C'est la Chine - UK｜Shaolin Master: Wushu is not about learning to fight, but self-cultivation
Shaolin Kung Fu instructor Shi Hengsheng began learning wushu (Chinese Kung Fu) at the age of six with his father, and after that, he entered the Shaolin Temple, where he spent his long training years. Later, he ended up in England with several fellow apprentices and set up a martial arts school there.
Foreigners are quite passionate about wushu. However, Shi encountered a big problem when he first came to England - he did not know English. How could he communicate in class? At first, Shi could only use hand gestures, and try to adapt to the environment slowly relying on rote memorization.
Over time, Shi and his students became more familiar with each other. He taught them Kung Fu, and in turn, the students tutored him in English.
Unlike Muay Thai and Mixed Martial Arts, practicing Shaolin Wushu is more of an internal self-cultivation process, Shi says.
"Wushu is an expression of culture, not just about learning how to fight. Practicing wushu is not only a process of self-cultivation on the spiritual level, but also a way to appreciate the Chinese cultural heritage behind it," he added.
In order to allow students to understand more about Chinese culture while practicing wushu, Shi will also tell students the Chinese names of the moves when he teaches them.
Over the past 20 years in the UK, Shi has been doing his best to spread Chinese culture through Kung Fu. He says his dream is "to let children and adults all over the world know about Chinese Kung Fu, so that they can understand more about Chinese culture".