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The Shaolin senior: Meet China’s ‘kung fu granny’

Meet the golden-aged granny with the golden arm.

Zhang Hexian, 98, from Zhangkeng in southeast China, is being recognized by the country’s leaders for her demonstration that “kung fu spirit never gets old,” according to foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian.

The lifetime practitioner of the martial arts was featured on Chinese state network CCTV while serving as the chief referee at a local tournament, reported South China Morning Post.

“I would practice boxing every day and do movements like chopping, pushing and thrusting. Although I am old, I still have the strength,” she told the broadcaster, gesticulating the movements with grace and precision as she spoke.

Zhang hails from what locals have referred to as a “kung fu village” as most of its residents are devotees of a particular form of Shaolin boxing called Xiao Hong Quan, according to a Mashable SE Asia report, a method which dates back half a century.

Zhang Hexian, a 98-year-old kung fu sensei in Zhangkeng village of southeast China, is making headlines for her demonstration that "kung fu spirit never gets old."
Zhang Hexian, a 98-year-old kung fu sensei in Zhangkeng, China, is making headlines for her skills.
Reuters

Beginning her lessons at 5, Zhang has since gone on to mentor her family and neighbors in the art form.

“Learning kung fu is for defending, not for bullying others. We should help others,” she said of her approach to instruction, focusing on self-defense rather than attacks.

Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said this proves "kung fu spirit never gets old."
Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said this proves “kung fu spirit never gets old.”
Reuters

The sensei is particularly proud of one moment in which she helped ward off a man whom she found beating his wife. Zhang was able to defend and free the woman.

Zhang said there’s no stopping her from sowing the spirit of kung fu to anyone who seeks it.

“I am old, so this task can only be handed down to the next generation,” she said.


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