If you're a fan of Kung Fu or the martial arts films of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, you'll find plenty of action during your stay in Beijing.
Kung Fu, the Chinese martial art that blended the skills of self-defense, hunting and military training in ancient times, has been developed into a popular international sport also called wushu.
Modern Chinese martial arts usually concentrate on forms (or taolu in Chinese), which comprise basic movements, including stances, kicks, punches, jumps, sweeps and throws, which are mainly aimed at exhibitions and competitions, and often include more acrobatic jumps and movements.
Chinese martial arts heroes and heroines have been fascinating thousands of people all over the world with their performances on stage and screen.
Beijing offers many opportunities to enjoy wushu and even to learn some tai chi.
Kung Fu show [qqgfw]
More than 400 skilled students from Beijing Shaolin Martial Arts School are to perform Kung Fu at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games, but don't worry if you have no tickets.
Students in the school perform wushu at any time, allowing close views of forms and qigong (chi kung, practices that involve methods of accumulating, circulating and working with qi or energy within the body), two essential elements of Chinese martial arts.
You can ask your travel agency to contact the school directly if you are part of an interested group. The school will arrange special performances for a group (more than 10 people) for about 100 to 200 yuan (14 to 28 U.S. dollars) per person.
If you want to see the show alone or with two or three friends, you can also call the school for information on show times, and when you can enjoy it for free.
The school is in Huilongguan, Changping District, and the telephone number is 86-10-62715558.
"The Legend of Kung Fu", an 80-minute show playing every night in Beijing's Red Theater, tells how a small boy became a kung fu master after a series of trials. No speaking, only kung fu, dance and acrobatics. English subtitles explain the story.
The theater gives performances at 5:15 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. The price ranges from 180 yuan (26 USD) to 680 yuan (100 USD) based on the seating. The address is 44 Xingfu Dajie, Chongwen District, and the telephone number 86-10-67142473.