2020, Volume 16
Teaching traditional Chinese martial arts to contemporary Chinese youth – a qualitative study with youth wushu coaches in China
Yueyi Jia1, Marc Theeboom2, Dong Zhu3
1Sport and Society Research Unit, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussles, Belgium
2Sport Policy and Management, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels, Belgium
3School of international education, Shanghai University of Sport, Shanghai, China
Author for correspondence: Yueyi Jia; Sport and Society Research Unit, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussles, Belgium; email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 exist 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 possible differences that might occur and at possible differences that might 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 concerning their experiences of teaching children.
Results: While in both types of wushu organisations, coaches have changed their teaching approach, stereotype traditional contents still exist. Wushu schools still 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.
Conclusions: It is recommended that future studies might 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 they take part in wushu in different culture background.
Key words: self-defence, techniques, routine, martial arts, kungfu, jibengong, wushu