|Lang Rongbiao, founder of the Tianjin Huo Yuanjia Wushu Sports School, demonstrates his kung fu stunts for students at the school. (China Daily)|
The owner of one of China's top martial arts schools tells Chen Nan why the school is guided by the legacy of the legendary Huo Yuanjia, whose life remains an inspiration for young practitioners of the ancient skill.
In the final scene of the movie, Fearless, Jet Li, who plays Huo Yuanjia, one of China's historical heroes and wushu (martial arts) master, wins a Shanghai tournament by beating four international champions, his feat raising the spirits of his countrymen.
The scene is a favorite of Lang Rongbiao, a wushu master based in Tianjin.
Unlike the movie, which takes some liberties when recounting the life story of Huo, who lived from 1868 to 1910, Lang wants to pass on the true spirit of the martial arts to younger Chinese by running a wushu school, named after Huo.
Founded in 1999 in Xiaonanhe village in Jingwu county, Tianjin, where Huo was born, the school has nearly 2,000 students from around China. Lang has trained them up to perform around the world.
"The movie is fictional but what we are doing is real," says Lang, 44, who started learning wushu at age 11. "I want to keep the wushu spirit of Huo alive among China's younger generation."
He says he wants to teach his students not just China's wushu skills but Huo's wushu spiritual values.
"Chinese kung fu is very popular around the world. Movie stars like Bruce Lee, Jet Li and Jackie Chan are unbeatable on screen. But wushu or kung fu is never about beating up somebody. Instead, it contains the message of telling people to stop fighting," says Lang.
In their upcoming show in Turkmenistan, 40 students from Tianjin Huo Yuanjia Wushu Sports School will give five performances, including a general display of Chinese kung fu, a combination of practicing sword skills while playing the traditional Chinese flute xiao and a group performance by national award-winning wushu performers, showing the skills and philosophy of the art form.
"In our teachings, we tell the students that violence is not a solution. Wushu is a sport of power and balance, which requires a peaceful mind and heart," Lang says.
Growing up in Tianjin, Lang watched lots of kung fu movies, such as Huo Yuanjia and Shaolin Temple. He started learning wushu with his uncle, who was a professional wushu athlete. When Lang was 13, Tianjin founded a wushu team and he became a member.