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Shaolin won't attend Wushu Tournament 2008
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The Shaolin Temple, the legendary Kung Fu shrine, will not be part of the Chinese team for the Wushu Tournament Beijing 2008, the monastery said in Zhengzhou on Tuesday.

"We did not receive any notice or invitation to send our monks to the tournament," confirmed Shi Yanlu, the chief drillmaster of the temple's warrior monks.

The Wushu Tournament Beijing 2008 will be held from Aug. 21-24 jointly sponsored by the Beijing Organizing Committee of the 29th Olympic Games and the International Wushu Federation (IWF). There will be 128 male and female athletes from 43 countries and regions world-wide.

"We will not attend the tournament because of qualification problems," said abbot Shi Yongxin.

The athletes to attend the tournament have to be the top six winners of taolu events and top eight winners of sanshou events in the Ninth World Wushu Championships in 2007. In addition, there will be 20 wild card holders approved by the IWF.

According to the China General Administration of Sport, the Chinese team will have eight athletes. Three men and three women will attend the taolu events and one man and one woman will compete in the sanshou events.

Modern wushu is composed of taolu, or forms, and sanshou, or sparring. Taolu events are similar to gymnastics and involve martial art patterns and maneuvers, for instance, Tai Chi Quan and sword performance. Sanshou is a fighting method with all the combat aspects of wushu, somewhat like kickboxing.

"Even without the qualification rules, monks are less likely to attend the tournament because Shaolin martial arts are different from what athletes do when competing in the sports field," Shi Yongxin said.

The temple in central Henan Province was founded in 495 AD. Ancient martial arts documents kept there record 708 patterns of martial art.

The temple is also the shrine of Chan Buddhism, a distinct school developed from Mahayana Buddhist thought and local Chinese traditions, particularly Taoism.

(Xinhua News Agency August 19, 2008)

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