When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

blog

Applying Kung Fu Techniques To Kickstart Chinese Soccer

Shaolin students playing soccer at the Tagou Wushu School in Dengfeng
Shaolin students playing soccer at the Tagou Wushu School in Dengfeng

Combining kung fu with soccer? This was a fantasy depicted in Stephen Chow's 2001 martial arts comedy film Shaolin Soccer. But now, in Henan province, home of the Shaolin Temple famous for its superhuman martial-arts monks, we are set to see a real-life attempt to kick some life into Chinese soccer by applying the methods of kung fu, the China Times reports.

Though China is a major sports power, its national soccer team is seen at home as a national embarrassment. It ranks 84th in the world, and has been beaten by the likes of Uzbekistan, and romped recently by South Korea.

[rebelmouse-image 27089625 alt="""" original_size="234x123" expand=1]

But ever since Chinese President Xi Jinping took office two years ago, integrating soccer into the national curriculum has become both a way of promoting the sport in China and boosting his public image, said the South China Morning Post.

Zhang Wenshen, director of the Henan Province Sports Bureau, has apparently heeded Xi's call with a homegrown method that seems to take inspiration from the kung fu film, "We are undertaking a bold attempt in advancing soccer reform and in carrying forward Chinese traditional martial arts," Zhang told China Times.

[rebelmouse-image 27089626 alt="""" original_size="450x257" expand=1]

Last week, the "Henan Shaolin Teenagers Soccer Training Base" was officially opened. The beautiful game may never be the same again.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

Photo of someone holding a phone

Screenshot from BBC documentary "how the police and gangs hunt LGBT people in Egypt"

Laura Valentina Cortés, Inès Mermat, Renate Mattar et Hugo Perrin

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on a topic you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

This week featuring:

Keep reading...Show less

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

The latest