By Sportswriter Xiao Yazhuo, Zhang Han, Wang Hengzhi
BEIJING, Nov. 16 (Xinhua) -- A new kind of Chinese martial arts called Gong Shou Dao (GSD), which is drawn from the traditional art of Tai Chi, was unveiled here on Wednesday as the co-founders - chairman of Alibaba Group Jack Ma and action movie star Jet Li - said that their ultimate goal is to make GSD an Olympic program.
Standing on a 1.5-meter-high platform with a diameter of 3 meters, two martial artists, one in white and one in black, fight against each other with traditional Tai Chi techniques. This new form of martial arts competition, or in other way a new kind of sports games, is called GSD.
"Since martial arts became one of the programs in the Asian Games in 1990, all of the martial artists in China have been thinking about when it will make into the Olympic Games. However, we have been working for several decades, but still fail to make it," Li said.
"I try to find out the reasons why martial arts are not accepted by the Olympic Games. When I talked to my friend Jack Ma about my thoughts several years ago, we reached a consensus that it was because we had not confronted the issue head-on," he added.
Li and Ma learned the successful experience from Japan and South Korea, who brought Judo and Taekwondo into Olympic Games respectively, and decided to focus on just one kind of Chinese martial arts and try to modify it to meet the requirements of an Olympic program and then promote it to the whole world. And their choice is Tai Chi, which is no doubt one of the icons of Chinese martial arts.
"There are about 150 million people practising Tai Chi all over the world, but most of them are over 40 years old. If we want to involve more young people into it and make it meet the Olympic standards, we must make some changes," Li pointed out.
Different from other fighting-kind sports, all the techniques used in the GSD should come from Tai Chi. Fighters who use other techniques, such as boxing or wrestling, will be called a foul.
"Most people practise Tai Chi by themselves, and we call it the Tai Chi 1.0; Some are practising pushing hands, we call it the 2.0 version. Now we have the GSD, and we think it is the Tai Chi 3.0 version which has been integrated with more characteristics of modern sports. We know it is not easy to make it into the Olympic Games, and we might fail again and again, but we must try. It's our dream," Li concluded.
Jet Li started to learn martial arts at the age of 8, and became a champion at the National Games in 1975 when he was only 12 years old. The turning point of his life came in the year of 1982 when he starred in the movie Shaolin Temple which turned out to be the most successful movie ever in China at that time, and paved his way to become one of the most well-known action movie stars in the world.
There was a famous Chinese movie in 1993 named The Tai Chi Master, in which Jet Li played a historical figure Zhang Sanfeng, whom is widely believed as the founder of Tai Chi but without hard proofs. Although the exact origin of Tai Chi was not clear yet but what for sure is that it has spread worldwide and not only Chinese, but also many foreigners are practising it.
The founder of Alibaba Group, e-commerce tycoon Jack Ma, has been a Tai Chi practitioner for over 30 years. In his opinion, Tai Chi is not only about martial arts. He has previously touted the health benefits of Tai Chi which, he says, transcend mere physical wellness, offering practitioners a spiritual uplift that enhances their daily lives in all respects. According to Ma, Tai Chi deserves a prominent place in the world of sports both inside and outside of China.
Just one week ago, a short film, also named Gong Shou Dao, featuring Ma and 11 of the world's most well-known martial art practitioners and action stars, premiered on big and small screens. Ma played a Tai Chi master in the movie and he said that the movie's goal is to pay tribute to the traditional Chinese martial art Tai Chi and kick off the promotional drive for the new innovation, GSD.
"Tai Chi is a kind of philosophy which emphasizes the balance of Yin and Yang, the two opposing principles in nature. I used this philosophy in enterprise management and I believe it will benefit everyone's daily life," Ma said.