50 Rwandans complete China-sponsored Shaolin martial arts and Taiji boxing training

By Xinhua
On 28 October 2023 at 10:24

Fifty Rwandans received certification Wednesday after successfully completing training in Shaolin martial arts and Chen-style Taiji boxing (Taijiquan).

The training, which was sponsored by China’s Ministry of Commerce and lasted nearly two months, was co-organized by Rwanda Kung-Fu Wushu Federation, China’s Henan University of Technology, and the Chinese Embassy in Rwanda.

At the awarding ceremony in Kigali, the Rwandan capital, the trainees presented their performance before an audience of martial arts enthusiasts.

"This type of training was very important because we didn’t have it in Rwanda before," Emmanuel Havugimana, one of the trainees, told Xinhua. "We learned so many things in traditional Kung-Fu."

"Taiji is very important to me because it is a philosophy. It is medicine. Taiji is life. I always wished I could learn Taiji, and now I’m very happy after learning it," Havugimana said.

On Dec. 17, 2020, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) inscribed China’s Taijiquan on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Taijiquan was born in the mid-17th century in Chenjiagou, a small village in central China’s Henan province, before it spread to more than 150 countries and regions, attracting more than 100 million people to practise.

Marc Uwiragiye, president of Rwanda Kung-Fu Wushu Federation, said the program facilitated by Chinese trainers was devised in two parts, with the Taiji boxing lasting about 20 days from Sep. 6.

"The training offered a good opportunity for us to introduce Taiji boxing in Rwanda, and we hope ... we will continue working together to develop Chen-style in Rwanda and East Africa," he said.

Uwiragiye said that for the trainees, learning Shaolin martial arts was a dream coming true and that the training meant a lot for Rwandan athletes set to take part in the World Wushu Championship in Dallas, the United States, next month.

He urged the participants in the training to transfer the acquired knowledge and skills to their respective clubs.

Rwanda Kung-Fu Wushu Federation is composed of 33 active clubs across the country, with more than 4,000 members, from which the trainees were selected.

Zhang Yi, vice dean of education and training at Henan University of Technology, congratulated the awardees, noting that they have become alumni of the university.

"The university selected outstanding coaches and interpreters to share their skills but also learn about Rwanda’s culture and history," Zhang said.

Emmanuel Rwego Ngarambe, director general of sports development at the Rwandan ministry of sports, praised the training program, which he said promotes cultural exchange through sports.

Lin Hang, charge d’affaires at the Chinese Embassy in Rwanda, said she had witnessed the training, and marvelous performances, adding that seeing a child as young as five years ready to master martial arts was striking.

She said that the trainers not only shared the skills but also the culture behind Kung-Fu Wushu as well as the shared values.

Lin said the program is a symbol of how the relationship between the two countries is blossoming.