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Daily Drip

African Nations Pull Up in Force to Shaolin Kung Fu General Assembly

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The Shaolin Temple just closed out its 2018 Shaolin Martial Arts General Assembly, and well damn, African nations came through.

Twenty-two trainees from seven African countries — Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Burundi, Mali, Djibouti, and the Central African Republic — spent three months at the temple as participants in the Ministry of Culture’s sixth African student exchange program. The class studied empty-handed Shaolin kung fu, plus sword and staff techniques. At the end of the training period students performed what they’d learned for the temple’s abbot, and received certificates of completion.

Full disclosure, this writer happened to be at the temple while the African exchange unit was there training, and can confirm, they were doing some serious stuff. Tourists from across China watched with confusion and pleasant surprise .

“We came empty-handed but finished full of enthusiasm,” one participant said. “We’re really excited to be ambassadors of Chinese culture, and to share what we learned at the temple with people back home.”

The abbot Shi Yongxin, international media’s notorious “CEO monk”, had a more put-together statement to make:

The Shaolin Temple is committed to supporting China-Africa ties, cultivating the friendship between Chinese and African people, and pushing forward on cultural exchange and cooperation between China and Africa.

Outside of the African class, other foreigners and kung fu fans made the trip out for the occasion. People’s Daily was quick to seize a photo op on Twitter:

As time marches on, and the world around us changes, we can all take comfort knowing that foreigners will continue to flock to the Shaolin Temple with shocking consistency.

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Adan Kohnhorst
Adan Kohnhorst is a Shanghai-based writer, producer, and multimedia artist, and the Associate Editor at RADII. His work has been featured in publications such as Maxim and the Chinese-language StreetVoice, and he’s an active member of the hip-hop and DIY music scenes in Shanghai, NYC, and Dallas. He learned Mandarin in high school so he could train at the Shaolin Temple, but now just uses it to interview rappers.