World Champion Kung Fu Master Shows Cleveland What He’s Made of


Clarion photo Lily Tewfik

Kung Fu Master Xiao Long shows off his skills in front of students

By Lily Tewfik and Violet Radmacher-Willis

November 29th and 30th, Martial Arts Champion, Wu Xiao Long came to Cleveland to share the experience of Martial Arts and to spread the Chinese Culture.

Xiao Long is from Nanchang, China, and he started doing martial arts at the age of four. He began for many reasons; he wanted to be stronger and faster, and he also liked being unique, different and “cool.” He enjoyed the idea of being able to protect himself. He wanted to be himself and to stand out. But most important, he wanted to make himself happy, which martial arts does. According to him, to be happy is the main goal.

Xiao Long came to Cleveland because Nancy Yang, the Chinese Immersion teacher at Cleveland, asked him to come and share the Chinese culture and teach martial arts with her students. According to Yang, not every student understands what martial arts really is, and it’s a great opportunity to talk with a Kung Fu champion.

“A lot of people, they’ll see martial arts movies and they don’t really know if that’s how it is. And a lot of it can be just for show, but he sort of taught us what to do and why you do it,” said Simon Millsap, senior.

In the future, Xiao Long wants to teach more to American students. Xiao Long likes American culture, as well as Chinese culture, and hopes to be able to make a bridge between the two, and bring them closer together.

According to Senior Will Tsai, Xiao Long was able to achieve his goal. “I think that it brings the community together, because all around school the word was that a Kung Fu master was here at Cleveland and people wanted to go see it, and when they saw it, it was pretty cool. He taught a lot of classes, so basically he taught the Cleveland Community about Kung Fu,” said Tsai.

Martial Arts immersed Cleveland students into a new culture that not a lot of people get to authentically be a part of. “It’s not everyday at Cleveland that students get to experience a martial arts master up-close, as well as have the opportunity to learn from him,” said Theo Close-Kung.

Xiao Long has competed in several competitions before, including the 2015 World Wushu Championships in Indonesia and the 2016 Wushu World Cup. When competing, Wushu, which is another name for Kung Fu, involves two people fighting each other.

“I learned many new things from him,” said Close-Kung, senior. “Some were a little surprising, like how to block a punch in five different ways that all end in me finishing my opponent with a groin shot, and some were much more insightful, such as the fact that speed and force do not necessarily mean more power.”

While teaching at Cleveland, Xiao Long did things such as stabbing a spear in space next to volunteers, and showing off different kinds of gymnastic-type flips, as well as demonstrating some slower Tai Chi moves.

“It makes me want to do more flips and stuff. I don’t think I can. As a kid I always wanted to do Kung Fu tricks, and seeing them in person, it was like ‘I can do that’ and maybe one day I’ll try that,” said Tsai.

Xiao Long helped students approach a fun and different experience. Xiao Long is competing less nowadays, and mostly focuses his time on teaching students martial arts.   

And, according to Xiao Long, “Martial Arts started in China, but it belongs to the world.”