Many think that martial arts are only linked to fights and even to kill adversaries. But, Wushu School director Roberto Vargas Lee has a quite different perspective about this idea.
“We practice martial arts with therapeutic aims, we promote good health; for instance, Tai Chi Chuan, which is one of the most effective combat arts helps human health a lot. We do arts for life, not for aggression; we also use it as a defense technique for peace of human beings.”
Professor Vargas Lee, sixth Duan in Tai Chi and sixth in Dao Yin Sheng, has headed the school since 1995, which has turned into a significant community project with contributions to education, culture and health.
The school, located in the highly-populated Havana municipality of Centro Habana, has found success in international Wushu and Tai Chi competitions with 20 gold, silver and bronze medals, just to tell about its sports records.
Over 400 kids are attending classes at the school, along with more than 500 senior citizens between 70 and 90 years of age. They take their therapeutic exercises and spend their day doing social activities, such as cleaning gardens and others related to environmental care. They also keep Chinese traditions alive in the small Havana site as they celebrate the Chinese Lunar Year, and traditional activities like the Dance of the Dragon and the Lion.
Senior citizens are majority at the school, as they take their exercises that help them continue to carry out their social life, since many of them are retired persons. When they attend sessions, they bring benefit to their bodies, their health, physical, spiritual wellbeing. They prepare themselves to face every passing day with high spirit, joy and optimism, said school vice president MeyLing.
Not few senior citizens suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure or gastrointestinal conditions, among other diseases, but they have found here the use of martial arts with therapeutic aims, not only relief but a way to face life with quality of life, said Meyling.
The school has achieved the mixing of Cuban and Chinese culture with respect of native aspects. This is something beautiful, said Vargas Lee and he added that cultural performances are largely welcomed by all the people.
Using martial arts to improve health and not to attack others, to be modest, simple, sincere, honest and discrete persons are so important that those who are not able to honor such a principle cannot be a student at the Cuban Wushu School.