Quanzhou: Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting

March 22, 2016

Quanzhou, China blog

(Written by Mr. Penley) It was another great day in Quanzhou. Despite once again having periods of “liquid sunshine” (aka rain), we still made the best our time.

We started our morning with a lesson in Chinese calligraphy. Although it was a challenge, the students had fun trying to recreate the teacher’s beautiful characters.

Quanzhou China 2016 Maddie Writes

Quanzhou china 2016 Livy does calligraphy

Maddie and Livy tried their hand at writing China in Chinese (中國 - Zhongguo).

Quanzhou china 2016 Max gets writing help


Quanzhou china 2016 Annie and the teacherThe teacher also helped the students to hold the brush correctly and form their strokes correctly.

After calligraphy and exercising our minds, we switched over to some Chinese Kung Fu to exercise our bodies.

First we suited up in some snazzy gold uniforms.

Quanzhou china 2016 Group ready for Kung Fu

And then did some warm ups.

Lily and Livy Kick


Annie does splitsWe then learned a “simple” form. Blocking, punching, leg sweeping, kicking, we did it all. The teacher pulled several of our students up on stage to help him demonstrate.

Quanzhou china 2016 Haglis throws sand

Quanzhou china 2016 Max jumps


Ms Wilkerson is a monkeyHaglis practiced throwing sand in his opponents eyes, while Max jumped over the teacher’s leg sweep as the teacher showed the practical side of the form. Although she never was on stage, Ms. Wilkerson demonstrated the monkey position very nicely.

Sophie gets into it

Sophie got into the yelling as she practiced her punches.

Students then got up on stage to lead the group through the form. Although it wasn’t always exactly pretty, everyone had a lot of fun.

Quanzhou china 2016 Eli leads class (1)

After the formal part of the class, the teacher brought out some practice weapons that would be used for Kung Fu.

Haglis has a spear

Wait…who gave Haglis a spear… and why is he coming after the photographer????

Of course, if you give boys halberds, you know what will come next…

Eli and Haglis

We then had to take a group photo that our teacher had to pose for us. I think we look rather fierce, don’t you?

Group Kung Fu

Note some of the details: Annie blocking Emily’s sword strike without looking, Livy sneaking up on Lily, Haglis looking peaceful…

After Kung Fu, we went out to the playground for some basketball. A possible Four Point first in China, our four man team of Haglis, Max, Eli and Eddie went undefeated winning three 4v4 games in a row.

Eddie Drives to the basket

We then left school for lunch and a rest. It is very nice to have a rest in the early afternoon each day… although I am not sure that class until 10pm is a worth while tradeoff.

In the afternoon, we hopped on our pink bus again… but there were a few familiar faces “on” the bus with us today…

Last years group decorating the bus

last year’s Quanzhou group! (Or as the post called them: the Maritime Silk Road Overseas Study Group from American Gould Academy.)

We first headed to the Quanzhou Maritime Silk Road Museum and the Quanzhou Islamic History Museum. We learned more about the maritime history of Quanzhou and the importance of Quanzhou as a center of trade and cultural exchange. We also learned about the multiple religions, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Daoism, and Manichaeism, that coexisted in Medieval Quanzhou. The citizens of Quanzhou are rightly very proud of the multi-faith history and how well the various religious groups lived side by side.

Group at maritime museum

You may be noticing a theme here… we take lots of group photos. Here we are at the Maritime Museum.

From the museums we headed to the South Shaolin Temple. The temple is still an active school and monastery. Although they generally practice in the morning, one of the teachers had some connections at the temple and a few of the students gave us a demonstration.

Shaolin Demo

These two little guys were amazing. They were throwing punches and blocking kicks with practiced ease and great disciple. We were all very impressed.

Before we left the temple to head home for dinner and the night, we had… you guessed it… one last group photo!

Group at Shaolin Temple

Tomorrow we head to the beach and go climb a famous mountain. Should be a fun last day in Quanzhou!

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