Bangladesh is obsessed with Chinese traditional 'wushu'

( Xinhua ) Updated: 2017-12-02 10:06:34

DHAKA-Considered a living legend, Alamgir Shah Bhuiyan, is the highest ranking wushu master in Bangladesh.

Today's Grand Master Bhuiyan began full-time wushu training at the age of 13, nearly four decades ago, when he was an eighth grade student at the Motijheel Government Boys' High School in the capital city of Dhaka.

Bhuiyan, who was then a Kung Fu practitioner, one day in 1980 saw a picture of martial arts on the back page of a Chinese sports magazine inscribed with the word wushu, which at the time was unknown to him as well as many other athletes here.

Out of curiosity he had tried to learn more about wushu and finally he came to know that wushu is also a martial art and a full-contact sport derived from traditional Chinese martial arts.

"Through magazines back then I had then learned four or five wushu styles," Bhuiyan told Xinhua recently.

Five years later, he said, five Chinese wushu masters visited Dhaka.

"At that time I had the opportunity to learn more wushu styles from them for two or three weeks," he reminisced.

Bhuiyan, of his own initiative in 1986, opened Bangladesh's first Shaolin Wushu School to teach the national sport of China, which is both an exhibition sport (taolu) and a full-contact sport (sanda/sanshou).

Bhuiyan said that wushu is now being practiced almost everywhere in Bangladesh.

"There are more than 100,000 wushu practitioners in the whole of Bangladesh thanks to the government of China for its continuous support in developing quality Bangladesh wushu players."

"We have more than 100 wushu practitioners of international standard who are capable of winning competitions abroad."

Bhuiyan went on to explain that the Bangladeshi government has also supported various efforts to promote wushu as a sport in Bangladesh.

As part of such efforts, in 2007 the Bangladesh Wushu Association, an approved body of Bangladesh's National Sports Council, was founded to promote wushu in the country.

"Wushu is now being practiced in 40 out of 64 districts in Bangladesh," said Bhuiyan, who is also general secretary of Bangladesh Wushu Association.

The association on Monday, along with Dhaka's Shanto-Mariam CRI Confucius Classroom, organized the "Ambassador Cup China-Bangladesh Wushu Demonstration-2017" under the sponsorship of the Chinese Embassy in Dhaka.

Bangladeshi State Minister for Youth and Sports, Biren Sikdar, as the chief guest witnessed the martial arts demonstration while Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh, Ma Mingqiang, as the special guest attended the event with Abdus Sobhan Golap, special assistant to Bangladeshi prime minister, in the chair.

Ma said China will continue its support for the development of wushu in Bangladesh and announced a donation of 500,000 rmb (about $75,900) for wushu development in Bangladesh while pledging to send more Chinese wushu trainers to help Bangladesh develop more quality players.

Mohammad Dulal Hossain, joint secretary of Bangladesh Wushu Association, said that 30 athletes from the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protishtan (BKSP), the national sports institute of Bangladesh, Shanto Mariam-CRI Confucius Classroom and Bangladesh Ansar and VDP, a paramilitary auxiliary force responsible for the preservation of internal security and law enforcement, joined the demonstration.

"We've organized the demonstration event to search for promising Wushu players," Hossain said.

Marzina Akter traveled a long way to demonstrate the skills she has acquired so far. She has been learning Wushu at the Cox's Bazar District (some 292 km southeast of Dhaka) Wushu Association.

"My teacher's name is D M Rustam. For the last eight years I have been learning wushu from him. Now I practice wushu representing Ansar VD. This is my favorite activity," Akter said.

"I used to see wushu in Chinese movies and I started to love it," she added. "One day I told my father that I liked this martial art and he allowed me to go to an academy to study more. Now I get medals every year after participating in competitions and I like wushu a lot."

She went on to explain that she had made the martial art her own and said that as long as she is alive she wants to be a wushu practitioner and she wanted to bring honor to her country by competing in wushu tournaments overseas.

"I have so far won 10 gold medals participating in various wushu competitions," a proud-looking Akter beamed.

Another wushu practitioner, 10-year-old Jehoshoy Nafak, said, "Alongside my school studies, I am learning wushu. I like wushu as a sport. I plan to become a good wushu master in the future."

Anwar Russel, who is now a professional player, said he was lucky enough to learn wushu from Chinese masters who came to Bangladesh two years ago under a Chinese embassy program. "I received one month Lion Dragon training from them."

"Later on, I also received a Chinese scholarship for a further month of training at a Chinese academy in Guangzhou."

"I attended two competitions in China and secured second position in one and the ninth in another," Russel said, while stressing the need for regularly organized wushu demonstrations in Dhaka.

Bhuiyan said the demonstration was aimed at searching for promising wushu players.

"We need more players for taolu performances," he said, adding "We need more quality players to get more medals for Bangladesh."

"Our players have already secured 20-25 medals including gold awards."

He said selected wushu players will be sent for further domestic and overseas training so that Bangladesh can better compete in future international wushu competitions.

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