Military gymnastics gain popularity in Wuhan
By Wu Guoxiu

What do gymnastics and the military have in common? Both require being in tip-top shape. In the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the two have come together in a dynamic and attractive way, and many locals there are getting in on the action.

The dancers are not soldiers, but want to be as close to army personnel as possible. The set of military-style gymnastics the seniors perform is themed on "recalling the military journey."

Wuhan has been promoting such exercises since last September among the public.

Huang Jinxia, coach of military gymnastics said, "Many of us wanted to join the military, but didn't become soldiers. These gymnastics can help us improve body health and feel energetic. We dance in mornings and evenings, many locals enjoy watching us, and some join."

For years, Chinese seniors have had the habit of dancing in squares and parks for exercise. Designers of these military gymnastics want to make them easy for ordinary people, while keeping the very essence of military steps.

"We designed three sets, for teenagers, young people and seniors. Almost 10,000 people in the city are being trained for or are attending matches for these gymnastics, themed around the Military World Games," says Wang Pei, an aerobics instructor at Wuhan Sports University.

Although the upcoming event is totally military, some locals in the host city want to get themselves connected in certain ways. Citizens hope it can be a special new calling card for the city, the first in China to host the world's most important military sporting event.