Shanghai was the first stop on my 1 month trip. It was very short, I spent 4 days there, in a hurry to continue north. Thanks to my great gatekeepers and participants, I could visit two places connected with the modern wushu.
The first one was Shanghai University of Sport. My informant used to be a wushu major student and took me inside to see the gyms. In China, several universities offer wushu as studying major for their sport students.
Sometimes it may be included in a bigger group of sports, elsewhere it is a single major. It also varies how much these students can get to try some traditional style.
Shanghai University of Sport is a big place, where, wow, there is a single building only for ping pong! In one of the buildings there is a wushu museum. Definitely nice to visit if you are nearby. Here they have two gyms for the wushu training, which are further divided. If I counted right, there are 8 wushu carpets. That is something.
I came in the end of February, so just after the Spring festival holiday. Even though in Hong Kong this is a short festival, here it is much longer, around 1 month. The week I came was just a first week of the classes and so the wushu class I visited was relaxed. The teacher explained that it was the first lesson, so the students were not pushing too much while practicing the basics; I saw some sweeps, jumps a stretch kicks.
Next doors a group of tai ji class went through some applications, which surprised me positively. They also looked like in a holiday mood. Later they performed a set too, where suddenly the level was much higher.
In the second gym, one half was not open for our eyes and the other was full of the university wushu team members, however going through qi gong. It seemed I will not see much of modern wushu in Shanghai, which I was curious about as a purely traditional wushu practitioner.
With another participants of my research I visited the Shanghai Sport Institute. This was much smaller and only occupying a part of the building. Only two carpets here, but I could not notice that all the equipment including the carpets are new. The coach wasn’t there – the wushu player set a goal with him and would not meet him before reaching this ultimatum. Otherwise, I was explained, they cannot move further.
In both cases the training took around 1,5-2 hours.
And it took me another 15 hours on a sleeping train to continue further north, to Beijing. Here I will soon visit the Beijing wushu team, sport university and capital university of physical education. I also had some unexpected encounter with traditional wushu...