NANSANA, Uganda October 1 (Reuters) – Children punch, push and sprint through an open-air, clay court in Nansana, central Uganda, hoping to become a Kung Fu master or even the East African country’s first Olympian in sports.
They are the students of Manisuru Kizza Ssejjemba, 30, who fell in love with the martial art form after watching Jet Li movies as a teenager.
Ssejjemba, who had previously trained in kickboxing, became so skilled that in 2009 he started acting in films directed by Wakaliwood, a Ugandan low-budget action film company.
“Who Killed Captain Alex,” Wakaliwood’s biggest movie, has nearly 6.5 million views on YouTube.
Ssejjemba has high hopes for his students.
“Even though a person can go and compete in [the] The Olympics … it will be great for me, “he said, a golden dragon sporting the back of his black robe.
Kung Fu is not currently an Olympic sport, but promoters are fighting for its inclusion. It is an event of the Youth Olympic Games.
“I will never give up until Kung Fu reaches (the) top,” Ssejjemba said.
His passion for teaching others was fostered when he traveled to China in 2017 to train with Kung Fu experts.
“We went over there and made a movie which is known as ‘Bruce U’ … [the] Abbot, and he told us to come back to Africa and spread Kung Fu, ”Ssejjemba said.
So Ssejjemba did it.
He opened the Kiman Lee Fitness Club in his garden where he trains young people between 5 and 16 years old. Many of her students are girls, encouraged by their communities to learn self-defense skills.
“It helped me gain strength, stability and fitness,” said Shirat Najemba, frowning in concentration as she trained.
Reporting by Francis Mukasa, written by Ayenat Mersie; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise
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