National Geographic : 2011 Mar
violence that ignores the discipline's key tenets of morality and respect for one's opponent. He is also concerned that Yang Guiwu's other dis- ciples will lose respect for him if he becomes an entertainer. And he worries about the trappings of fame. His master had admonished him to remain humble, even as he surpassed the students around him. Humility defeats pride, Master Yang had preached. Pride defeats man. On the other hand, the role would bring much needed publicity and money to Hu's small kung fu school. With the blessing of his master, he had founded the school eight years earlier in a few cinder-block buildings just outside Dengfeng. Unlike the big kung fu academies, which stress acrobatics and kickboxing, Hu teaches his 200 boys and a few girls the traditional Shaolin kung fu forms that Yang Guiwu passed on to him. But ghting is not the most important lesson of kung fu, Hu explains. His focus is on honor. e skills he is passing on to his charges come with great responsibility. In each boy he looks for respectfulness and a willingness to "eat bit- terness," learning to welcome hardship, using it to discipline the will and forge character. At night his students sleep in unheated rooms. No matter the temperature, they train outside, often before sunrise. They jab tree trunks to toughen their hands and practice squatting with other students sitting on their shoulders to build leg strength. Within a month of arriving, new students are expected to be able to do full splits. During drills, coaches use bamboo sta s to swat the hamstrings of any boy whose form is not Like other martial artists of his generation, Fan Fuzhong, 75, has seen kung fu banned by Japanese occupiers, discouraged by Mao's Red Guards, and resurrected as a cultural treasure in the new China. Sta writer Peter Gwin wrote about Timbuktu's manuscripts in the January issue. Photographer Fritz Ho mann lived in China for 13 years. COINCIDING WITH CHINA'S OWN RESURGENCE.