Wushu in Old Havana’s Chinatown


Photo Feature by Greg Rothschild

HAVANA TIMES – In Chinatown , Old Havana, there is the Cuban martial arts school of Wushu. Founded and led by Roberto Vargas Lee, the school teaches the philosophy, spiritualism and physical skills of Chinese martial arts to Cubans. His students learn discipline, how to be at peace and in harmony with nature and the world around them.

The students are young and old, from all walks of life. Many of his students take what they learn and go on to teach martial arts throughout Cuba. The School of Cuban Wushu is a sanctuary of peace amid the vibrant energetic old town.

As always in Cuba, we were greeted with great respect and kindness when we visited. Master Lee had his entire school there to give us a demonstration of what they do. It was beautiful in so many ways- flowing movements of incredible grace, bright colorful people moving in unison, all balanced, all with great focus and we, my family and friends from America, were deeply moved.

These photos show a little of what we saw. In some of the images you can see the intense focus of the students as their graceful movements were frozen in time.

(Click on an image to display the gallery.)

One thought on “Wushu in Old Havana’s Chinatown

  • Martial arts have long been entwined with the Cuban tradition of self defense “repartiendo galleta”. My grandfather was a disabled street vendor- to protect himself from the criminal bands of “buoneros” he would often employ wushu or defensive prancing techniques. It’s a great thing to see new generations of martial artists!

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