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Kung Fu fighting remains popular for many Americans

Editor: Tong Xinxin 丨CCTV.com

01-29-2016 16:33 BJT

By Jianyu Hou, Freelancer based in Cleveland, OH., USA

Many people criticize TV violence that pervade mass media in the United States of America. However, Chinese kung fu is acknowledged as respectable“martial arts” by Americans.

That means kung fu is not a solely fighting skill used to encourage violence, but perceived as a kind of arts, consisting of Chinese philosophy.

When watching kung fu fighting, the audience can appreciate the beauty of human body movements, but have uncomfortable feelings aroused by pure violence. In America’s pop culture, kung fu is considered one of the major “Chinese Elements” depicted in a number of TV series and movies.

Those shows with kung fu fighting are likely to make good box office rankings in the US.

That’s why an American TV channel AMC had broadcast a Chinese martial arts TV series Into the Badlands on the screen in night hours, inviting the famous Chinese-American actor Daniel Wu to play the protagonist and he performed in the stunts.

Thanks to the popularity of kung fu in America, this TV series is action-packed, which promotes martial arts to a large viewership after the first season and had already won approval to shoot for the next season.

The popularity of kung fu in America can be attributed to the world renowned Chinese kung fu superstar, Bruce Lee.

He was the first person to introduce kung fu to the US and changed the negative stereotype of the Chinese as  the“East Asian Sick Men.”

Many American men born in the 1970s and 1980s had purchased their own namchuks (双截棍) after watching Bruce Lee’s movies, including Fist of Fury, Game of Death, Way of the Dragon, and Enter the Dragon. Nowadays, all big cities in the USA have kung fu schools, more in California than anywhere else. It’s popular for kids and teenagers.

Besides high level martial techniques, Chinese kung fu has captured American hearts by espousing oriental philosophy.  The idea of kung fu is more mental than physical. Bruce Lee’s kung fu movies had demonstrated such excellence for the audience.

With his No. 1 kung fu techniques in the world, philosophy major background and life experiences in both the East and the West, Bruce Lee shouldered the responsibility to promote Chinese kung fu to the West.

The ethics of kung fu fighters is to improve morality, keep healthy, protect the weak, fight for the justice, and defend the country.

Kung fu is not for taking advantages from others, offending others and arousing conflicts, instead, it’s for maintaining  peace. Some virtues are also manifested by kung fu fighters.

True fighters are loyal to their family, friends and the country, while behaving modest and responsible.

Americans are also touched by the spirit of the fairness in kung fu. Yes, it is easy to beat someone with a gun, but kung fu fighters must use their bodies or cold weapons, which requires more bravery and skills.

Americans respect Bruce Lee, because he defeated the big rivals with his relatively small Asian body, fantastic skills and oriental wisdom. Many Americans without giant muscular bodies gained greater confidence from Bruce Lee.

As the second biggest movie market in the world, China boasts  28,000 screens, while the US has nearly 40,000. Hollywood companies have started to find more ways to cater to Chinese audiences.

Making kung fu movies is their choice, since the audiences in China and America both love kung fu. As more and more kung fu movies get placed on the big screen, kung fu will become even more popular in America.


( The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Panview or CCTV.com. )



Panview offers a new window of understanding the world as well as China through the views, opinions, and analysis of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.

Panview offers an alternative angle on China and the rest of the world through the analyses and opinions of experts. We also welcome outside submissions, so feel free to send in your own editorials to "globalopinion@vip.cntv.cn" for consideration.


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