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Tra­di­tional mar­tial arts in­clud­ing tai chi gain pop­u­lar­ity in Ro­ma­nia

BUCHAREST — A park be­came paradise for Chi­nese mar­tial arts lovers on Satur­day, with the eye-catch­ing “World Wushu-Kung Fu Day” ban­ner flut­ter­ing in the light breeze.

On the wide green lawn in King Mi­hai I Park, there were prac­ti­tion­ers of both Yang-style and Chen-style tai chi, as well as those of Changquan, Nan­quan, Shaolin and Wu­dang.

Young and mid­dle-aged peo­ple made up the bulk of those tak­ing part, but there were also many re­tired and el­derly.

Groups of chil­dren with Chi­nese-style kung fu T-shirts ran in the sun­shine and posed in var­i­ous mar­tial arts moves. The scene at­tracted the at­ten­tion of pass­ing pedes­tri­ans, many peo­ple stop­ping to watch and take pic­tures.

Petru Grindeanu, sec­re­tary­gen­eral of the Ro­ma­nian Mar­tial Arts Fed­er­a­tion, said that the Chi­nese mar­tial arts are be­com­ing in­creas­ingly pop­u­lar in Ro­ma­nia. Peo­ple have a new un­der­stand­ing of kung fu and an in­creas­ing num­ber of lo­cals are tak­ing up mar­tial arts, es­pe­cially af­ter the sport was in­cluded in the Olympic Games.

Satur­day was the first World Wushu-Kung Fu Day and the pur­pose of the event in Bucharest was to let more peo­ple know about the Chi­nese mar­tial arts, he added.

Ion Be­nea, pres­i­dent of the fed­er­a­tion, said peo­ple are be­gin­ning to re­al­ize the ben­e­fits of prac­tic­ing tai chi, or Tai­ji­quan, an an­cient Chi­nese mar­tial art, es­pe­cially the vast ma­jor­ity of re­tirees.

“To this end, the fed­er­a­tion de­cided to teach tai chi free of charge at ma­jor parks in Bucharest on a reg­u­lar ba­sis,” Be­nea said.

He said that many el­derly peo­ple think that slow-mov­ing tai chi is a sport that is very suit­able for them and is very healthy.

Founded in 1990, the Ro­ma­nian Mar­tial Arts Fed­er­a­tion cur­rently has 40 clubs across the coun­try, with some 2,500 mem­bers. Ac­cord­ing to the as­so­ci­a­tion, more than 5,000 peo­ple in the coun­try prac­tice Chi­nese mar­tial arts reg­u­larly.

Some of the coaches of the clubs have learned mar­tial arts with their masters in Ro­ma­nia, while many oth­ers re­turned from China af­ter com­plet­ing var­i­ous tu­to­ri­als there.

Rox­ana Vladut, who has prac­ticed mar­tial arts for 20 years, said: “Many of the coaches present to­day are all ap­pren­tices of Master Zhu.”

Ac­cord­ing to her, Zhu Rongfu, a mar­tial arts prac­ti­tioner from Shang­hai, set up the Shang­hai Mar­tial Arts Club in Bucharest many years ago, train­ing a large num­ber of mar­tial arts dis­ci­ples.

She was one of them. Un­der the train­ing of Master Zhu, Vladut won the sec­ond place in mar­tial arts and third place in tai chi in the World Tra­di­tional Wushu Cham­pi­onships held last year in Emei Moun­tain, China, and won the third place in tai chi in the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onships held in Moscow this year.

CHEN JIN / XIN­HUA

Peo­ple take part in the first World Wushu-Kung Fu Day in King Mi­hai I Park in Bucharest, Ro­ma­nia, on Satur­day.

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