only toughening them up but also sharpening their will as well as giving them confidence through attending and winning various martial arts competitions.

Chen Ziyi, a 12-year-old left-behind child who lives with her grandparents, has become outgoing and confident since she began learning martial arts three years ago. "Martial arts makes me stronger and my parents always encourage me to keep going on."

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A rousing lion dance performance to open the event. (Photo: CGTN)

Chen Sinan, another student who has comparatively mastered high-level skills of sabreplay and swordplay after three years of learning, said martial arts helps keep her focused.

"When performing martial arts, I need to focus on the coherence of a series of movements, which makes me concentrate on whatever I am doing," Chen said.

Though Chinese martial arts gained worldwide fame thanks to icons like Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee, the practice has a very long history.

And amid a trend in the nation to rejuvenate this traditional Chinese art, a martial arts gymnastics show was held last June at the National Olympic Sports Center for International Children's Day.

Nearly a thousand children from 17 kindergartens and elementary schools from five Chinese cities and provinces attended the display.

"The purpose of this activity is to enable kids to get to know traditional Chinese culture, to learn the values of our ancestors which weighted both intelligence and physical courage. The process of martial arts training can also increase their health and physical strength,” said Wang Tianming, the event's organizer and choreographer.

It's part of a larger event that involves more than a million children from around China.

"Our kindergarten has been involved in martial arts training for four to five years," said Zhuang Daoyong, martial arts coach of Beichen Fudi kindergarten.

"First, it brings happiness to the kids. Practicing it can strengthen their body. Practicing martial arts can also help build up their confidence, especially performing moves on a big stage like this,” Zhuang added.

Martial arts is a method of both self-defense and physical exercise. It is among the traditions that Chinese people are most proud of.

(Produced by Nancy Yan Xu, Brian Lowe, Lance Crayon and Paris Yelu Xu. Music by: bensound.com. Text from Xinhua and CGTN.)


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