Now for an interlude....break from eating and a word about wushu. My family and I had the pleasure of having the company of Honk Kong Wushu Team's Coach , Gao Song , take us for fire pot in the Park Lane district in Causeway Bay. The food was excellent, and the conversation about wushu. Gao mentioned that China needs to figure how it is going to promote wushu. With the emphasis on nandu China has made it very difficult for other athletes to compete with them. Taekwondo was successful because people of any age can enjoy and take part in it. They made it simple, easy for anyone to learn, and spread the art everywhere. Wushu on the other hand has gone the opposite way, making it an elite spport. Coach Gao pointed out, that with the elimination of nandu in weapons it has made it possible for older athletes to compete in these events..as witness by many older athletes winning a place in the 2008 Beijing Competition. Also, now many of the forms are returning to the old school wushu flavor.....no more stopping in the middle of the form and getting ready for the nandu. Certainly, this was never wushu....more like gymnastic, where in traditional wushu do you stop so your opponent can pop you in the mouth? While, contemporary wushu is different from the traditional.......the emphasis and criteria for gung-fu has to be the same, speed, power, stance, and intention....otherwise what you have is not wushu just chop suey! We also had a lively discussion on the state of Taij.......it looks like slow long fist and has none of the characteristics of Taiji, in addition before anyone could compete in the compulsory form...now you have to be an ex long fist competitor. Coach Gao and I also spent some time discussing the state of wushu in America. I felt that the US Team should have done better........he thought that America should not be too disappointed since it will have athletes competing in Beijing in 2008....he said some countries won't even have one representative! But he did point out that one of the reasons all of the best teams are in Asia, is because they have many competitions at the international level each year, and it pushes the athletes to improve and gain lots of experience in hi level events. Also, it is so important that the government supports their teams.....the athletes in Asia get everything paid for and have top notch facilities to train in. The Hong Kong Team's Facility is brand new with the proper training facility. America has a long ways to go in that direction. We both agreed though that the current direction for wushu is better than last year when all students were practicing was nandu...and getting hurt! Wushu is suppose to improve your health not injure you!! We hope this trend will mean returning wushu to it's roots and not continue looking for some way to spiff up wushu...to make it more "exciting". Wushu is an outgrowth of Chinese Culture, with a specific history, a relationship to literature, has it's own specific techniques and ways of training, an ethics all it's own...it does not need to be made western for the westerners! So ended our dinner, we had a great time and thanked Coach Gao for coming out from Shatin to see us. He hoped he would have an opportunity to visit the USA in the future...and visit with us. It was sort of too bad..the HK Team was having a performance the next day and our flight was leaving in the morning...shucks...but no choice as that was the only flight back. Cya all for now!!
Coming: Sept 14 Mid-Autumn Festival Sept 15 Dragon Boat Festival Oct 12 4th Annual Golden State Chinese Martial Arts Champions