Kung fu master keen to bend the trend on suogugong

Fri Sep 16, 2016 10:21am EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Natalie Thomas

BEIJING (Reuters) - For 50 years, kung fu master Li Liangui has been contorting his body into eye-watering positions while practicing one of the more unusual and less popular Chinese martial art forms.

The 70-year-old is an expert in suogugong, or body shrinking kung fu, where practitioners dislocate their bones to help them achieve unlikely positions and feats.

The svelte Li, who has a long, wispy white beard, has traveled the world promoting the brand of kung fu, performing for members of the royal family in the United Arab Emirates and appearing on television at home.

But his promotional efforts have not proved as successful as he would have liked.

"As soon as I'm gone, this thing will be gone completely. There won't be anyone else practicing it. This is a really, really great regret, it's really a loss," Li told Reuters.

"We've carried it on, we've promoted it abroad, but while the flowers have blossomed within the wall, the fragrance is only smelt outside," he said, using an expression to mean it is only appreciated abroad.

There are hundreds of differing fight styles that are classed as kung fu, which soared in popularity globally following a series of films featuring U.S.-born and Hong Kong-raised actor Bruce Lee, who died in 1973.

Another form, wushu, is recognized by the International Olympic Committee but failed last year in its bid to be included in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.   Continued...

Kung Fu master Li Liangui demonstrates Suogugong Kung Fu skills for the camera at a park in Beijing, China, June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon