Chinese Delegation Kung Fu Demo - 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin - Closing Ceremony -

Published on Feb 17, 2021
The 1936 Berlin Olympics were very controversial and historically significant for many reasons. China sent a Wushu Team and it is often cited as the one of the first international demonstrations of Chinese martial arts. On the team were some of the leading proponents of the day: Fu Shuyun, Jin Shisheng, Kou Yunxing, Liu Yuhua, Wen Jingming, Zhai Lianyuan, Zhang Erding, Zhang Wenguang, and Zheng Huaixian. Zhang Wenguang was a noted professor at the Beijing Physical Education University and Zheng Huaixian was President of the Chinese Wushu Association. Their names pop up prominently whenever you do research on wushu.
Demo of Chinese Martial Arts at 1936 Olympic Game in Berlin
The performers were mostly (or all?) graduates of the Zhongyang Guoshu Guan (Central Guoshu Institute) in Nanjing. They were:
Zhang Wenguang
Wen Jingming
Zheng Huaixian
Jin Shisheng
Zhang Erding
Kou Yunxing
Zhai Lianyuan
Fu Shuyun
Liu Yuhua
Reportedly, Hitler was particularly impressed by the Taiji performed by Fu Shuyun.

From the official reports of the games, available at

The gymnastics of the Chinese team introduced the spectators into an entirely different world.
The demonstration of “Chinese Boxing” on August 11th in the Dietrich Eckart Open-Air Theatre
showed that Chinese gymnastics arc based upon ancient Chinese conceptions of the universe. The
individual exercises have the purpose of giving the body the highest degree of suppleness and
elasticity, with self-defense in view. In the partner exercises, which must be carried out with great
speed, the Chinese displayed an insensitivity to hard and fast blows which was astonishing. The
exercises with the sword, spear and pike were noteworthy. These weapons were carried past the
body in dangerous proximity. This was nerve-racking for the spectators but it proved the courage
and daring taught by these exercises.
In conclusion it can be said that a more comprehensive review of the physical training methods
in the various countries had never been afforded, and in this respect the 23th Olympic Games
provided a mighty impulse for physical culture throughout the world.
The different methods of exercising and the conceptions of the true aim of physical education
which prevailed in the various nations awakened the interest of the spectators to an unusual
extent. The marching of the groups, mass exercises, rhythm, tempo, agility, strength and
suppleness all combined to prove in a most convincing manner the extreme value of definitely
organized physical culture. It may be truthfully asserted that the gymnastic demonstrations
supplemented the athletic competitions in an outstanding manner. For the participants themselves
the opportunity of being present at the Olympic Festival provided a rich source of new experiences
and ideas, a means of furthering a common ideal and the occasion for comparing individual
ability and methods with those of other nations. The demonstrations of the national groups
were given a prominent place in the Olympic programme and served to lend variety and novelty
to the Festival.

The official Book about the presentation of Tai Chi Chuan on the Olympics 1936 in Berlin. It has 26 pages and is in German, English and French. The Tai Chi itself was shown at the 11.8.36 on the Dietrich-Eckart-Stage. Interesting that Tai Chi was present to the public in the west so early.
Most authorities credit the author to be Chu Man-yi, a student of Wu Jian -quan, with inventing both the Tai Chi ruler and the Tai Chi ball shortly after the First World War. His idea was that simple turning, twisting and circling movements based on Tai Chi form and Western Gymnastics could replace the form, which he considered too complex for some students.
Unfortunately Chu was part of the WWII Japanese puppet govt in china and was executed at age 62.

As Foreign Minister, he negotiated the November 30, 1940 treaty in which Tokyo accorded formal diplomatic recognition to the Nanjing Nationalist Government and worked to secure diplomatic recognition by the Axis Powers by the end of 1941. He was awarded the Order of the Rising Sun (1st class) by Emperor Hirohito. Chu continued to pay an important role in the Nanjing Nationalist Government until the end of World War II.

In 1945, after the surrender of Japan, Chu was taken into custody by the Republic of China government in Guangdong in August 1945. He was brought to trial in Nanjing on charges of treason in April 1946. There was considerable public sympathy for Chu at the time of his trial for many people found it hard to consider Chu as a national traitor due his record as a Chinese nationalist. Many people considered his wartime role as a result of his personal loyalty to Wang Jingwei. Nevertheless, Chu was found guilty of treason and executed at Suzhou on August 23, 1946. His last words were “I am not ashamed for my living, yet my death will make more value. My body should be sent to the hospital to assist the study on medicine.”

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