Duiu Onofrei, a Romanian martial arts instructor and volunteer, has lived in Shenzhen for five years. He came to China as he was fascinated by the country that is known as the birthplace of martial arts. Onofrei dreams to inherit and carry forward the spirit of martial arts, and encourages more young people to practice martial arts in Shenzhen.
Video and photos by Lin Jianping except otherwise stated 视频、摄影：林建平
If you happen to see a male expat leading a group of teenagers practicing Wushu, or martial arts, in a park or by the seaside in Shenzhen, that might be Duiu Onofrei, who has been teaching Qwan Ki Do in the city for five years.
Duiu Onofrei performs martial arts for Shenzhen Daily journalists.
Seeking for martial arts root with dream and duty
Onofrei, a Romanian martial arts instructor and volunteer, came to China because he was fascinated by the country, which is known as the birthplace of martial arts. Onofrei said he dreams to inherit and carry forward the spirit of martial arts, and to encourage more young people to practice martial arts in Shenzhen.
Onofrei at an interview with Shenzhen Daily.
Onofrei started to practice martial arts in his teens 34 years ago in his native Romania. He said he watched a lot of Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee movies and was fascinated by their movements. This is the reason why Onofrei unhesitatingly joined his friend when he saw him practicing some martial arts moves.
One morning after Onofrei arrived in Shenzhen, he got up early wondering what it was like in China in the morning, and he saw groups of people practicing tai chi at around 6:30 a.m. Onofrei spent hours watching them and noticed that the same group of people came back to practice again in the afternoon and evening.
“I thought their performances had already reached a high level, because Qwan Ki Do also embodies tai chi movements, but they still practiced three times a day! Sometimes, I would communicate and share our knowledge and experience with some Chinese Kung Fu teachers and practitioners,” he said.
Onofrei teaches martial arts to kids. Photo courtesy of the interviewee
Onofrei regularly teaches martial arts for free at the Nanshan International Cultural Exchange and Service Center. Last year, he organized a Chinese team to represent China to attend the seventh Qwan Ki Do martial arts world championship and won five medals, including one gold and one silver for an individual event, and three bronzes for a team event. He said he dreams to make Shenzhen the host city for the next world championship in 2025, which has been approved by the Qwan Ki Do international committee.
Enjoying quality life in city of urban civilization
“In Shenzhen, I’ve never seen a taxi or a bus that wouldn’t stop when seeing pedestrians passing through the crossroads. It’s a kind of respect in traffic, according to what I saw. In addition, you can just scan a QR code to ride a shared bike, and put the bike in the special parking place. Everyone can follow the rules, this is the embodiment of urban civilization. That’s why I suddenly realized that I’m living a high-level quality life here in Shenzhen,” he said.
Onofrei poses for a photo in front of the Minghua Cruise in Shekou, Nanshan District.
Onofrei has started his family in Shenzhen and now has a 3-year-old son. “Living here in Shenzhen and Shekou gives me many options where I want to bring my kid to have some fun. There are so many parks and playgrounds, as well as the sea, near our home,” he said. “The city develops and changes so fast! If you revisit a place one or two months later, you may find something new there – new parks, buildings and roads, etc. This makes life relaxing, and I don’t want to leave Shenzhen. I think this is a perfect place for me to raise my son.”
Unlocking new life experience as a volunteer
Volunteering is another brand-new life experience that Onofrei “unlocked” in Shenzhen.
“I signed up as soon as I saw the international volunteer recruitment information. I found that helping someone without expecting payment or anything in return gave me a feeling of satisfaction,” he said. He also believed that volunteering is giving back to the community as the local government had been leaving no stone unturned to improve local residents’ living conditions through effort like street renovations and building new public facilities.
Onofrei answers a citizen's question while serving as a voluntter in Shekou.
“I encourage everyone to try at least once, to wear the red jacket, and to participate in some volunteer work. Believe me, it will give you a special feeling,” he said.