Martial arts play role in rural revitalization
Zhang Hexian, a 98-year-old martial arts master, interacts with expats at a martial arts competition held in Zhangkeng village in Ninghai county, Ningbo, East China's Zhejiang province on June 12. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]
A martial arts competition was held in Zhangkeng village in Ninghai county, Ningbo, East China's Zhejiang province on June 12, as part of a program combining rural revitalization and art.
Zhangkeng village has a 500-year history of traditional martial arts, with many of its more than 1,800 residents practicing hong boxing and lion dancing.
In an effort to bring about rural revitalization through art, Chen Qingjun, a professor at Donghua University in Shanghai, visited the village with his students in May, where they started a program to design an intellectual property (IP) based on martial arts. They sought to turn the village into an IP unit called "kung fu Zhangkeng" and encouraged local villagers to participate. The martial arts competition was an important part of the program.
The event attracted more than 500 people, including martial arts masters and expats. Ninety-eight-year-old Zhang Hexian, who has been practicing martial arts since childhood, served as the competition's chief referee. Zhang found fame as "kung fu granny" on Chinese social media in 2017, when she attended a martial arts competition held in Zhangkeng at the age of 94.
"Kung fu Zhangkeng" blind boxes made by Lin Junhua, an artisan from the village, were launched during the competition. The boxes, wrapped in blue cloth, contain various small wooden weapons and kung fu dolls.
Weaponry shops were also built in villagers' homes to serve as workshops for visitors interested in making wooden weapons as well as a research and development bases and storefronts for "kung fu Zhangkeng" products.
Children try out some archery at a martial arts competition held in Zhangkeng village in Ninghai county, Ningbo, East China's Zhejiang province on June 12. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]