Foshan is the only city in China that has won the title of “the city of Chinese martial arts”.
Historically, in Foshan, there have been many martial artists with international influences such as Huang Feihong, Ye Wen, Bruce Lee, as well as martial arts groups such as Jingwu Association and Hongsheng Guan (clubhouse) which are well-known at home and abroad.
At present, there are 52 types of boxing in Foshan, including Cai Li Fo Quan (boxing), Hong Quan (boxing) and Wing Chun Quan (also known as Yong Chun boxing).
There are 297 registered martial arts gymnasiums and about 100000 people practise martial arts in the city.
Foshan’s martial arts has been spread to 176 countries and regions overseas, with more than 6000 boxing gymnasiums and more than 10 million people participating in Foshans culture.
Foshans plan for Kong Fu
Aiming at building a city of Kung Fu for the world, there are new development goals: By 2022, the population of people who practise martial arts will reach 600000, and the number of martial arts practitioners will exceed 10000.
An International Kung Fu Center that integrates industry, performance, competition, research, and tourism will be built in Foshan; one to two distinctive experimental areas for Kung Fu culture protection will be formed; at least four influential martial arts events will be held and last but not least, a complete Kungfu cultural tourism industry ecological chain will be built.
20 key projects for Kong Fu city
It is reported that there are 20 key projects to speed up the construction of “the city of Kung Fu in the world” in Foshan City, including the standardization construction of boxing categories and martial arts gymnasiums, the establishment of full-time martial arts schools and other projects of Kung Fu inheritance and popularization.
These preparations include:
The construction of Foshan International Kung Fu Center
Lingnan martial arts culture research centre of National Academy of martial arts
The development of Kung Fu tourism products and other projects of strengthening the foundation
The creation of Kung Fu Town
The production of Foshan Kung Fu themed film and television works
The selection of Foshan top ten historical Kung Fu celebrities,
The development of Kung Fu mobile games and other value-added communication projects.
After the plan was issued, it caused a heated discussion in Foshan’s martial arts circle and expressed expectations for the upcoming projects to be implemented. Foshan Lingnan Culture Research Institute and Foshan Martial Arts Association will dig into the rich Kung Fu resources in Foshan.
In addition, a Lingnan Martial Arts Culture Research Center will be built with the Martial Arts Research Institute of the General Administration of Sport of the People’s Republic of China to play a leading role in the demonstration of martial arts in this industry.
Foshans Kung Fu influencers
Mr. Ye Zhun
Long before the plan was issued, there had been Kung Fu lovers dedicated to passing on the Kung Fu spirit. For example, Mr. Ye Zhun, son of Mr. Ye Wen – the Wing Chun Legend.
Ye Zhun, who took the baton from his father and practised Wing Chun for nearly 60 years is now a 96-year-old man.
As the ever honorary chairman of the World Wing Chun Federation, he is still making every effort to promote Ye Wen Wing Chun, teaching Wing Chun boxing around the world.
Ye Zhun was awarded Academy Honorary Award of Martial Arts by the International Olympic Committee and now has Wing Chun disciples all over the world.
“I grew up in a Kung Fu family. As one of them, I tried to pass on the spirit of my father’s teaching of Wing Chun, hoping to continue to carry forward Wing Chun.”
After practising Wing Chun all his life, Ye Zhun’s character was influenced by it, down to earth but elegant.
The film “Ip Man” made based on the life story of his father, and Ye Zhun donated all the consultant fees he got from this movie for the development of his hometown.
Shishan is the birthplace of Ye Wen’s Wing Chun. Under the influence of Ye Zhun for many years, Shishan has built Memorial Hall and sports park, and Wing Chun elements are integrated into the radio exercises for students.
The locals started to practise Wing Chun as sports for health development. The roots of Wing Chun grew deeper and deeper here.
In 2010, Ye Zhun led 3167 Wing Chun lovers to demonstrate Wing Chun boxing in Shishan, setting a Guinness world record.
Today, the World Wing Chun boxing Competition attracts global enthusiasts to “feel the roots”. Now Ye Wen’ Wing Chun is going to the world from Foshan.
Culture is the soul of a nation. When being interviewed by a TV program, Ye Zhun once said Kung Fu has always been part of China’s culture. Every country, every people has their own excellent culture. Only by cultural exchange and communication with each other can we make greater progress.
The Ye Wen Memorial Hall
The Ye Wen Memorial Hall is located in Lianxing Village, Luocun, Shishan Town, Nanhai District, Foshan, Guangdong.
It covers an area of nearly 800 square meters. The museum was officially opened in 2012.
