Andrey Ognev practices with his teacher Pan Chengmiao.
Waving his arms and fists like a bird flapping wings, Andrey Ognev practiced the "White Crane Fist," a Chinese martial art that inspired late Kungfu superstar Bruce Lee, in the courtyard with his Chinese teacher one last time before he headed back home to Russia.
The 54-year-old Russian merchant has been practicing the White Crane Style in Yongchun County, east China's Fujian Province, since 2010. He fell in love with the Kungfu style the moment he learned Bruce Lee's Yongchun combat techniques that originated from the birdy martial art.
Ognev practices White Crane Style.
Fujian is home to many famous Chinese martial arts, and the White Crane Style is one of them. As one of the six Shaolin boxing schools, it is developed from observing the crane's movements and imitates a crane's pecking and flapping wings. The others are based on movements of the tiger, monkey, snake and the legendary dragon.
The White Crane Style has a history of over 300 years and has been spread to more than 80 countries and regions. It is said that the karate also originates from the style.
A training school of White Crane Fist in Spain. (File photo)
Ognev had learned boxing for seven years before he met with the Fujian White Crane, but, in his eyes, it is "the real martial art." He feels happier and stronger after learning the crane combat style, he said.
He, along with his 36-year-old Russian fellow Wadim Nedelin, studies with White Crane master Pan Chengmiao, who is also head of White Crane training school in Fujian.
Ognev (R) and Nedelin practice under the guidance of Master Pan.
The White Crane Style was recognized as one of the national intangible cultural heritage in 2008.
To promote the martial art overseas, Ognev plans to open a training school of White Crane boxing with Nedelin when they return Russia this month.
Nedelin (R) practices with Ognev.
(Photos by Wei Peiquan)