Young Chinese students dressed flight attendant uniforms learn Wing Chun, a concept-based Chinese martial art, at Sichuan Southwest Vocational College of Civil Aviation in Chengdu city, southwest Chinas Sichuan province, 16 June 2014.
Flight attendants in China may soon have a new tool in their arsenal for fighting terrorism.
Attendant trainees at Sichuan Southwest Vocational College of Civil Aviation, in the city of Chengdu in China's Sichuan province, are learning kung fu in addition to the more typical in-flight duties, according to China Daily.
The college has started a special course to teach its 20,000 students how to subdue opponents while on board, hiring trainers steeped in the tradition of kung fu.
"The threat of terrorism is increasing and so personnel must really be equipped to deal with life and death situations at thousands of feet up in the air," said Tu Tengyao, a trainer at the college who is the son of legendary kung fu master Ye Wen. "It is impossible to use firearms in such places so people must rely on their wits and their strengths. I hone them into becoming adept martial art practitioners."
Ye Wen passed down the tradition of Wing Chun kung fu. The college said Wing Chun is "quite suitable to be practiced in narrow and confined spaces" — and it is not the first organization to consider it for air safety.
In 2011, Hong Kong Airlines required all cabin crew to train in Wing Chun, according to South China Morning Post.
Wing Chun is also known as Ving Tsun or Wing Tsun. It is specifically for close-range combat, and the moves focus on striking and grappling.
Although the intended purpose of the course, called Eighteen Combat Movements of Anti-Terrorists in Civil Aviation, is to combat potential terrorists, the tactics could also be used against drunk or otherwise disorderly passengers.