China's proud Islamic legacy is very interesting and something which all people, Muslim and non-Muslim alike, can take pride in. For example, Han Chinese Muslims developed many of the forms of Wushu.

 

Towards the end of the Mongol Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368), there arose a popular uprising led by Zhu Yuanzhang who succeeded in toppling the imperial court and founded the Ming Dynasty, of which he was the first emperor.

 

Rallied under Zhu Yuanzhang's banner were famous generals like Zhang Yuzhun, Hu Dahai, Li Muying, Lan Yu, Feng Sheng and Ding Dexing, who were all Han Chinese Muslim wushu masters (wushu is Chinese for "martial arts"). The famous "kaiping qiangfa" (kaiping art of wielding the spear), is said to have been evolved by General Zhang Yuzhun.

 

Ma Shouying, who rose in rebellion together with Li Zicheng (known as King Chuang) during the Manchu Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) were also Han Chinese Muslims, as were most of the insurgents under their command.

 

Prior to the invention of rapid fire rifles and other modern weapons, Wushu constituted the major means of combat and self-defense.

 

To foster perseverance and courage among the Han Chinese Muslims, their ulamas called upon them to learn Wushu as a "holy practice" in the struggle for character development and self-improvement. During the Lesser Bairam (Festival of Fast Breaking), Corban and the Prophet Mohammad's (salla'llahu 'alaihi wassallama) birthday, Muslims of all nationalities all over China often gather at the local mosques to hold Wushu contests or give exhibitions.

 

In 1936, Zhang Wenguang, a Han Chinese Muslim, attended the XIth Olympic Games in Berlin as a specially invited member on the Chinese Wushu team which gave demonstrations at the Games, as Wushu was not listed as an event at the Olympics.

 

 

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