Say 'wine', comes 'French'; say 'chocolate', comes 'Switzerland'; say 'martial arts'; comes 'China'. Such is the effect of the popular cult and myth associated with some particular phenomenas on earth that credits some places with almost a patent authority, unofficial though.
China with an elaborate history of cultural richness and modern day development has carved a niche for itself in the global tourism map. The reasons for a vacation in China can cover a lot of paper work and itineraries, but to do an art or skill based tour of the country would perhaps add a new angle. And what better than the martial arts?
Be it the connectivity of the present world or the impact of the action movies(remember names like Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan and Jet Li?), the name of Shaolin is not foreign to majority of us. A temple in nature and a martial art hub in perception, Shaolin is home to the much popular Kung-fu. A fine example of a well cultivated martial art, Kung-fu involves both attack and defence modes with props like sticks, spears, swords and some mind blowing physical activity. It is a real treat to see the students practicing the fascinating moves in the temple premise.
Explore the essence of another kind of combat art. This one is a bequest of Taoism, the native religion of China and known as the Wudang martial arts. See and wonder at the amazing art of strengthening the bones and muscles with a holistic internal cultivation. Among the various forms of this school of martial arts the most populars are - bare-hand fighting, shadow boxing, Wuji boxing. Notice the swords used in Wudang style that are very much respected by the practitioners.
Apparently we might get the feeling that what we see about the Chinese martial arts in the movies or in the educational TV channels are all about them. But, the experience is turned up side down when you spend some days with the students and the masters of this great art of combat. Give the Great Wall a break this time, just visit the martial arts centres of China.