China’s kung fu town to build global martial arts conglomerate

August 4th, 2011 - 11:55 am ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 4 (IANS) China’s kung fu town of Denfeng, where the famed Shaolin Temple is located, has plans to merge all its kung fu schools into a martial arts conglomerate.

The objective is to be able to offer top-class shows and training for international market, China’s Xinhua news agency reported.

According to Wang Songwei, head of the martial arts administration of Dengfeng in Henan province, the authorities will propose merger of small and poorly-run kung fu schools while raising the registration requirements for opening new schools.

Wang said the number of kung fu schools in Dengfeng will be halved to less than 20 while doubling the number of students to 100,000 by 2015.

China’s kung fu schools usually enrol young kids and adolescents from the countryside, providing them education with a focus on martial arts training.

Top students take up the sport as a profession by competing in martial arts contests and participating in shows during various events like the Beijing Olympics and the Shanghai World Expo.

Development of kung fu schools has helped Dengfeng reap profits from shows and tourism.

These schools have of late started complaining of a decline in the enrolment, following dwindling number of rural children and an easier access to standard education. Many schools are thus compelled to offer high school courses to prepare students for college.

These kung fu schools will now increasingly focus on intellectual subjects and not just physical education. “We don’t want our students to be masculine but simple-minded martial arts masters,” said Wang.

Wang said such a trend of development would enable kung fu shows to expand on the overseas market.

Kung fu gained its popularity in the world through the successful screening of mainland and Hong Kong kung fu movies beginning in the 1970s.

The global enthusiasm put the 1,500-year-old Shaolin Temple, cradle of Shaolin kung fu, on the world map. The temple has developed profitable business operations such as kung fu shows, film production and online sales.

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