LANZHOU, China, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- Yue Qizhong stood in the setting sun and clenched a copper snuff pot in his hand, while his wife Zhang Weiying waved a fly whisk towards him. The two "weapons" tinkled in the air and separated at lightning speed.
Married for 63 years, the couple has practised martial arts for more than half a century in Pingliang city, northwest China's Gansu Province. The city is also known as the birthplace of Kongtong martial arts, one of China's five traditional martial arts, with a history stretching back 2,000 years.
Yue started training in 1962 at the age of 28, and Zhang at 25. Side by side under the guidance of the same master, they fell in love with each other, and together immersed themselves into the charm of this ancient sport.
"Kongtong martial arts is famous for its fantastic weapons," said Yue. "Compared with blades and sticks that people widely use in combat, martial artists in Pingliang developed a unique arsenal of weapons, including fly whisks, snuff pots and iron fans."
"At the beginning, the basic training process was hard and painful. But once you build up the physical foundation of your body, the moves and tricks are much easier to learn afterwards," recalled Zhang.
When the habit became second nature, martial arts became an indispensable part of their lives. They even redecorated the parlor in their house into a training room, just in case sudden rainfall kept them from their daily practise outside.
At the entrance of their training room, dozens of weapons lean against the wall. And on the other side, gold medals and trophies are displayed in a glass cabinet, with awards piled on top of one another.
"Thanks to this life-long habit, we have traveled to many beautiful places in China for competitions and met fabulous people. We have spent such good time together," said Yue. "Most importantly, physical exercise gives us a healthy body and positive attitude. This is truly priceless."
In recent years, this old couple has concentrated more on the promotion and research of Kongtong martial arts.
In 2014, they set up a training course and gave free lessons to young people. Over 200 amateurs aged between 15 and 30 have signed up, sparking heated discussion on social media.
Yue and Zhang also initiated a research team and organized regular seminars on the inheritance and protection of Kongtong martial arts.
"Kongtong martial arts has a history of more than 2,000 years, but sadly parts of it have already been lost. Right now it is our duty to preserve it and hand it over to the next generation," said Yue. Enditem