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Kung fu helps kick-start careers in assertive way


Kung fu helps kick-start careers in assertive way

Young people from across China come to study kung fu at Shaolin Temple during the summer holiday. [Photo/China Daily]

Corporates use martial arts skills to gain competitive business edge

Back when he was a poor migrant worker sleeping in railway stations and under bridges, Lin Min had one unlikely skill he relied upon to survive and build a business empire.

As a young man, Lin had studied Shaolin-style wushu, or martial arts.

The former kung fu kid-turned boardroom bigwig single-handedly created a business from scratch that now has annual turnover of 500 million yuan ($81 million). He is among a group of financially successful Chinese who say their martial arts skills helped them fight their way to the top professionally.

More than just fodder for Hong Kong and Hollywood movies with millions of fans globally, martial arts in China is making millionaires.

Li Yang, founder of the Crazy English education brand, which uses a shouting technique to help Chinese students learn, is the latest in a string of high-profile businesspeople and celebrities to become disciples of Shi Yongxin, the abbot of Shaolin Temple.

Cryptically, Li is reported to have said the move was pivotal to the future of his business, which has already netted him a big fortune.

Western professionals, who are looking for an extra edge, also are starting to jump on the corporate kung fu bandwagon. Executives from US tech giants Google and Apple were among those who received abbot Shi's wushu wisdom this year. Other foreigners from a range of backgrounds are making the pilgrimage to study under martial arts masters across China.

Danish corporate social responsibility consultant Pernille Son Paulsen, 32, says the skills she's learning at the Beijing Scientific Ving Tsun School are transferable. "Martial arts help you develop a kind of assertiveness that also helps you in your professional life," she says.

Other foreigners, such as Clive Parkinson from the United Kingdom, have turned kung fu into their business.

The 59-year-old former kung fu world champion, who studied martial arts in the south of China for two years, began his first training school in the United Kingdom in Birmingham 30 years ago. He now has several clubs in various British cities and has trained more than 4,000 students.

"I do make a profit from my classes," he says. "I do both one-to-one teaching and group teaching.

"Chinese kung fu makes me a better person. You gain better confidence in yourself."

Lin, the former migrant worker who is now chairman of the Jiangxi Dehe Group, was born in a small village of Quanzhou in Fujian province. The self-described naughty boy performed poorly in school.

In 1990, when he was 16, the avid Bruce Lee fan began learning kung fu after enrolling at a martial-arts-focused school belonging to the Zhengzhou Shaolin Tagou Education Group, situated in a mountainous area near Songshan mountain in the western part of Henan province.

The two years he spent there were hard.

Kung fu helps kick-start careers in assertive way

Kung fu helps kick-start careers in assertive way

Shaolin develops kung fu games Foreigners pursue kung fu dream in Henan 

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