Zhang Hexian, a 93-year-old grandmother recently became a social media sensation in China after photos of her practicing kung fu went viral.
Zhang was born in 1924,when China was still at war with other countries,so Kung fu was a good way of learning self defense. Zhang started practising Kung fu when she was four years old.
“It’s my family tradition that has lasted more than 300 years.”The type of kung fu Zhang practices originates from Fujian province and encompasses 15 different styles.Each style has about 36 moves. She says it takes about three years to fully learn one style. Zhang has mastered all of them – but recalls the hardest part was at the very beginning.
“Most difficult was learning to squat firmly, because it made my muscles so sore,” Zhang says. “I remember being so sore, I couldn’t even go to the bathroom. And we were a poor family, so after practicing I’d be starving and we’d have nothing to eat.”she tells CNN
Despite that, Zhang stuck with the practice every day, even well into her golden years — waking up every morning at 5 a.m. to exercise. Her favourite type of kung fu involves using bamboo sticks to fight an opponent.
She credits kung fu, plenty of sleep and a healthy diet of mainly vegetables and a little bit of meat for keeping her healthy, pointing out that she’s never had to go to the hospital.
“To have good body, you need to exercise and keep a positive attitude,” she says. “It’s also important to help others as often as you can.”
Many of Zhang’s family members have moved away over the years, so they don’t often get together to practice kung fu. Zhang filled the void by teaching her neighbours
And of her new found internet fame, Zhang remains quite modest.
“I never thought about being famous,” she said. “If people love kung fu, my family can teach them. We have been teaching people around here — but I never imagined we’d get the attention of others around the world.”