Drillmaster of Shaolin's warrior monks prays for successful Olympics

2008-07-25 02:04:42 GMT       2008-07-25 10:04:42 (Beijing Time)       Xinhua English

ZHENGZHOU, July 25 (Xinhua) -- Standing on one foot with his palm in front of the chest, the chief drillmaster of Shaolin Temple's warrior monks integrated the trademark move of the kung fu birthplace into the Beijing Olympic torch relay.

"I will pray for the sports gala, which should become an occasion of peace and friendship," said Shi Yanlu with the torch in his hand after he finished his relay here Friday morning.

Born in 1970, Shi was sent to the Shaolin Temple in his childhood with a dream of becoming a kung fu master. He preserved after a year of ascetic life of chores and errands such as floor sweeping and firewood chopping in the temple, before the master monk finally agreed to teach him kung fu.

"You need the spirit of perseverance to become either a good warrior monk or a good athlete," he said.

"It's the same," he added.

Amid cheers and exclamations, the Beijing Olympic torch started to tour in Henan province on Friday, where the Shaolin Temple is located.

More than 2,000 students in the Tagou Martial Arts School near the temple are expected to take part in the opening and closing ceremony performances of the Olympic Games in August.

According to media reports, it is very likely that the opening ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games will feature the Shaolin kung fu performances.

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