A Journey Through Wushu: A student's path of discovery

By Mea Jyn

Ever since I was young it was my desire to pursue the path of Wushu, or kungfu as I knew it back then. Introduced to it by my father through his personal insights and Bruce Lee movies, and then through actors like Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh, and Jet Li, to the ancient Chinese wuxia movies and now HK cinema I felt a deep connection somewhere, somehow and came to see it as more than a sport, more than an art, but as a unification of mind, body, and soul with a connection to the universe and my personal belief in God. In 2001 I diligently searched for a Wushu school, and during my research I was looking for specifics: background of the shifu (authenticity), styles taught (well-rounded), length of classes (quality), values and morals, and of course, price. I looked far and wide, and I stumbled upon SYL by pleasant surprise. From the website I found out everything I wanted to know and more, this website became the key to the door I was searching for. While not attending the school from 2001 to 2003 I used the website as a resource trying to prepare myself for what I knew was going to be intensive training and keeping myself up to date with events in the school. Finally, in 2004 I just did it. I was in Vancouver one day in January, just a spontaneous trip before work, and on my way out, I just remembered I had a chance to finally visit the school I knew so much about online: there was no turning back after that. I met Shifu and made a promise to show up at class, I couldn't disappoint him, I felt that it was my duty, and I did. I will never look back now; finally I am on my way to enlightenment. Finally, I am following my heart's desire. I would like a send out a special thanks to my dad for everything, thank you Shifu for your guidance, thank you Perry Lo for the key, thank you Derek Cheng for encouraging me 3 yrs ago, and now thanks to everyone who is helping me step-by-step in my lifelong pursuit of Wushu. I would like to share my journey with all those thinking about learning Wushu, those who don't know what Wushu is, and anyone willing to lend an ear.

I believe I was in my prime at 16. Every morning at 6 AM I would get up and follow a structured routine that I had created, probably the most structured thing in my life at the time. I would exercise for two hours beginning with an exercise to warm-up my muscles (running in place, jumping jacks), followed by some pre-stretching, then a 45min interval run, calisthenics and other resistance exercises, then some post-stretching, and a cool down (jogging, walking, walking home). Back then, I was proud of myself, I looked good, I felt good, and I loved what I did. However the stress of work and then a motorcycle accident (on a moped-cycle)I was in last year, stopped my treasured routine and everything that I had gained, I had lost twice as fast. Now I am trying to regain what I had lost and boy is it hard! Having started my Wushu I fully realize how out of shape I have become, and how un-flexible I am now. I have to realize when stretching that no matter how fast I achieve results, I still have to take it slow. This is NOT an option and I learned this the hard way: first it was a pulled hamstring on my right leg (the one that flew in abnormal directions during my accident), I recovered quickly and bounced back into my routine; then during a Friday warm-up front leg stretch I stretched a little too high (like, the splits on feet!), and now, its not a pulled hamstring but something is wrong with my right leg again and I've yet to get it checked(a different pulled muscle). At this rate, I'll never gain the flexibility I need to advance in my beloved passion. I would like to stress to all beginners: GO SLOW! Wushu is not something you can learn in a day; it is a lifelong learning. I use to have a Chinese proverb written in my training journal:

"If the grass and trees do not face the challenges of frost and snow, their nature will not be strong. If I do not face trials and tribulations, virtuous knowledge cannot be attained."

Three years ago, I knew I would be here eventually, now here I am.