The South African Wushu Federation saw droves of Kung Fu competitors take to the floor and ring to display their skills at the University of Johannesburg.
The University Of Johannesburg Confucius Institute (UJCI) opened the first South African Wushu Tournament of Confucius Institutes on Friday, 12 January 2018, in Auckland Park Kingsway Campus. The competition attracted more than thirty Wushu competitors from different nations.
In the opening ceremony, Prof Du Shougao, a martial arts teacher from UJCI performed Taiji in a freely flowing style and presented an aesthetic performance of Chen-style Taiji Fan, which brought the house down. Other volunteers from the Confucius Institute performed nine-section whip, which greatly entertained the audience.
The speakers included Prof Tshilidzi Marwala, UJ Vice-Chancellor and Principal, Mr Zheng Wen, Consular General, and Mr Jurgens Lamprecht, President of South African Wushu Federation.
Vice-Chancellor Marwala welcomed all athletes and guests, stating that the event marked the first ever Wushu competition of this size and magnitude being hosted by the University of Johannesburg, and that bears testimony to the strength of the UJCI, in terms of people-to-people relations, culture – areas in which Wushu is crucial. "And more importantly," he said "this year marks the 20th year of formal diplomatic relations between South Africa and China, in line with the historical relationship between the Chinese Communist Party along with other parties in the continent where China helped in the liberation struggle; a relationship that dates back to over 60 years ago, to the Bandung Conference of 1955." Professor Marwala also indicated that cooperation with China is crucial for the promulgation of the 4th Industrial Revolution and the path to integrating artificial intelligence.
Prof Yin Fulin , Chinese Co-Director of the Confucius Institute at UJ, said that the cooperation between the Confucius Institute and Wushu Association revealed that people in South Africa loved Chinese martial arts deeply, especially Taiji, which had become an important means for them to keep fit. "Wushu, commonly known as Kung Fu, has something to offer for people of all ages and genders. It is good for fitness, self-defence and overall coordination development. We are developing the sport to encourage students more especially women to take part. It is important to expand into the areas that have not been exposed to this amazing art form before."
This competition attracted contestants of all ages. Middle-aged and elderly martial arts amateurs preferred to exchange experience in Taiji competition, while young fellows gave full play to their abilities in Wing Chun, free combat and other combat sports. Student's participation in the Wushu routine competition was a real eye-catcher. Wearing a serious look, every one of them earnestly did each posture. There were moments when they were as nimble as flying Chinese dragons and moments as quiet as contemplative Kung Fu masters.
"We develop friendship through martial arts and exchange skills in these activities, which not only promote Chinese culture but also enhance mutual understanding and friendship between our countries, added Prof Fulin."
Established in 2017, the UJCI Wushu Club is the first club of its kind at any South African university. Wushu is a form of exercise based on traditional Chinese martial arts. The purpose of the club is to improve body strength and health, provide practitioners with a self-defence capability, and promote Chinese Wushu. It is also aimed at testing at piloting a new approach to teaching Wushu at foreign universities.
Through daily training, Wushu communication and Wushu performance, the UJCI Wushu Club intends to expand the influence of Wushu, promote Chinese Wushu culture, and raise awareness of Wushu at UJ.