Shaolin Temple in central China’s Henan province, known as the cradle of Chinese kung fu, has partnered up with the locally based Central China Real Estate Limited to build a school that combines Chinese martial arts with football. Shi Yanlu, a chief instructor at the temple, said the school is experimental and no guarantees are being offered but the idea is to use kung fu to train footballers, according to the Shanghai-based Jiefang Daily.
The temple and the developer decided on Feb. 26 this year to invest 2 billion yuan US$326 million to build an international football academy in the province. The project has received full support from national sports authorities and the provincial government. The completed academy will include a football school, a stadium and two gymnasiums.
Shi said the project is more than just hype and said it will bring benefits both to the martial arts community and to the sport of football in China. “Over the years, many teenagers came to the training base to study Shaolin kung fu. They are strong and healthy and have learned martial arts. If they can play football, that would be beneficial both to Chinese martial art and to football.”
Having a star martial arts football team would distract from the various scandals that have haunted the Shaolin Temple ever since Abbot Shi Yongxin’s controversial market-based reforms.
Last month a hidden camera was found in the Abbot’s bedroom by workers carrying out renovation work, it was pointed at the holy man’s bed.