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:
Yoga lovers practice yoga and Shaolin students perform martial arts along a cliff walkway on Songshan Mountain during the 2018 Shaolin Martial Arts General Assembly in Dengfeng city, Central China's #Henan province, on August 25 pic.twitter.com/4twTRu4q5V— People's Daily, China (@PDChina) August 27, 2018
Yoga lovers practice yoga and Shaolin students perform martial arts along a cliff walkway on Songshan Mountain during the 2018 Shaolin Martial Arts General Assembly in Dengfeng city, Central China's #Henan province, on August 25 pic.twitter.com/4twTRu4q5V
— People's Daily, China (@PDChina) August 27, 2018
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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