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White Tiger Shaolin Kung Fu academy, a fully fledged Kung Fu training institution based in Francistown is currently constructing a Shaolin Kung Fu temple in the second city.
The temple which is the first of its kind in the country will be situated right at the foot of Nyangabgwe Hill. The Hill is one of Francistown’s famous landmarks. The Shaolin temple is expected to handle over 230 students.
The training academy targets both children and adults. Children aged from as young as three years to 16 years are admitted.
Master Maclean “Young” Gaethuse who is the founder and teacher (Sifu) at White Tiger Shaolin academy told the Sunday Standard last week in an interview that he decided to construct this temple as part of his academy’s growth.
“A Chinese friend of mine from China advised me to build a Shaolin Kung Fu temple as this will give my Kung Fu institution an impetus. I agreed to the idea. I am proud to admit that the institution has grown in leaps and bounds. It was self financed and began from humble beginnings. We now have over 174 students and we have four combis that we use to transport our members. We are currently doing bush clearing for the temple project,” he said.
Tracing its roots from China(Henan Province), Shaolin Kung Fu which is also known as Shaolin Wushu is one of the oldest and famous styles of Kung Fu. Kung Fu is a sophisticated method of fighting where one uses hands, feet and weapons.
History suggests that it was started in the 5th and 6th centuries by an Indian Monk only known as Bordhidama who is the supposed founder of Chinese Chan (Zan) Bhuddism.
While it has been transformed into sport over the years, Shaolin Kung Fu is also used as meditation, installation of discipline and physical exercise to promote healthy living.
Gaethuse revealed that the temple will cost close to P400 000 to be built and construction will be completed before the third quarter of this year. He revealed that in the meantime, the academy has leased buildings from various landlords in Francistown. He said the temple project is self financed with the help of the community, especially the parents who have children training at the institution.
“The community of Francistown has been very supportive towards this project and I am very thankful to them. I want to clear one myth. Shaolin temple is not only used by Bhuddists monks for religious purposes as some people assum, but it can be used for Kung Fu training purposes alone. I am a Christian but I am constructing the temple merely as a hall for training purposes. The temple will also encompass a library for students as I also encourage children to take their education seriously,” he said.
Gaethuse has engaged an experienced Kung Fu Instructor from Zambia, Matthew Banda who also goes by the name “Obama Wushu” He will be the Chief Instructor at the Temple.
The instructor according to Gaethuse boasts 17 years of Kung Fu experience. Banda has also trained in China where he acquired several medals and certificates. Gaethuse will be engaged in the academy’s administrative work.
“Obama Wushu is a well trained martial arts instructor who has acquired several medals and certificates in Shaolin Kung Fu. He is one of the best in his home country of Zambia. This time around I will be more involved in the academy’s administrative work and he will be the Chief Instructor at the temple,” explained Gaethuse.
Whiter Tiger Kung Fu Academy was established in 2013 and became active in 2015. The institution has members from several schools in Francistown and the surrounding villages.