How and when did you start doing wushu?
In 1994 my mom enrolled me in kung fu classes because she thought I was weak. Walking in I was skeptical whether I would like it at all but from the moment I was taught my first stance I was absolutely in love.
How did you get involved with judging wushu competitions? What are your thoughts on going from a practitioner to a judge? Has being a judge influenced your own wushu? If so, how?
My first judging experience was in a University Wushu Games organized by Terp Wushu. At first it worried me, would it mean that my days of competing would be over soon? Being a judge has had a big influence on my own Wushu to see what it is like from the judge’s side of the table. If you want to impress someone who’s tired, hungry and probably has a headache from watching and focusing on so many forms then you better be good. Judging has taught me to more appreciate basics and fundamentals. In the end it does not matter what form you do, just make it good.
How did you get into sanda? What are your thoughts on the bridge between sanda and wushu taolu? How has sanda influenced your taolu or vice versa?
I’ve done a good amount of fighting practice in the past but never true Sanda training as I am unfamiliar with the throws and wrestling. I love that the World Wushu Championships includes Sanda and Taolu. I like to think that there is a lot of mutual respect between athletes of the two disciplines and bringing them together in the WWC helps that. My Sifu, Anthony Goh, always emphasized that whatever is done in a form it must clearly show intent, application and power. So every move I do I try to do it with the focus of a fighter hitting a pad or an opponent.
Tell me about a favorite wushu memory?
In 2015 my school put on a big performance on the steps of the Baltimore Museum of Art celebrating the reopening of their Asian art wing. It was a perfect sunny June day, not too hot with a refreshing breeze if you took a moment to enjoy it. The weather meant we had a great crowd. At one point I was finishing the compulsory chen taiji jian form. From the steps my eyes were focused not on the crowd below but on the trees across the street. I slowly stood up at the end of the form, watched the leaves sway in the wind and felt the breeze along with an overwhelming sense of pride of my wushu practice and where it has lead me.
What motivates you to practice these days?
I still hope to improve. Whenever I watch a video of myself I am never satisfied with my performance or ability. But most of all, it’s still fun to do. Though I know I am not the best, it gives me a moment in my day when I feel powerful and in control.
How have you seen the wushu community change over the years?
The wushu community seems to be getting a lot younger! I am impressed with what American athletes are capable of doing these days. While, realistically, I may not be able to achieve much more, I am excited to see what the next generations will be able to do.