Traditional martial arts booming among China's students

Traditional martial arts booming among China's students

In recent years, Tai Chi and other traditional martial arts have become increasingly popular among college students who want to keep fit.

Accompanied by soothing Chinese folk music, Dan Kun, a 23-year-old college student, practices Tai Chi. Dan is a junior at Lanzhou University and her major is musical performance. Wearing a black uniform, she resembles a Tai Chi veteran.

Three years ago, after enrolling at college, Dan was deeply attracted by the martial arts module of the physical education course as a musical major. "I think music and martial arts are interlinked, both of them need rhythm. I wanted to learn Tai Chi," Dan said.

Tai Chi is a traditional Chinese form of shadowboxing, combining rigidity and flexibility with the core idea of traditional Chinese philosophy. Tai Chi is also a key tenet of Chinese martial arts. In 2006, it was listed as one of China's national intangible cultural heritages.

From spring to winter, outdoors and in dormitory corridors, her classmates always see Dan practicing Tai Chi. "Hard work pays off," Dan often encourages herself with this sentence, gaining a greater platform to show himself.

Next month, Dan will participate in the 4th Gansu University Students' Games as an athlete from Lanzhou University. "I will compete in Tai Chi, Tai Chi Sword and Yang's Tai Chi," Dan said.

Dan's continuous progress in traditional Chinese martial arts depends on the guidance of her "gold medal coach" Kan Wencong.

Kan, a "post-90s" girl, was a gold medalist in women's martial arts at the 2010 and 2014 Asian Games. "Before the 4th Gansu University Students' Games, all the athletes are amateurs. And their ability to train hard and surpass themselves is a great achievement," Kan said.

Besides Dan, seven students of different majors at Lanzhou University are preparing for the Games. "The origin of traditional Chinese martial arts comes from traditional Chinese culture. It can strengthen the body, and it can make people understand the changes and possibilities of everything," said Li Shaocheng, professor of Physical Education and martial arts coach from Lanzhou.

The boom in traditional Chinese martial arts at universities tallies with China's continuous promotion of public fitness activities.

A 2018 report by China's General Administration of Sport showed that by the end of 2017, the country had two million social sports instructors and 100 million people participating in fitness activities every year.

"Rome was not built in a day. Practice makes perfect and I will try my best to get good results in the upcoming Games," Dan said.