Martial arts aerobics booming on NW China campuses

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11-year-old Li Haoyang, standing at the front of the queue, leads his classmates to do martial arts aerobics with punches and kicks accompanied by music.

Li is a fourth grader at Yucai School in Baiyin City of northwest China's Gansu Province. This form of martial arts aerobics combines gymnastics with traditional Chinese martial arts routines, and was created by the school's teachers this semester.

Teachers and students line up for martial arts aerobics every morning during break, gradually becoming one of the favorite sports on campus.

Zeng Fengyang, a physical education teacher at Yucai School, has created new martial arts aerobics routines since last year.

"The purpose of developing martial arts aerobics is to improve children's mental outlook and physical fitness," said Zeng, adding that different martial arts routines were considered in the design of movements.

He Penghui, a fourth grader at Yucai School, said that he became more energetic in class after practicing martial arts aerobics.

"I feel more energized, and my parents also support me to practice," he said.

The aerobics has also turned many students into martial arts fans.

According to Lin Yuqian, another PE teacher at Yucai School, teachers tell students the history of martial arts and the origins of some movements while teaching them.

Lin says that martial arts aerobics can not only help students understand the spirit of Chinese martial arts, but also enhance their overall quality.

Student Li Haoyang said he always continued to practice martial arts aerobics after school. "When I greet my parents and teachers, I often use the martial arts clasp salute," said the boy.

Hu Lanfang, vice principal of Yucai School, said it took around two weeks for the school's over 3,000 primary students to master the movements of martial arts aerobics.

Sports like martial arts aerobics have not only helped the children gain confidence, but has also improved their physical condition, according to Hu.

"Many parents told me that their children started to practice martial arts aerobics instead of playing with their phones and tablets after school," Hu said.

Statistics from the Baiyin District Education Bureau showed that sports and other activities offered during the compulsory education period have benefited over 30,000 local students.

In addition to Baiyin, many cities in Gansu have also introduced martial arts sports activities.

Li Deyin, head of Gansu Wu Zhiyun Martial Arts Club, stated that the club has engaged over 12,000 students in martial arts from over 20 primary and high schools in the city of Lanzhou.

Various martial arts activities have also attracted young students to participate in many other regions, such as Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region and Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in northwest China.

In Ningxia, martial arts aerobics competitions among primary and high school students at all levels have enriched the campus martial arts atmosphere. In Xinjiang, different campus martial arts aerobics competitions are popular among teachers and students.

"Campus sports like martial arts aerobics play a positive role in promoting Chinese martial arts and inheriting Chinese culture for children," said Li Deyin. 

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