Everybody was gongfu fighting

Students from the Shaolin Tagou Martial Arts School in Dengfeng, Henan province, displaying their skill, discipline and unity in a mass performance on Tuesday.

And when you are already trained in gongfu, it seems you may have an advantage when taking up another sport.

The school, one of the largest martial arts schools in China, is starting a soccer academy in which children who have learnt gongfu can also be trained in the sport, Sina News reported on Tuesday.

Fifty boys and girls aged 10 to 12, picked from its enrolment, which numbers some 35,000, will start training under three experienced football coaches at the school.

Earlier this year, the Chinese government set out plans to establish a national system of training bases in a bid to raise the standards of the game in the country.

Shaolin Soccer is the title of a 2001 Hong Kong martial arts comedy film, in which Shaolin monks apply their exceptional skills to soccer and bring Shaolin gongfu to modern society.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 13, 2015, with the headline 'Everybody was gongfu fighting'. Print Edition | Subscribe