kung fu

Nuns from the Drukpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, better known as the "Kung Fu Nuns," have been named as finalists for the prestigious Václav Havel Human Rights Prize. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, which established the award in 2013, cited not only the nuns work promoting gender equality, environmental sustainability and intercultural tolerance but their teaching self defense to women across the Himalayas region as reasons for their nomination.

The order, which primarily lives and trains at Druk Amitabha Mountain Nunnery in Nepal, began practicing kung fu a decade ago as a means of empowerment and have since been active in the fight against human trafficking and in bringing pandemic relief aid to remote villages over the past year. The other two finalists for this year's prize, Loujain al-Hathloul of Saudi Arabia and Julienne Lusenge of the Democratic Republic of Congo, are also noted for their work promoting women's rights.

In the 1990s, when I started studying martial arts, classes started with traditional calisthenics and then stance training, which I deduced was an ancient form of torture devised especially for young men from the suburbs. There were lines of students holding low horse stances, breathing deep, relaxing their upper body, and focusing their minds to stay in the moment. It was great training. Years later, I was surprised to learn that stance training was a form of Qigong. Is it still Qigong if I don't know that it is? Yes.

There were lines of students holding low horse stances, breathing deep, relaxing their upper body, and focusing their minds to stay in the moment. It was great training. Years later, I was surprised to learn that stance training was a form of Qigong. Is it still Qigong if I don't know that it is? Yes.
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Xing Yi Quan is not a very well-known martial art, so it is always refreshing when I can find something new or different about it. While searching for any information I could find on Xing Yi Quan on YouTube, which I do pretty regularly, I came across an amazing short film. A lone man practicing the Xing Yi Five Element form on a roof top in the snow, intercut with the same man applying the techniques, with brutal effect, on multiple attackers.

Xing Yi Quan Short Film (Chinese Kung Fu vs. 5 Attackers) youtu.be

After watching the film, with his brilliantly illustrated use of the applications of the techniques in the form, it was clear that the star was a master of Xing Yi, and I wanted to find out more about his training and ideas. Thankfully, I was able to find him, Keith Min, and he was willing to speak with me and disclose some of his unique training methods.

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Henan University in China has reached an agreement with the famed Shaolin Temple to jointly offer an academic major in kung fu with a focus on attracting foreign students, though classes will still be held in Chinese. While academic degrees will be offered, the requirements for enrollment, what the curriculum will consist of and what requirements need to be met for graduation haven't been made public yet.

Reaction on social media to the announcement was reportedly mixed with some favoring the idea as a means of spreading Chinese martial arts around the world and others feeling it's simply an economically motivated stunt.