January 26, 2009

Do You Wushu?

Today is Chinese New Year, one of the biggest celebrations of the year for Asian families around the world. So, it seems only fitting that AWB celebrates with a traditional Chinese activity: Wushu!

If the word "wushu" is new to you, the odds are that wushu itself is not. Wushu is the umbrella name given to all Chinese fighting systems ranging from what Americans call Kung Fu to tai chi to sparring. The various arts may use weapons (sword, saber, staff, etc.) or barehands. All train body, mind and spirit.

For the most obvious examples of "Kung Fu" think Jackie Chan, Jet Li and the Shaolin Monks. (OK, the monks have recently starred in "Superstars of Dance," but they're still demonstrating moves that are centuries old.) All those examples are clearly men and since I want to inspire you to give wushu a shot, I want to introduce you to Vanessa Loza, a fabulous real-life young woman who recently won a gold medal for the US Wushu team -- our first since 1985! Click here to see Vanessa and her staff in action.

Vanessa trains at the US Wushu Academy in Virginia but you can find a school in your area by clicking here or by searching Google. The key is to shop around to find the school that's right for you. Visit schools, talk with the instructor, take a test class and then get ready for a whole new wushu you!

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