Young wushu exponent on a mission

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 March, 2000, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 March, 2000, 12:00am

Up-and-coming wushu performer To Yu-hang hopes to follow in the footsteps of kung-fu star Jet Li Lienjie, to promote wushu worldwide.

To, a home-grown wushu performer, won the Asian Youth Wushu Championship in the boys' sword category and the gold medal in the men's changquan at the fifth World Wushu Championships last year. He was also ranked sixth and fourth in the men's daoshu and gunshu at the same championship.

The 19-year-old wushu star said he was inspired by Li's outstanding display of skills in the movie, Shaolin Temple .

'When I first saw him in the movie, I was astonished by his perfect manoeuvres and I wondered how he could produce such energy. Before starring in the movie, Li had won many wushu championships. He had kept on practising to perfect his drills. His hard work demonstrated what a good sportsman he was.' To said, to him, wushu was more than a sport which boosted physical fitness.

It also enabled him to better understand Chinese Culture.

'My coach told me that wushu names for fist and weapon routines derived from the names of animals.

Wushu also had a close relationship with the Chinese culture, he said.

'When you perform wushu on stage, you have to wear Chinese costumes,' he said.

To did not consider wushu an offensive sport.

'I have been taught that wushu is a martial art used primarily for defensive purposes. Wushu is a combination of energy and timing. It requires a great deal of time and effort to become an expert.' Though he had achieved top honours in wushu last year, To said, he hoped to do better this year at international com petitions which would help him promote wushu worldwide.

He expects to win titles at the Asian Wushu Championships in November and hopes the Olympics Games will have wushu as one of the official sports.

To prepare himself for the championships to be held in Vietnam, he undergoes four hours of training every day at the Sports Institute.

He has also been assigned to undergo training in the mainland to learn more techniques from mainland wushu experts.

He said that one should start learning wushu at a young age.

Beginners should learn me thodically to lay a good foundation, he said.

'Wushu is a sport for everyone.

'It's not meant only for young people. Even old people can try wushu. It's not expensive,'he said.

Commenting on the local de velopment of wushu, he said Hong Kong should do more promotional work to boost its popularity.

'In Hong Kong, most people only know its basic fist routine, such as nanquan. They don't know other weapon routines using the sabre and the cudgel.' Hong Kong should do more to promote the sport as people lack a proper understanding