10th Pan American Wushu Championships

Last October, I took time off of my studies at Quest to compete at the World Wushu Championships and the World Combat Games (which I wrote about in this blog post http://questadmissions.com/2013/11/15/world-wushu-championships/). Last month I competed for the first time since then at the 10th Pan American Wushu Championships in San Jose, Costa Rica.

The Pan-American Wushu Championships are held every two years and include countries from North America and South America. Of course, Wushu is much more popular in Asia, so it was great to see that the competition was so well attended, with full teams from both the US and Canada, as well as large teams from Mexico and Brazil.

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After the spring term ended in April, I had only four months to prepare. I trained at a gym in Richmond, BC, with my coach and also independently with a few of my teammates. I conditioned more than I ever have in the past by doing strength and endurance classes outside of regular wushu practice, which I think benefited me a fair bit.

My only small setback came just four days before my flight, when I sprained my finger smashing a staff on the ground during practice. Although colourful and very swollen for a few days, luckily my finger injury wasn’t serious enough to stop me from competing. I was definitely a bit cautious on the first day of competition (hand form), however I taped up my finger and because of the adrenaline from competing I only really noticed my finger hurting after I finished my form. Overall, I placed 3rd in changquan (long fist), and 2nd in gunshu (staff) and jianshu (straightsword). For those who may have never heard of wushu, here is a video of my staff form from the competition:

After the three days of competition,  I had another three weeks before October block started, so I decided to travel around Costa Rica with some of my teammates from Vancouver. It was actually my second time visiting Costa Rica, but we ended up visiting different places than I had on my previous visit. From San José, we took a bus to the Caribbean coast for three days to see the nesting of the  green sea turtles on Tortuguero beach. We then traveled to the west coast of the country to spend two days at a resort on the beach, and finally back to Alajuela, where we saw the Poás Volcano (kind of—it was very foggy) and hiked through the rainforest at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens.

Even though I may be making up the courses I have missed next summer, I am very grateful that Quest’s block program allows for me to be able to leave for competitions without the stress of missing classes, which many of my teammates have to contend with. Some are forced to give up training to go to university, but I can’t imagine doing that yet. So for now I will have to deal with giving up training full time for the rest of the school year, then go back to training again in the summer to prepare for the 2015 Canadian National Team Trials.

Butterfly at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Butterfly at the La Paz Waterfall Gardens
Spider monkey in Tortuguero National Park
Spider monkey in Tortuguero National Park

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