Young Kung Fu fans flocked to the Dubai British School in Springs over the weekend as the UAE Shaolin Kung Fu tournament honoured the best fighters produced by the Martial Arts school in recent years.
The event was held on the final day of the Abu Dhabi World Jiu-Jitsu Championship and, while UAE Shaolin Kung Fu tournament was held at a relatively smaller level, the success of both these events is testament to how UAE is quickly becoming a hotbed for the Martial Arts community around the world.
Sheikha Meera Al Maktoum, 10, was among the 93 participants, who dazzled the crowd with her amazing Kung Fu skills that she had picked up under the tutelage of Master Hang Zang, Chief Master at UAE Shaolin.
“I really love Kung Fu because it teaches us discipline and improves self-confidence,” the 10-year-old Emirati princess told Sport360°. “Ever since I have started learning Kung Fu, I feel like I have more energy. I didn’t know how to punch or kick, but as I kept training and practicing, I really noticed the improvement in my performance.”
Sheikha Meera currently holds a blue belt and won first place in the Lian Huan Quan category of the competition, which is the preliminary Shaolin Kung Fu Form.
As a girl practicing Kung Fu, she never felt like she was out of place and insists that the sport is suited for both genders.
Moreover, the youngster wants to continue training and hone her Martial Arts skills, so she can represent UAE in international competitions.
“I want to be number one. My goal is to get my black belt and go for more competitions so I can represent my country,” she said.
Sheikha Meera is following in the footsteps of her relative Sheikha Maitha Al Maktoum, who was a gifted Martial Artist herself and went on to represent the UAE, competing at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Taekwondo’s 67kg category while also capturing a silver medal at the 2006 Asian Games in Karate.
The first tournament was held in December 2018 but was a relatively low-key event. In comparison to last year, the turnout this year was better, but Chief Master Hang Zang feels that there is still a massive room for improvement.
“We were expecting more students to join, but due to time constraints we were unable to get the numbers we wanted. For the Expo 2020, we are planning to hold another tournament, which is going to be huge and we are going to Kung Fu practitioners and fans from all over the world. However, we cannot achieve this goal alone and we will need support from all the relevant authorities,” Master Hang said.
UAE Shaolin Kung Fu School is located in Tecom, Dubai and offer training in all major forms of Kung Fu and Tai Chi. For more information, click here.
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