Kung fu or waltz? Education ministry's proposal questioned

Updated: 2007-06-25 19:03

The educational authorities in central China's Henan Province, the recognized home of Shaolin Kung Fu, are considering rejecting the Ministry of Education's proposal to introduce the waltz to schools nationwide in favour of the traditional martial art.

The ministry announced earlier this month that the waltz, along with six other dances, would be introduced into primary and secondary schools across the country this September in an effort to enrich physical education and promote fitness among pupils.

Yet many teachers and parents in Henan Province said kung fu would be far more effective than dance, as resources are readily available and many children already have an appetite for Shaolin boxing.

"Martial arts will not just build up children's health, they can help promote our traditional culture, too," said Liu Guojun, an official in charge of education in the city of Dengfeng, where the 1,500-year-old Shaolin Temple is located.

Shaolin Kung fu was among the first 528 items of state-level intangible heritage published by the State Council last year.

Dengfeng, China's best-known home of Zen Buddhism and martial arts, has been promoting Shaolin Kung fu at nearly 20 primary and secondary schools since the end of 2004.

"It's been easy; many locals are familiar with Kung fu and good teachers are abundant in Dengfeng," Liu said. The local government said at least 200,000 people in Dengfeng practice Kung fu.

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