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Kung Fu Competition at the Shaolin Temple Moves Online This Year

The Shaolin Temple, known for the birthplace of Chan Buddhism and their mastery practices in Shaolin Kung Fu, held their kung fu competition online this year due to the constraints of the pandemic. In order to compete for their international competition, competitors must send photos and videos of their kung fu performance to the Shaolin Temple website so judges can observe their posture and technique. 5,368 kung fu enthusiasts from 94 countries are involved in this competition and the kung fu would be judged by 11 national-level judges and warrior monks. The theme for this year’s competition is “peace and friendship, health and happiness, inheritance and sharing.”

Yanbin of the Shaolin Cultural Center said, “Not only did participants have their kung fu skills and physical fitness improved, but also themselves refreshed and invigorated.” Ambassadors and organizers from all around the world provided their support to see shaolin kung fu in action. A young woman named Marta Neskovic was previously awarded the women’s Yizhaogong with her spectacular performance in kung fu. Originally focused in anthropology, she went to the Shaolin Temple to master the art of kung fu. She said, “I stayed for two and a half years, I love kung fu so much. Practicing kung fu is good for mental and physical health.”

Before the pandemic, the Shaolin Kung Fu Competition would be held in cultural centers from all around the world. The competition opened up Chinese culture towards foreigners who love kung fu. For more than 1,500 years, the Shaolin Temple served as the center for arts and culture not only in martial arts, but also incredible wisdom. Because of this, Shaolin Culture Centers were established in more than 120 cities, including one center in New York City. Through their training, many students have said their health and mindset improved significantly.

With the convenience of having the competition online, friends and families are able to watch the performances at their own convenience. Shi Yongxin, abbot of the temple, said, “The Shaolin Kung Fu test is an important part of the regulation system and tradition of Shaolin Temple. It aims to review Shaolin disciples’ technical achievements, spiritual wisdom and social responsibility. It is a significant way to improve well-being and make breakthroughs.”

The limitations of the pandemic does sadden those who wanted to go on-location to see the kung fu performances up close, but the flexibility of an online platform allows more competitors than ever to participate in the kung fu competition. Hopefully as the pandemic situation improves, kung fu enthusiasts will be able to see the beauty of this martial arts once again live.

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