Siblings teach traditional Chinese Kungfu for 30 years

(People's Daily Online) 11:26, February 21, 2023

Two practitioners of Bajiquan, a traditional Chinese Kungfu, have offered free lessons for over 30 years in Mengcun Hui Autonomous County, north China’s Hebei Province. 

Zhang Feng instructs students in Mengcun Hui Autonomous County, north China’s Hebei Province. (Chinanews.com/Yang Yang)

The two practitioners, Zhang Feng and Zhang Mei, are siblings. Zhang Feng is the ninth-generation inheritor of Bajiquan. He took up Bajiquan training at the age of 6, and started studying under Bajiquan master Li Junyi at the age of 11. His younger sister Zhang Mei also learned Bajiquan from Li. After decades of practicing Bajiquan, they have become the new generation of Bajiquan inheritors.

According to historical records, Bajiquan dates back to the reigns of Kangxi (1662-1722) and Yongzheng (1722-1735), emperors of the Qing Dynasty. For over 300 years, Bajiquan has spread around the country, and some branches of Bajiquan have reached overseas. Bajiquan was listed as a national intangible cultural heritage on June 7, 2008.

Children practice Bajiquan in Mengcun Hui Autonomous County, in north China’s Hebei Province. (Chinanews.com/Yang Yang)

Since 1991, Zhang Feng has been offering daily lessons at a square in Mengcun Hui Autonomous County at 5:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. respectively. To date, he has trained over 2,600 students.

“At that time, practitioners of Bajiquan were dispersed, and children had little access to learn Bajiquan. I wanted the children to have a fixed training spot for systemic training,” Zhang Feng explained in offering Bajiquan lessons.

Zhang Feng and Zhang Mei teach children Bajiquan in Mengcun Hui Autonomous County, north China’s Hebei Province. (Chinanews.com/Yang Yang)

Complementing her brother’s dedication to Bajiquan, Zhang Mei offers live online courses on Chinese social media platforms Kuaishou, Douyin and WeChat. She has attracted over 600,000 followers on these platforms.

“We learned Bajiquan when we were children. By showing the elegance of Bajiquan, we would like to attract more people to learn and practice the martial art, and help them strengthen their physique and temper their willpower,” said Zhang Mei.

Zhang Mei teaches Bajiquan at a live-streaming session. (Chinanews.com/Yang Yang)

The siblings think virtues are more important than martial arts expertise. “My master once taught me that virtues come before fighting skills. Martial arts are a combination of strength and brainpower. We must let children know how to build their values and become righteous people,” said Zhang Feng. 

Zhang Mei adjusts a student’s gestures, in Mengcun Hui Autonomous County, north China’s Hebei Province. (Chinanews.com/Yang Yang)

(Web editor: Tian Yi, Du Mingming)


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