Wushu team wows the crowds in DC

Updated: 2014-05-19 12:19

By Chen Weihua and Charlene Cai in Washington (China Daily USA)

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Most Americans probably got to know wushu, or martial arts, through Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li or the animation figure Kungfu Panda on the silver screen.

But on Sunday evening at the Kay Theater of University of Maryland at College Park, people received a rare treat on stage in a performance by the visiting China national wushu delegation.

This came after the Chinese delegation staged a show at the Ernest Community Cultural Center at Northern Virginia Community College on Saturday night.

The delegation, comprised of 11 national, Asian and international champions, drew big applause from the audience with their dazzling performance.

Shao Shiwei, vice-president of the Chinese Wushu Association who led the delegation, said he was impressed by the audience's enthusiasm for their presentation.

"No one left during the two-hour performance," said Shao, who is also deputy director general of the Wushu Administration Center under the China's General Administration of Sports.

"Wushu is a universal language," said Shao. "You do not need to know the Chinese language in order to understand wushu. And, it embodies the core values of Chinese culture, which is all about balance and harmony."

The presentation seemed to cover the full spectrum of wushu, from Long Fist, Eagle Claw and Shaolin to Ground Tumbling Boxing, Taichi Sword and Nine Section Whip, all reflecting the strength, speed, stamina and flexibility of the martial arts.

Performances by local wushu teams - such as the Wushu-Kungfu Fitness Center from New Jersey and the O-Mei Wushu Kungfu Center in Washington - were also impressive. It was clear that these students from diverse ethnic groups had not only fallen in love with wushu but had achieved a high-level of skills.

The same seemed true of the group taichi performances by a local team whose students were mostly senior citizens, again of different races.

Actor Cole Horibe, who portrayed Bruce Lee in David Henry Hwang's Broadway show Kung Fu, also gave a demonstration on stage on Saturday night.

He said his own performance was not as structured as the champions' but based more on personal creativity.

On Saturday afternoon, the Chinese wushu team performed a selected program in front of a huge crowd at the National Mall in Washington as part of the celebration of the Asian-American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month.

Among the crowd, Leanne Long said it was her first encounter with wushu. A former dancer herself, Long said her favorite show was the Ground Tumbling Boxing, which reflected good balance and the beauty of strength. It was "inspiring", she said.

Jacob Grey from Virginia said he was familiar with Chinese kung fu, but it was hard to find such a magnificent show.

The visit by the Chinese delegation is part of a sports exchange under the 4th China-US High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange held in Washington last November.

Shao said the Wushu Administration Center is collaborating with Confucius Institute Headquarters to design systematic wushu courses for overseas student. "We will not only teach techniques but the history and philosophy of body, mind, and spirit behind it," Shao said.

The delegation will engage in exchange activities with martial arts experts in the US in the coming days before wrapping up their weeklong US trip in New York on Wednesday.

Contact the writers at chenweihua@chinadailyusa.com and charlenecai@chinadailyusa.com

 Wushu team wows the crowds in DC

Chen Huiying of the Chinese wushu delegation performs on Saturday afternoon in front of the crowds on the National Mall in Washingtoan as part of the celebration of Asian American and Pacific Islanders Heritage Month. Zhang Weiran / for China Daily

(China Daily USA 05/19/2014 page1)