25.000 martial arts students in a school alone. There are over 20 schools around the Shaolin Temple in Henan. Plus trainee in the various temples, institutes, private institutions. There are over 12 Kung Fu shows per day in the Shaolin School theatre, and one spectacular, gigantic evening open air presentation involving over 700 actors at the feet of the sacred mountain.
Chinese numbers, of course, for Chinese people: not a single foreign face around. What this country is becoming is clearer when we consider what it is doing even with it's own culture, besides the assumption of foreign influences. Masses are getting interested in the commercially evolved tradition. Some see the Shaolin martial art as a form of identity, of national pride. Others as an option to search for fame and money. The most are just curious consumers, travel by the thousands and tour around.
China is changing fast: faster then the words to describe the change..
What is disappointing to me is the disrespect for the old real thing. Everywhere in China old building are demolished to make space to fake new ones. The word restoration is ignored, except with very important monuments. Whole cities, like Lijiang, are the Chinese version of Disneyworld.
But it's their land and their history, and they don't like to be criticized. Sometimes I think at President Mao, still appearing on the Yuan notes (when I was sixteen, in the flumes of ideology, I called myself a Maoist), and see him more imprisoned then glorified in his mausoleum..