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Japanese plans to popularise Tai-Chi in Port City

Ronald Anil Fernandes, Mangalore, Jan 11, 2014: 2:20 IST
From Japan: Wushu Tai-Chi Japanese Instructor Haruka Ito demonstrates a technique to the students of Gonzaga school in Mangalore on Saturday.
Saturday was an exciting day for the little Gonzagians as they had an opportunity to watch Wushu Tai-Chi Japanese Instructor Haruka Ito perform some of the finest steps, which is aimed at developing self-confidence, respect for self and others and encouraging mental focus among other benefits.

Wushu, more popularly known as Kung Fu is a form of Chinese martial arts, is an important component of the cultural heritage of China, with a rich content that has remained untarnished over the centuries. Literally translated, ‘Wu’ means military and ‘shu’ means art.

However, competitive Wushu is composed of two disciplines: taolu (forms) and sanda (sparring). Taolu comprise basic movements (such as stances, kicks, punches, balances, jumps, sweeps and throws) based on aggregate categories of traditional Chinese martial art styles and can be changed for compeititions to highlight one’s strengths.

On the other hand, Tai-Chi is a slow-motion, moving meditative exercise for relaxation, health, stress reduction, rehabilitation of disease and self-defense, says Ito and adds that Tai-Chi has gained enormous popularity in America, Japan and rest of the world for its health benefits.

How did Japanese land in Mangalore? Speaking to Deccan Herald, Ito said that she was a resident of Yokohama and was leading a normal life in Japan. However, when the Fukoshima nuclear disaster broke out, she was forced to leave the country. At that juncture, one of her friends in Mangalore, invited her to Mangalore and offered to extend help if she came to Mangalore. The rest is history.

Born in Japan on January 29, 1970, Ito says she was physically weak during her childhood untill graduation. However, her consistent practise of the martial art over a period of 20 years has won her a number of medals that includes 7 gold and 2 silver medals at Hong Kong International Wushu Festival held in 2005, 2007 and 2009.

Altogether, she has 16 gold, 6 silver and 6 bronze medals in her kitty from over 50 competitions. She is also the certified judge of the Japan Wushu Taijiquan Federation.Ito, who teaches Wushu, both as fitness as well as competitive performance, says that Wushu is getting popular in India day by day and the Indian Olympic Association has already included Wushu in priority category. In fact, W Sandy Arani, a Wushu silver medalist in the 16th Asian Games received the Arjuna award (highest sports award in India) from the then president Prathibha Devisingh Patil in 2012. Arani is the first Arjuna laureate in the field of Martial Art in India.

After a 45-minutes demonstration and awareness on the art, which was followed by an interaction,Gonzaga School (a unit of St Aloysius Institutions) Principal Grace Noronha said that she intends to introduce this martial art in the school.

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