The South China Morning Post is reporting that the Shaolin Temple is planning on hosting its first ever "world martial arts competition".
It's being billed as an opportunity for martial artists all over the world to come and compete together in forms, "iron body", and even fighting (presumably San Shou/Sanda). But, as with pretty much anything in the martial arts world, this announcement is having mixed reactions.
A lot of folks are pretty excited about it. Many martial arts can trace their lineage, in some form or fashion, back to Shaolin. So, to have a tournament in this historically important martial arts "cradle" is a big deal.
However, you've also got the "anti-competition" crowd who's bitching that Shaolin is no place for this kind of event. The argument is that fighting and competing somehow hurts the reputation of the temple. Obviously, this completely ignores the fact that the temple had a fighting force which participated in armed conflicts at as far back as the Tang dynasty.
My opinion is, this is a good thing for martial arts in general and traditional martial arts specifically. Shaolin Temple is a major symbol/archetype in the martial arts community. Having an international competition where martial artists of various styles can compete as friends and fellow fighters is very positive.
What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments section.