Report: Chinese martial arts favored in Burundi – Xinhua English.news.cn
The head and founder of the Burundian Federation of Wushu and the Wushu Bujumbura Club Yves Nilrenganya (L, Front) and the professor of Chinese Zhang Xuguang (R, Front), associate professor of the University of International Business and Economics of China , pose for a photo as they practice Chinese martial arts (Wushu) in Bujumbura, capital of Burundi, July 26, 2017. One July afternoon, a flurry of screams from Chinese martial arts (Wushu) practitioners came out of a primary school and could be heard on a street in Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi. More than 30 young Burundian men wearing training clothes donated by the Chinese Embassy in Burundi were practicing Chinese martial arts at school. They were led by Chinese professor Zhang Xuguang, associate professor at the China University of International Business and Economics. (Xinhua / Wang Junbo)
by Lyu Tianran
BUJUMBURA, July 28 (Xinhua) – In late July afternoon, a burst of screaming from Chinese martial arts (Wushu) practitioners came out of an elementary school and could be heard on a crowded street of Bujumbura, capital of Burundi.
More than 30 young Burundians wearing training clothes donated by the Chinese Embassy in Burundi were practicing Chinese martial arts at school. They were led by Chinese professor Zhang Xuguang, associate professor at the China University of International Business and Economics.
The Burundian Wushu Federation invited Zhang, who is also director of the Lide Martial Arts Research Center at the university, in Burundi to teach them Chinese martial arts. The training began on July 17 and will last for one month.
During the training, Zhang taught them the basics and actions of Wushu and taught them Tai Chi. Zhang planned to teach some of them some kind of traditional Chinese sword handling to spread Chinese sword handling in Burundi.
“Some of them are very good at Wushu, they practice Wushu with heart and soul,” said Zhang, adding that their passion for Wushu exceeded his expectations.
During the training, Zhang consciously helps the students to better understand the connotation of Wushu.
The director and founder of the Burundian Federation of Wushu and the Wushu Bujumbura Club Yves Nilrenganya said that there are currently 12 Wushu clubs in Burundi, with more than 400 students. These clubs have been preparing for a national Burundi Wushu competition every year since 2015, he said, adding that even the first year’s competition had attracted 2,000 people to watch.
Nilrenganya started learning Chinese Wushu since 2003, when he was an elementary school student in Rwanda. His teacher is a Rwandan, who learned Wushu from a Chinese.
“I learned martial arts to protect myself and for health. After learning Wushu, I also learned the philosophy of peace and knowing how to live with others,” he said.
In 2008, Nilrenganya returned to Burundi and began to spread Wushu in different regions of Burundi. In 2017, he created the Burundian Federation of Wushu with the support of the Chinese Embassy.
“Wushu is a very important game that every Burundi should know,” he said. According to him, everyone in Burundi is very excited to see Chinese films, which include very impressive movements, but people can only see them in a film, so he came up with the idea of bringing people together to make Martial Arts.
Nilrenganya expected that one day he could represent Burundi to compete in Wushu with people from other countries.
Technician Issa Havyariuana, 28, is Nilrenganya’s first student, who started learning Wushu in 2008.
Havyariuana said that because of Bruce Li’s films, Wushu has become a favorite game in Burundi. “I first learned Shaolin Wushu, then we started to learn the new forms referring to International Wushu,” he said.
“I want to be Bruce Li or Jet Li. Learning Wushu helps my technician to work, I can do my job faster. I also know how to live with and respect others in Wushu.”
Some Burundian students in Wushu speak Chinese, notably Ininahazwe Bonfils Ildephonse, 27.
“I love kungfu, it’s my hobby. It’s also a kind of Chinese culture,” Ildephonse, whose Chinese name is Li Zhixuan, told Xinhua in Chinese.
Besides Wushu, he is also very fond of Chinese dance, said Ildephonse, who learned the Chinese language at the Confucius Institute in Burundi.
“Chinese martial arts could help the Burundian people to understand Chinese culture and traditional Chinese philosophy. We hope to enrich cultural exchanges between China and Burundi through Wushu exchanges,” said the Chinese Ambassador to Burundi, Zhuo Ruisheng, in an interview with Xinhua.