In the view of Ian Fok, the Chamber’s Life Honorary Chairman,the kung fu scenes in the film Everything Everywhere All at Once,the winner of best picture at this year’s Oscars, have made Chinesemartial arts (wushu) more stylish, which helps publicity.
From Deng Xiao ping to Xi Jinping, our country's leaders have always remembered to stress to “start young” when referringto sports development and ideological dissemination. Fok holds the same view on the spread of Wushu. An objective of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Wushu Alliance, whose establishment last year was spearheaded by Fok, is to boost interactions among young people in the Greater Bay Area, thereby promoting the quintessence of Chinese culture.
Having trained in martial arts for many years, Fok deeply felt that Wushu is not only for keeping physically fit and healthy, but also nourishing the mind and brain. He pointed out that the spirit of Wushu has a profound connotation, and after a long time of contact with it, one will gradually comprehend the spirit of Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism by analogy. In his view, these seemingly illusory traditional values can become concrete ones through Wushu, and young people are more likely to benefit from it.
Even though Wushu is a treasure, Fok understands that packaging cannot be overlooked for it to be spread widely in this day and age. Giving an example, he said that yoga has become fashionable now even though it originated in India a long time ago. For the same reason, he feels that Wushu should also focus on strengthening packaging to make it more acceptable to the younger generation.
Learning Wushu while studying abroad
Fok’s obsession with martial arts came from Jin Yong’s (Louis Cha) novels he read when he was young. The seed of martial arts was sown because of thewonderful stories, but it took several years for it to really germinate and grow. Fok revealed that during his time in theUK, the upper secondary school he was attending stipulated that every student should choose at least one sport toparticipate in, and he chose judo. “The badminton courts were often occupiedby highly skilled students, so I could only set my sights on judo.”
The greater significance of judo to Fok is that it gave him a first glimpse of martial arts. Later, he went to Canada
for university study, where by chance, he learned Tai Chi from a master for many years, and he then switched to Yiquan (a form of martial arts that utilises the mind or intent). His reverie about Wushu as a child eventually developed in a foreign country into a lifelong interest.
Understanding the way of life through Wushu stance and movements
Fok modestly said that he chose Yiquan because he was “lazy”: “I can’t remember movements that are too complicated.” Having been training in Wushu for many years, he is grateful to this quintessence of Chinese culture for helping him gain spiritual peace in the turbulent business world. Just like Zhan Zhuang (standing in one stance), a daily basic practice of Yiquan practitioners, which Fok has been practising till now. However, he admitted that he did not pay much attention to the “health stance” when he was young, but he gradually realised the importance of these foundations when he got older.
Fok, who has deeply felt the benefitsof Wushu, is determined that his calling is to promote Wushu. He revealed that when he was invited by Xinhua News Agency's culture and sports department to establish the Hong Kong Wushu Union in the 1980s, his father Henry Fok once advised him not to do it. “Most of the time I would heed his advice, but this time I insisted.” Just like this, he has since become a representative figure in the Hong Kong Wushu community. Wushu was introduced as an official event at the Asian Games held in Beijing in 1990, and later became a permanent competition event, which made him very pleased.
Sincerity and conviction in a better future for Wushu
In the long run, Wushu must further become an Olympic event, which is still an unfulfilled ambition for Fok. In this regard, he said that more practical things should be done in Hong Kong at this moment. “Hong Kong actually has an abundance of Wushu resources. Over the years, many Wushu masters have travelled south to Hong Kong, bringing along their skills, and Hong Kong’s kung fu films are well-known far and wide. Therefore, we should do more promotion through education and building museums.” He firmly believes that Wushu will one day have a place on the world stage.