Filipino martial art growing in China

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A Filipino martial art form which emphasizes fighting using weapons such as sticks is said to be making inroads into China.

More than a dozen gyms in Beijing have launched courses training Arnis.

At the same time, amateur Arnis training programs have also sprouted in a number of other cities including Shanghai, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Lanzhou and Yangzhou.

Photo shows Rhio, a veteran Arnis practitioner, teaching a student Arnis skills at a gym in Beijing. [Photo:]

Olea, a Philippine national who is credited with first introducing the fighting style to Beijing, says the experience of teaching Arnis in China helps him better understand Chinese people.

Arnis combines Philippine original fighting skills and certian skills imparted by Spanish colonialists who ruled the country from the 16th century to the late 19th century.

Arnis professionals say the technique is designed to win a fight quickly. Practitioners are encouraged to use any available stick-like items, such as umbrellas, as weapons.

Photo shows Rhio, a veteran Arnis practitioner, teaching a student Arnis skills at a gym in Beijing. [Photo:]

Imported fighting skills such as taekwondo, boxing and judo are growing in popularity among young Chinese people, many of whom want to try something different from traditional Chinese martial arts, or Wushu.

A sense of mistrust of Wushu techniques has arisen after Xu Xiaodong, a Beijing-based amateur MMA fighter, knocked out a self-proclaimed Taiji master within 20 seconds in a high-profile freestyle fight in Chengdu in April, 2017.

Xu Xiaodong has since been publically criticized by the government-backed China Wushu Association due to his anti-Wushu rhetoric. He has since stayed out of limelight.

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