ASPIRING Shaolin gongfu masters can soon learn the original famed martial arts right here in Singapore.
Local school Wufang Singapore has signed an exchange agreement with China's Henan Shaolin Wushu Academy, which is affiliated to the Shaolin Temple, where the popular form of martial arts originated.
While details of the agreement have yet to be finalised, the exchange of trainers and students between the two schools has been confirmed, said Wufang Singapore founder and former actor Vincent Ng.
For an indefinite period starting this June, trainers from the Shaolin school will be here to impart their techniques, and Wufang students will also get the opportunity to train at the academy in Henan.
Mr Ng, a wushu world champion and three-time SEA Games wushu gold medallist, told The Straits Times that the collaboration is a dream come true for him.
Traditionally, those who want to learn the original Shaolin wushu have to travel to China.
"Shaolin is the original, the most authentic Chinese martial art," said the 38-year-old who has never trained at the Shaolin school before, but was there more than 10 years ago to film the Chinese drama serial The Challenge.
"I hope this partnership can further develop traditional martial arts in Singapore."
Mr Ng has been coaching wushu for 10 years, and started Wufang Singapore in 2005. The school has about 1,000 students enrolled in its classes at the Civil Service Club in Balestier and at community centres.
Henan Shaolin Wushu Academy's principal, Master Dehong, 49, who was here last week to sign the agreement, said: "I'm happy that more people can understand and learn Shaolin culture."
The Shaolin collection of martial arts, popularised by movies and drama serials, is known for exercises such as the yi jin jing (tendon change method) and boxing techniques such as the luo han quan (Arhat fist).