The excitement appeared to be even greater as a professional coaching team from China was teaching traditional Chinese sports at the school for two days.
The team including five coaches came from the Chinese Leisure Sports Administrative Center. It’s the first time they came to the United States to teach traditional Chinese sports. The two-day program mainly focused on three sports: dragon and lion dance, Chinese folk dance (Yangge) and Taiji softball (Rouliqiu).
“All the students, both adults and children, are having so much fun,” Wang Wei, head coach at Wushu Unlimited martial arts school, said, smiling. “They can learn something while having fun. They will experience the Chinese culture and also have a good workout.”
Wang Wei, who also has experience teaching Wushu at California State University Fullerton (CSUF) on a weekly basis, said Americans were familiar with the dragon and lion dance, as well as Chinese folk dances.
“It is the thing I saw a lot in China, and sometimes here in the U.S.,” Jennifer Johnson, co-founder of Wushu Unlimited, said. “It is really a thrill for all of us to have this class here.”
Nevertheless, it was the first time that Taiji softball was introduced to the local community.
“Taiji softball is a new sport which combines tennis skills and the principles of Taiji Quan,” Wang Yulong, deputy director at the Chinese Leisure Sports Administrative Center, said. “We want to introduce this sport to the Chinese community here as well as to our American friends.”
“It is very special and different,” Henry said, adding that he enjoyed learning Taiji softball. “You move the paddle like in the shape of a U, I do not think you can do that with a tennis racket.”
“My mom came to the Taiji softball class yesterday,” Johnson told Xinhua. “I can not get her to come to our regular Taiji class here, but she did the ball and she really likes it.”
The coaching team from China only stayed in Los Angeles for three days, but donated a dragon for dances, fans for the Yangge dance and Taiji softball sets to the school.
“We can continue to practice after they leave,” Wang Wei said. “But we are working on some programs so that hopefully they can come here annually and teach some classes.”
With over 100 students, Wushu Unlimited martial arts school is the largest one of its kind in the city.
“I started a couple weeks ago,” 6-year-old Ella Garlett said. She added that girls can also do Wushu, which would make them stronger.
“I learn punching, kick overs and splits,” Sagan Rapp, an 8-year-old boy who has been learning Wushu for more than two years, said. “We play fun games,too.”
A third of the students at the school are Asian, the rest are either Caucasian or from mixed-race families, Wang Wei said.
“They all love Chinese Kongfu, their parents too,” Wang Wei said. “They learn Wushu here, learn about the Chinese culture. At the same time they build up a strong sense of confidence. They learn to be respectful to others. They really enjoy it and work very hard.” – Xinhua
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