Foreign tourists impressed by Taiwan's martial arts tradition

11/20/2011 12:18 PM
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Taipei, Nov. 20 (CNA) A group of American tourists who recently visited Taiwan to experience local kungfu said they were impressed by the country's martial arts tradition and look forward to further exchanges.

The group of 50 martial arts followers -- 48 adults and two children -- organized by Eric Sbarge, owner of the Peaceful Dragon Cultural Center martial arts school in North Carolina and the Taiwan Tourism Bureau, said they learned during their visit to improve the balance between mind and body under the instruction of Taiwanese master Lee Feng-san.

"I was amazed by the fact that Lee applies the elements of kungfu into all aspects of daily life -- nutrition, the body and the mind," said one of the students, 65-year-old Jay Proeseher.

Having practiced kungfu since 1995, he said Lee's special curriculum highlighting spiritual activities such as meditation, reading and a healthy diet has helped him better absorb the spirit of kungfu.

Sbarge, who has around 500 students, said he is looking forward to similar tourism exchanges and noted that he has seen an upward trend in the practice of martial arts across the U.S.

His idea is shared by the Tourism Bureau, which has been promoting a variety of customized tourist packages -- including cycling and bird-watching -- among foreign tourists in recent years.

"The martial arts tourism campaign is just one of our many efforts to create a buzz," said bureau officer Cheng Chih-hung.

"Our next step is to enlist the help of Hollywood celebrities to promote Taiwan," he added.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)ENDITEM/J

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