Kungfu: A Sport That Has Since Grown Beyond Martial Arts

The ageless Chinese physical and mind exercise now enjoys wider international following.


Mention Chinese Kungfu and one immediately remembers movie stars like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li. Thanks in great measure to them, Kungfu or Wushu as a martial art has over the years become increasingly popular with foreigners. It was therefore no surprise that a performance of “Chun Yi: The Legend Of Kungfu” by the China Heaven Creation on March 31, 2017, drew almost a full house in the Red Theatre in the Chinese capital, Beijing.

The show is a daily evening performance in Beijing, with organisers describing it as “The most exciting Kungfu show in the world.” With tickets going for as much as 380 Yuan (about 34,000 FCFA) per person, the March 31 show could safely be said to have drawn a crowd evenly shared between Chinese and foreigners. There was also the remarkable presence of many foreign children accompanying their parents to the one and half-hour intense display.

The story was that of a young monk scared of his new environment in the monastery. But through the support and encouragement of his master, an experienced Kungfu practitioner, the young boy plucks up courage and faces the challenges of life. With scintillating acrobatic displays, fireworks, beautiful varying lighting, sound and regular change of costumes, the group of about 30 skillful Kungfu performers offered appreciative guests an evening treat. “This show is more energetic than River Dance,” noted a senior Irish diplomat in Beijing in the brochure for the day’s performance. The China Heaven Creation troupe has been performing abroad since 2014.  

Kungfu is one of the most well known examples of traditional Chinese culture with a history dating back thousands of years. It is probably one of the longest traditional Chinese physical exercises that makes use of both brawn and brain. Apart from being an international sport, Chinese Kungfu helps to improve health, fitness, reaction time, jumping ability, balance, flexibility, coordination, power and speed; in addition to enhancing self-defence. Above all, Kungfu has since become more than a sport discipline. It is now considered more as performing arts.

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