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Shaolin soccer becomes a reality in Henan province

By QI XIN (China Daily) Updated: 2015-11-12 08:39 Comments

Shaolin soccer becomes a reality in Henan province

Students perform Kung Fu at the opening ceremony of the Shaolin soccer training base for teenagers in Central China’s Henan province on November 10, 2015. [Photo/Asianewsphoto]

A soccer training center for teenagers opened on Tuesday at a martial arts school in Dengfeng, Henan province.

The move brings to real life the Stephen Chow film Shaolin Soccer, a hit comedy about a group of monks from Shaolin Temple who form a dynamic football team.

Liu Haiqin, headmaster of the Shaolin Tagou Martial Arts School, one of the biggest kung fu schools in China, said it was good to promote the popularity of Chinese soccer, especially among youth.

In March, the State Council issued a guideline for the reform and development of the Chinese soccer industry.

The martial arts training course focuses on children aged 10 to 12 years.

Organizers expect to enroll 100 students in two classes, one for boys and one for girls.

Candidates include the nearly 30,000 students at the school, Liu said.

The willpower, motivation and courage emphasized in the martial arts will also be stressed in soccer training, he said.

"Their principles are similar. They both aim to build power with both defensive and offensive capabilities," Liu said.

Zhang Guiyi, a soccer fan, said the new form of the game may mix the martial arts with soccer, but he doubts it will become a cradle for professional players because soccer involves competition, not performance in the field.

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