Sebastian (they/them) // Kid’s Wushu // July 2022
There is a special spot in my heart for Sebastian because, in many ways, we began our journey at East Cloud together. While there were students that stayed with us from the former school and those that joined later, Sebastian began their kungfu studies at the same time that I returned home to take over the school. I can recall those early days, when I was still “undercover” and before it was announced that I would be their new teacher, when we were studying as classmates side by side.I remember helping them as we learned together, neither one of us realizing at the time of how those moments would foreshadow the time to come. Now, here we are, still learning and growing together here at this school.
In watching them change over the past 4 years, I appreciate who Sebastian is growing up to be. Their intelligence was clear from the beginning, always learning rapidly, developing strategies anywhere and everywhere, and insightful for someone so young. They have naturally both a great strength and softness that over time, they are learning to balance. Furthermore, they display a high level of respect to those around them, as well as diligence in their training while at the same time, have never been afraid to be different and to be themselves. I am so proud of this kid as I watch them continue to develop their training and themselves and I look forward to seeing what these next years have in store for them!
Thank you Sebastian for always being you, continuing strong down your path and sharing this journey with me!
(Imari) Tell me about how you first got into kungfu?
(Sebastian) We had been looking at martial arts options for a while. There was this one karate place but me being my usual shy self back then, I didn’t go in, didn’t try out, didnt choose it. Then my dad found this and we joined.
(I) Okay, why did you want to do martial arts?
(S) Mostly caused it seemed cool, that’s every 7 year old’s dream, right? You can fight cool and do cool things.
(I) Sure 🙂 What were your thoughts when we first practiced together and how did you feel when you learned I was going to become your new teacher? If you remember, I know that was a long time ago.
(S) So you had just gotten here and I was like “wow, there is this new person that I had never seen before and then Master Chen taught us that variation of longfist 1. And then I thought “wow this is a great person” and then you became the teacher and I thought “that’s awesome” cause you’re really nice and stuff and then class changed, I think for the better, we had a set routine which I am better with and it was nice and fun.
(I) What has been the most useful thing you have learned in your training?
(S) Probably that change doesnt come immediately. You can work on something and do really well one day but if you dont do it the next day, nothing will happen. You could forget, you could lose practice, many things but change won’t come immediately.
(I) Great, nice. What is the hardest lesson for you to learn?
(S) Probably respect, I was a pretty bad kid. I was really mean to my friends and such.
(I) I never saw that side of you.
(S) Yeah, I have like 3 personalities. Um, but I wasn’t really that good of a kid to others so probably respect. It has also been a sort of a journey. Changing myself to be better.
(I) Yes, it is for all of us. Okay, so for covid we did a lot of training outside. How did you like it? Do you prefer training inside or outside? Pros and Cons of each.
I like outside, I could even say I like it better. First of all, wind. Inside you dont really get wind. The A.C. works and is nice but it is not as good as wind. But the outside there is the sun, it is hot and burning down on us. In here, it is just lights. Also we can do stretches more easily inside because there’s no bugs and mud. I would still say I like the outside more just because nature is just nice.
(I) Yeah, I do too. So, how has kungfu helped you the most in your life? I know you said respect is one, is there anything else?
(S) Well, I did become stronger, I can show off with my friend groups now. I’m like the second strongest person there.
(I) You’ve always been a pretty strong kid though
(S) Yeah, beside physical capabilities, I can’t think of anything besides respect or like, just working on something consistently.
(I) What goals do you have for yourself for this next year?
Do some mini workouts outside of this if I can keep on it. Get stronger, more flexible, I need to work on my split and a bit on the backbends and definitely polish up some details.
(I) Those are good goals. Can you share a piece of kungfu wisdom?
(S) Make friends. They make the experience a lot better. They will encourage you, help you set new goals for yourself, and keep pushing you. They’re a lot of fun and they keep you going.
(I) I feel that too. I like training with friends too.
(S) I can’t keep anything consistent on my own
(I) I have also struggled a lot with that myself in my life. It’s hard but at some point you realize you have to learn to also be able to be independent. It is good to have the group and it is helpful for sure but it is important to be able to take it into your own hands as well especially when you don’t have them.
(S) Hopefully I can learn that before college.
(I) You’ll be fine. Anything else?
(S) No, not really .
(I) Thank you very much Sebastian!