by: Kevin Young
Bruce Lee, Jacky Chan and Jet Li are the probably among the most popular faces of Chinese culture to the outer world than any others. The reason is simple – Chinese martial arts or more specifically Kung Fu and Tai Chi has been enjoying a steady popularity in the West since the 1980s. The whole range external martial arts or Shaolin Kung Fu and internal martial arts or Taijiquan aim not only at self defense but in building physical health and strength.
Kungfu and other Chinese martial arts are regarded as one of China’s most prominent cultural symbols. It is an indispensable medium of entertainment in grand ceremonies hosted by China displayed for an international audience. You must be recalling the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympics.
Because of the charm and prominence that this form of martial art enjoys, a lot of people who like Chinese culture are drawn to study abroad in China. Martial arts are a door to introduce you into a grander Chinese culture; they not only offer fascinating insights into body mechanics but offer training for physical well-being; all of which is a good inspiration for you to study Chinese.
Most Chinese language programs would have their students learn Taichi boxing (shadow boxing), probably one of the most well-known martial arts. Learning and practicing Taich can inspire your Chinese language study a lot if you could really dig into the philosophy behind it. Based on the thoughts and ideas of Taoism, Taichi teaches the doctrine of harmony and balance not only between nature and mankind but also between men. Of course the details of it are far more profound and appealing to be discussed in a small article like this. Together with other oriental practices, Taichi is being regarded as one of the great tools of the New Age Movement and such other spiritual, self-cultivating or self-help workshops. Learning Mandarin in China will earn you great advantage for this purpose. So next time when you get chance to learn Taichi while participating in any programs for study abroad in China, try finding out more about this ancient art.