Standing with his feet apart and bent knees, Benson Kuria raises his hands in a claw shape as he gets ready to execute the dragon move.
The 26-year-old is practicing Chinese martial arts Kungfu at the Kiambu community hall which is located about 16 kilometers east of the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. The part-time teacher trains on the weekends together with other Kungfu enthusiasts. Kuria is among a growing army of Kenyan youth who have embraced the sport due to its myriad benefits like improving physical fitness.He told Xinhua during a recent interview that since he began participating in Kungfu, his strength and endurance have greatly improved. “Kungfu involves a lot of dynamic stretching where most body muscles are engaged,” said Kuria.
Ngaruiya Njonge, chairman of Kenya Kungfu Wushu Federation said that there are currently eight clubs in the country that are actively involved in the Kungfu. He is keen to popularize the sport among the youth because it will improve their confidence to deal with life’s numerous challenges. He is currently training children as young as ten years in Kungfu in order to inculcate the sport among school-going pupils. And Njonge also trains adults in the evenings where he holds one-hour sessions. Larry Kamau is a member of Nairobi’s Kayole Kungfu club that also conducts weekly session training at a local sport ground. He was drawn to the martial arts because it advocates for self-defense and non-aggression.He said that he likes practicing the horse stance which involves standing with feet apart in a squatting position while swinging the arms in the air. “The sport has helped to improve my stamina,” said Kamau.