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February 12

Chinese Martial Arts at Blackheath High School

In 2016, a new Chinese Martial Arts club was introduced to the co-curricular programme. The club is open to all year groups and any level of fitness or past experience. It is aimed at providing students with an experience of the extensive martial arts culture of China, allowing them to develop their fitness, coordination, flexibility and confidence.

Read more about clubs at Blackheath High School.

Over the year, students study a number of different aspects of martial arts. We begin with Tai Chi, which continues throughout the year. Whilst generally considered a form of meditation, it is still a physical art that involves students learning the 24 step routine in the first half of the year. For more advanced students, there will be an opportunity to learn another routine with the traditional Chinese Tai Chi sword (Jian), which has a wooden handle and blade. This slow-moving art form is fantastic for improving balance, posture and flexibility. As students become more accustomed to the moves they can concentrate on their breathing and feel the flow of the movements as they transition from one stance to another. This a great boost to mental health and allows them to relax and de-stress after a long school day.

In the first term we also studied Wing Tsun Kung Fu. Originally created by a woman, for women, it teaches close-quarters striking techniques. It is an excellent martial art for self-defence, so we have looked into applications around grip-breaks and basic blocks and strikes. It helps students to isolate the different parts of the body and emphasises using intelligent physics and biology to get the maximum effects from the minimum amount of time and effort. Since Christmas we have started practising Shaolin Kung Fu. This martial art is famous for its powerful, explosive moves and fast, energetic actions. Students train in basic drills to build up their strength and will then begin to practise through learning a number of traditional patterns. Initially these will be unarmed, but advanced students may have the opportunity to experience the wooden jian sword and staff too. After Easter, the club will begin to learn some more modern Wushu moves. This art form is more for demonstration purposes and allows students to use their improved coordination to try more complex jumps, falls and spins.

The participants in the club have already made great progress over this year and I am very excited to continue introducing them to more aspects of this fascinating area of Chinese culture.

Written by Mr D.Laber


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