HAVANA, Oct. 22th (xinhua) The Cuban School of Wushu and Qigong celebrated its 22nd anniversary on Sunday in a popular square in Havana with a massive demonstration of Chinese martial arts.
From breathing exercises to Qigong movements performed by young and old students, as well as traditional martial arts executed by children, the celebration saw varied performances.
“It has really been 22 years of transformations, of perseverance and steadiness, of fulfilling a mission and being able to bring Chinese culture, not only to the Chinese who live here and their descendants, but to all Cubans,” said Roberto Vargas Lee, director and founder of the school.
Vargas Lee said that Wushu and Qigong are already inserted within Cuban society and the school is present in all the provinces of the country.
Located in Havana’s Chinatown, the Cuban School of Wushu was founded in 1995 with the aim of developing Chinese martial arts and therapeutic exercises (Jian Shen Qigong) and also contributing to the rescue of Chinese traditional culture.
“China has put these ancient martial arts in our hands for the benefit of all Cubans and we will continue in this endeavor for many more years,” he said.
“170 years ago, the first Chinese arrived in Cuba and there is a common history. I think, with the Wushu school, we have helped to build bridges of friendship between our countries,” he said.
The school now has about 15,000 students all over Cuba and 2,500 in Havana.
Although the highest percent are represented by children and young people, elderly people also are attracted to the practice.
In the Qigong demonstration celebrated at Old Havana’s San Francisco square, many students took part, to show how these exercises improve their quality of life.
“Wushu and Qigong have contributed a lot to me because they give me spiritual and mental peace and help with all the problems of daily life,” Edenia Curbelo, 74, who has been practicing this martial art for 15 years.
For others like Nidia Naranjo, 68, practicing Qigong represents a way to have “a healthy mind and body” as well as an opportunity to meet new people.
“I have been practicing these exercises since four years ago and I happily go out every morning to perform them to maintain good health”.