'Kung fu Granny' becomes Internet celebrity

Zhang Hexian, 94, and a student practice kung fu in Dongyuan village, Ninghai county, East China's Zhejiang province, on Feb 15, 2017. [Photo/VCG].

NINGBO: A stick in hand, 94-year-old kung fu granny Zhang Hexian fights local bullies and protect her fellow villagers.

The granny has long been well-known in her hometown, Ninghai County, eastern China's Zhejiang Province. Recently, she has become a celebrity on Chinese social media, with some netizens saying that they wanted to be her disciples.

Zhang started to learn martial arts from her father at the age of four. "My father would teach me kung fu skills even when in bed," she says.

Every day, she gets up at 5 a.m., practices kung fu moves, and has some porridge or noodles for breakfast. She grows vegetables, chops wood and cooks meals by herself, since her husband passed away several years ago.

Kung fu has brought her good health.

"My mom has never been to the hospital, and would recover from occasional colds after some sleep," said Feng Chuanyin, Zhang's son. "She never takes health products such as vitamins or supplements."

Video clips and pictures of her practising kung fu have went viral.

"My dear granny, You are so great!" read one post on Sina Weibo, a Twitter-like service. The netizen wished she would live more than 100 years.

"Granny, do you still want to have disciples," asked another netizen. Some netizens even said they wanted their children to learn kung fu from her.

Kung fu has not only brought her a strong body, but also romance.

At 14, she met a man named Feng Yongkai, who was four years older than her. He was a kung fu student of Zhang's father.

They would practice kung fu together in the mountain, gradually falling in love before getting married.

Zhang's kung fu has even helped her deal with robbers. Once coming across three robbers on a mountain, she shouted "Dare you come and fight me?" and brought down two of them before they could even react. The third, realizing he had no chance, quickly ran off.

Kung fu has given her strong arms, making her able to do large-pot cooking. Considered the best cook in her village in the 1970s, she once cooked as many as 52 dishes for a single banquet. Now in her nineties, she is still able to thread a needle by herself.

Practicing kung fu is a tradition in her family. Zhang has taught her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren kung fu.

"We practice kung fu for health reasons and self-defense," said Feng Chuanyin. "My mom tells us that attacking others is absolutely unacceptable."

In good spirits, Zhang said that she wanted to teach kung fu to younger generations and pass it on. – China Daily/Asia News Network

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