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China: Around The Nation

China’s Shaolin Temple welcomes 116 kung fu masters for grand gathering

Marital artists will compete in four disciplines as well as attend discussions on Zen Buddhism

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 July, 2017, 1:15pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 July, 2017, 4:03pm

A week-long international martial arts competition got under way at the world-famous Shaolin Temple in central China on Saturday, mainland media reported.

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The event is the first ever “grand gathering” to be held at the 1,500-year-old temple in Dengfeng, Henan province, which many regard as the birthplace of kung fu, news portal Thepaper.cn reported on Saturday.

A total of 116 martial artists from across China and around the world will take part in a series of contests across four disciplines, the report said.

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These will include demonstrations of the two finger skill, in which practitioners demonstrate their inner strength by doing handstands and press-ups using just two fingers of each hand.

Others participants will pit their abilities against one another in stone lock lifting and knife throwing, while the only woman taking part in the event – a martial artist from Japan, who was not named – is expected to demonstrate her iron palm skill by breaking bricks and wooden boards with her bare hands, the report said.

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According to Shi Yongxin, the temple’s head abbot, the event is not all about martial arts, however.

“We want to tap into our traditional culture with this gathering,” he was quoted as saying.

“Martial arts is not only about sport, it is more about culture and the spirit,” he said.

A series of talks on Zen Buddhism, as well as Go competitions will be held alongside the martial arts demonstrations, the report said.