The Cuban Wushu School
The Cuban Wushu School was founded in 1995 by Master Roberto Vargas Lee, after he returned from studying Wushu at the Beijing Sports University. Currently, the School has more than 7 thousand practitioners in 15 provinces of Cuba, and students in more than 15 countries abroad.
The Cuban Wushu School is an official member of the International Wushu Federation (IWUF) and the Chinese Health Qigong Association. Delegations of both organizations have visited Cuba to give classes, exhibitions and seminars.
The Cuban Wushu School’s main objectives are promoting and developing not just Chinese martial arts, but Chinese culture in general and its roots in Cuban history, through community work across the country.
In its 16 years of existence, the Cuban Wushu School has been awarded several medals and distinctions across international events, mainly in China. To date its students have won thirtysix medals in Wushu competitions including World Championships, International Taijiquan Conferences and others. The School plays an active role in Cuban society and cultural life. It has participated in many official ceremonies with the presence of Chinese President Xu Jintao and other prominent members of the Chinese government. The School has also performed with Shaolin Monastery monks on two occasions in Havana.
The School has excellent relationships with official institutions of the People’s Republic of China including the Chinese Olympic Committee as well as the International Wushu Federation and Chinese Health Qigong Association already mentioned. Additionally two of its main students have studied at the Wen Wu International Wushu School, headed by Master Xu Changwen. Master Roberto Vargas Lee travels each year to China to attend competitions, seminars and other events, striving to maintain the technical excellence of the School’s curriculum.
The School is proud and very grateful to have received important donations from Chinese authorities proffering important and valuable tools for the development Wushu in Cuba. It has also received the support of the Chinese Embassy in Havana. Various Chinese ambassadors and other functionaries have visited the School on many occasions, and invited the School to take part in celebrations they have organized.
Each morning, more than two hundred people practice Taijiquan, Qigong and other disciplines at the school’s main site in Havana’s Chinatown. These sessions also take place at other sites across the capital and in other provinces, so thousands of people are enjoying the health benefits of these traditional Chinese practices. This has been going on for over fifteen years, significantly raising the profile of these disciplines and increasing their popularity throughout the Cuban population.
The School also aims to propagate other Chinese traditions, such as the Lion and Dragon Dances.
The vast majority of Chinese migrants to Cuba before 1959 came from the south of the country, mainly from what is now Guandong province. The School was therefore the first to introduce Northern Chinese traditions to Cuba - the Northern Lion Dance, and Changquan amongst other northern martial disciplines. Nowadays, both the Northern and Southern Lion Dances, the Dragon Dance and several Wushu styles are performed at the official displays the School organizes.
Preserving and promoting Chinese culture is the core aim of the Cuban Wushu School, alongside promoting the human health and welfare benefits of Chinese traditions and thus preserving the Cuban people’s connections to their Chinese roots.