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Teaching traditional Chinese martial arts to contemporary Chinese youth – a qualitative study with youth wushu coaches in China

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Background and Study Aim: Wushu, the collective noun for Chinese martial arts, is one of the most prominent traditional sports in China and is generally recognised as the origin of most Asian martial arts (e.g. judo, karate, taekwondo). Wushu practice is characterised by a strenuous and often repetitive approach, and in recent years it has become less appealing to today’s Chinese youth. In China there are two types of wushu organisations where youth is taught (i.e., clubs and schools). This study aimed to get more insight into how youth wushu coaches in China currently deal with the challenge of teaching their sport to youngsters and if possible differences occur between clubs and schools. Material and Methods: Through a qualitative research methodology (in-depth interviews), 28 youth wushu coaches in China (12 from clubs, 16 from schools) were interviewed regarding their experiences in teaching children. Results: While in both types of wushu organisations, coaches have changed their teaching approach, stereotype traditional contents still exist. Wushu schools continue to teach routines, whereas wushu clubs have begun to develop new courses that combine traditional culture, but do not have a systematic program with variation approaches. Noteworthy is that the teaching methods of both settings have not broken down the conventions which still show traces of professional training methods and follow the system in professional wushu competitions. Conclusion: It is recommended that future studies investigate experiences and insights of wushu coaches in other countries, as well as to collect data among participating children in China and abroad to understand why and how they participate in wushu as they come from a different cultural background.

Journal: Archives of Budo
ISSN: 1643-8698
Volume: 16
Pages: 1-10
Publication year:2020