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Gym seeking to teach master’s kung fu spirit to new generation
By Yang Jian

THE Chin Woo Gymnasium opened yesterday in Hongkou District, seeking to revive the teachings of legendary Chinese martial arts master Huo Yuanjia.

Organizers said today’s young need to learn more about the kung fu spirit embodied by Huo.

Huo, admired as a Chinese national hero for defeating foreign fighters in highly publicized kung fu bouts, founded the Chin Woo Athletic Association in Shanghai in the 1900s.

The new Chin Woo Gymnasium is intended to create a structured environment for teaching and learning martial arts, said Hua Dongping, executive deputy director with the Chin Woo Athletic Federation.

The gym — the former Hongkou Gymnasium on Dongtiyuhui Road — will feature martial arts classes for children and host clubs for kung fu enthusiasts.

Famous kung fu masters in China will visit as trainers and various facilities will be open to the public, said organizers.

But the spirit of China’s martial arts culture is not strong among local young people, officials and experts told a forum after the opening ceremony.

They attributed this to a shortage of classes at schools and incorrect impressions from kung fu movies and novels.

“The physical condition of local students is poor, while the martial arts spirit is unknown to many children,” said Yan Jianping, director of legislative body of Hongkou District and chairman of the Shanghai Chin Woo federation.

Movie versions of kung fu made Chinese martial arts seem unrealistic to many young people, said Cai Longyun, a kung fu master and former deputy chairman of the Chinese Martial Arts Association, who  defeated foreign boxing champions just 14 years old.

A particular problem is that learners practice styles but fail to learn the spirit behind Chinese martial arts, said Yan Weibing, a local kung fu master.

Organizers hope to change this state of affairs.

“We aim to promote the Chin Woo spirit, including patriotism, fairness and readiness to help others, especially among the young generation,” said Hua.

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