Feature: Chinese Martial Arts Grows in Popularity in Lithuania
As soon as the music sounded in the stadium, Adida in white started performing Taiji with such postures as Part the Wild Horse's Mane on Both Sides, White Crane Spreads its Wings, Brushing Knee and Twisting Step on Both Sides… Her precise control of every posture and motion won a round of applause. After the competition, she ran off the stage excitedly to cuddle and kiss her mother and her son who were cheering for her.
On Mar. 25th, the Third Lithuanian Open Wushu Championship was held in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. The competition attracted more than 150 competitors from countries including Lithuania, Latvia, Italy, Belarus, Norway, Russia, having the largest number of competitors in the previous competitions.
“I feel great! I have practiced martial arts for 8 years and Taiji is my focus. Now I get fitter and energetic, and this brings a lot of benefits to my job,” Adida, in her thirties, said when she was in an interview with the journalist from Xinhua News Agency. “Since I worked in finance sector, I have to sit in front of a computer all day long, so I was mentally and physically exhausted. It is Taiji that makes me know how to relax myself.”
In the opening ceremony, Liang Wenming, a martial arts teacher from the Confucius Institute at Vilnius University performed Taiji in a freely flowing style. Wang Xiyin, a local Chinese presented an aesthetic performance of Chen-style Taiji Fan, which brought the house down. Liu Jiwu, a volunteer from the Confucius Institute performed nine-section whip, which greatly attracted the audience.
This competition attracted contestants of all ages. The gold medalist of the event of Taiji push-hands was in his late fifties, and the youngest contestant was only six years old. Middle-aged and elderly martial arts amateurs preferred to exchange experience in Taiji competition, while young fellows gave full play to their abilities in Wing Chun, free combat and other combat sports. Children’s participation in the Wushu routine competition was a real eye-catcher. Wearing a serious look, every one of them earnestly did each posture. There were moments when they were as nimble as flying Chinese dragons and moments as quiet as contemplative Kungfu masters. They looked the same as Shaolin Kungfu kids except for skin and hair colors.
As the President of the Lithuanian Sports and Traditional Wushu Federation, the sponsor of the Championship, Thomas told the journalist that the scale of the Lithuanian Open Wushu Championship was expanding, which indicated that Chinese martial arts were gaining popularity and the profound and rich Chinese culture was increasingly accepted by the world.
Prof. Zhang Donghui, Chinese Director of the Confucius Institute at Vilnius University, the co-organizer of the champion, said that the cooperation between the Confucius Institute and local Taiji Association and Wushu Association revealed that people in Lithuania loved Chinese martial arts deeply, especially Taiji, which had become an important means for them to keep fit. The Confucius Institute opened special physical education classes to teach Chinese martial arts.
“We develop friendship through martial arts and exchange skills in these activities, which not only promote Chinese civilization but also enhance mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples.”
(Story by Guo Mingfang, Xinhua News Agency, Vilnius, Mar. 25th)