Ancient sport to be in unofficial competition

BEIJING — Kung fu will be featured at the Olympics in Beijing next year but the world’s most famous practitioners, the monks of the ancient Shaolin temple immortalized in 1970s skein “Kung Fu,” won’t be taking part because their chopsocky is not about competition.

Olympic organizers said kung fu, known in China as wushu, will be showcased in a competition, although not as an official Olympic sport.

“Chinese wushu belongs to competitive sports, whereas Shaolin wushu belongs to traditional martial arts. The two have different natures, standards and connotations,” Qian Daliang, general manager of the Henan Shaolin Temple Development, told local media.

The Shaolin Temple in Dengfeng City, in the central province of Henan, has been transformed into an entertainment industry all its own, even hosting its own chopsocky reality TV show.

The temple features in scores of Hong Kong and mainland martial arts pics but outside China is best known as the place where Kwai Chang Caine or Grasshopper in “Kung Fu,” played by David Carradine, learned self-defense skills.

The 1,500-year-old Shaolin Temple is also China’s most renowned home of Zen Buddhism.

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