Any talk of Kung fu, brings to mind the visual of Chinese men wielding sticks and fending off evil from society.
While Kung fu has long been associated with the Chinese, what is lesser known is that Kung fu and other martial art forms are derivatives of Kalaripayattu, a martial dance form practiced in Kerala and has been popularised by innumerable Bollywood stars.
There is a small group of people who are putting their best foot forward to both make Kung fu popular as well as spread knowledge on its origins. And what better time for that then when many of them have won accolades at international tournaments.
“We want people to know about the roots of Kung fu and bring about awareness that this is an Indian sport which has been adopted by the Chinese, and that it’s not the other way round. Even the Russian government has recognised the sport, but our Telangana government is yet to do so,” says Kunchakarra Manoj who won Gold in Taolu at the recent global tournament in Phuket. “I feel proud to be the first Indian to take part in moving Teushi and bagging a silver medal in my first attempt against an Ukranian opponent, who was a six-time gold medallist,” says Harinarayan Charyulu Soumithri.
“There are a lot of techniques that we can use in Kung fu which inspired to choose this as a profession. Most of us have been continuing this as our hobby and work side by side. But the struggle comes when we have to represent our country as we do not get funds to travel abroad. Everything goes from our pocket,” they rue.
“In a country where Cricket is the end of the world and cricketers are considered Gods, it comes as no surprise that this elegant art form has been ignored,” says Kakadi Ganesh, 15, the youngest of the lot who brought silver in Sanda. He says all this could be possible to him only with the help and support of his coach Gajula Sai Kumar.
Setteppa Vinod Kumar, who won bronze in Taolu says, “In every school throughout the country, martial arts is taught in the form of Karate, but not many know about Kung fu or its future.” What shocks these players is that karate, which is a sub-form of Kung fu is recognised as a sport in Telangana and Kung fu is not. Shedding light on future events, Manoj says, “We have a few sports lined up in Nepal, Singapore and 2019 has already started with a bang for us. Hope this prosperity continues.”
On a parting note, the team hopes that the state government recognises the sport. That would help bring both, more people into its fold and greater prosperity to the state....