When you come to the memorial hall, you can not only recall Yewen’s old residence and imagine the daily life of the great master, but also learn many stories about Professor Ye Wen’s apprenticeship, practising Wing Chun, and the way he lived his life.
In addition to its function as a tourist attraction, Ye Wen Memorial is also served as a training base for Wing Chun. At present, many martial arts practice at home and abroad come to Foshan to study authentic Wing Chun.
Mr. Huang Zhenjiang
Another example is Mr. Huang Zhenjiang, the provincial intangible cultural heritage inheritor of Cai Li Fo boxing.
Huang Zhenjiang, 70, goes to the market early in the morning to buy vegetables, then goes home to cook and look after his grandchildren, which is no different from the ordinary retired elderly, but on the weekend evening, he puts on traditional practice clothes and goes to Cai Li Fo Hong Sheng Guan, where dozens of students would respectfully call him Curator Huang.
Foshan Hongsheng Guan is one of the earliest martial arts organizations that went outside China.
Huang Zhenjiang got in touch with Cai Li Fo boxing because his grandfather told him the chivalrous stories of Cai Li Fo boxing masters when he was a child.
At the age of 17, he begged his grandfather to help him find a Cai Li Fo boxing master so he could learn. Huang Zhenjiang started with the very basic stuff and practised for 3 hours every night.
In the 1970s, materials were still scarce. Huang Zhenjiang was reluctant to wear shoes to practice Kung Fu, so he went barefoot to practice. He studied so hard that he ruined the floor tiles at home.
After his hard work, he became very good at it. He was invited later to teach in the Foshan Hongsheng Guan and got recommended to be a curator in the second year. He took the job. Time flew. Now it’s been 20 years.
Hongsheng Guan rules in Foshan
When Mr. Zhang Yan first founded the Hongsheng Guan in Foshan, he set a rule that Cai Li Fo boxing must never be taught to government officials, bullies or rogues. Because of this rule, Huang Zhenjiang requires students to first have martial virtues and refuses to teach those who have wrong intentions. “Some say ‘we want to learn the most powerful moves for fighting’. We don’t teach them. Virtues are important. We do not learn Kung Fu to provoke someone. We must integrate morals into boxing.”
Foshan Hongsheng Guan is the original clubhouse recognized by the Cai Li Fo boxing disciples in the world. Every year, disciples from all over the country and all over the world return to Hongsheng Guan to recall the past.
Today, Cai Li Fo boxing has spread in more than 50 countries around the world, with more than 10 million students from all over the world. It is a major school of martial arts in the world.
Wing Chun and communication
One time, it was seen that a Wing Chun master who opened a martial arts school in the UK came to Hongsheng Guan with his apprentices, but instead of challenging each other, it was about closely studying and talking about moves.
It turned out that they had known each other for more than ten years and they often communicate with each other.
Curator Huang also generously taught some special moves of Cai Li Fo boxing to the Wing Chun master’s apprentices. In their view, Foshan, as a city of martial arts, means that all schools Kung Fu can communicate with one another and make progress.
The main goal is to inherit and carry forward the Kung Fu culture.
Although Cai Li Fo boxing is spreading, Huang Zhenjiang still encourages more innovative development, so that Cai Li Fo boxing can enter the life of modern people.
In Huang Zhenjiang’s eyes, the Foshan Cai Li Fo Hongsheng Guan inherited not only martial arts but also the services to the public. “These are the things our ancestors have accumulated through thousands of years of experience and lessons learned, and it is, of course, good to carry it forward.”
Children and Cai li Fo
Curator Huang tells the parents who want to bring their children to learn Cai Li Fo boxing that in the beginning, the kids can start by learning two sets of boxing with no time limit, and takes a symbolic charge of only 100 yuan. Curator Huang says that low tuition fee is the tradition of Cai Li Fo boxing and one of the reasons for a large number of students. He hopes that more people can participate in the learning and inheritance of Cai Li Fo boxing. This is actually a kind of affordable and interesting way of fitness for the public. Kung fu is addictive, so many children will keep practising.
Kung Fu and traditional healing
In addition, Cai Li Fo disciples also apply traditional Kung Fu to the treatment of lumbar vertebrae, cervical vertebrae, and sprains, and for many years insisted on giving medicine to the public in the community. It’s really good to have these Kung Fu masters around.
Living in this city, people can practice martial arts and strengthen the body, when their body feels sore, they can ask the masters to help as well.
Kung Fu is more than physical movements. It also builds characters and contains an understanding of life. Let’s hope such a distinctive culture can continue to be inherited and develop.