Monday, 23 April 2012

Aza's First Wushu Tournament

My cute 5-year-old, who usually performs as 'the family clown', finally had a chance to show a different side of him.

After 11 months of weekly training (which often feels like exercise routine for me too), he wanted to perform in a Wushu tournament.

I still remember in May 2011, he saw a poster of the Wushu club on the glass window of the fitness centre at the mall near home. The poster was showing a girl, about Ariq's age, performing a sword stance.

Aza asked if he would be trained to use a sword if he joined the club, and we told him that he would, if he would be patient learning all the stances and forms before he could move well enough to hold a sword. He said that he wanted to learn Wushu.

We enrolled Aza in the Wushu club, with a hope that he would enjoy practicing Wushu and learn many things from his practice. I have seen how he is fascinated with all types of swords. He rarely asked for toys other than swords, and I'm pretty sure that he has drawn more than one hundred swords since he was two years old.. He can even cut a simple shape of a sword with scissors without drawing it first..

The first few weeks, I worried a lot, because Aza kept running around during practice. He did well as long as his Sifu was instructing him one-on-one, but when he had to practice with the whole class, he lost concentration and started running around.

I was wondering if Aza was too young, and if he was a distraction to the club. So, I asked the Sifu about that. I was really surprised and relieved when the Sifu told me, "The younger they start, the better. He's only 4 years old. If he is not running around, then we should be worried. If joining Wushu is what Aza wants -not something that his parents want him to do-, then you should not worry, he will naturally calm down in a year or two."

It was true. After about six months, once he began to have a grasp of the basic stances form, Aza started to calm down a little. He knew his routine well, and he was alright doing it without his instructor watching him every minute. He still wanders off around the room when he gets bored, but not as much. I could leave the room for half an hour and he was still obediently practicing when I came back.

I didn't realise how long Aza had been practicing Wushu until recently. I asked the fitness centre admin staff, when Aza first joined the club and she told me it was May last year. WOW! It was almost a year ago! Then, Aza's work started to show result. A tournament and belt examination were coming up.

Aza wanted to perform in the tournament. I cautiously asked the Sifu, if Aza was allowed. The Sifu was excited that Aza had the initiative to join the competition and they assured me that there was no unnecessary pressure on the students. The most important thing was that students learn to be confident of themselves in performing their forms in front of other people.

The Sifu suggested Aza to perform in a group. Aza's group consisted of four members, with Aza as the team captain, being the longest practicing white belt. He had memorised almost all moves in the Basic Stances form. Aza loved having to shout the 'qi' and leading the team.

On the day of the tournament, it turned out that two of Aza's team were not performing in the tournament, and one lost contact -later on we found out that they got lost on the way-. The Sifu asked Aza if he felt ready to perform alone. Confidently, Aza agreed.

Shortly after, Joshua -Aza's friend who got lost- arrived, unfortunately, after Aza was moved from team class to individual class. So, Joshua -and his parents- decided to stay to cheer for Aza, which made Aza very happy..

I know that Aza was confident, because the Saturday before the tournament, his Senior Sifu got married and asked Aza to perform his Stance Form in front of the stage and he did! I was not sure though, how the change in formation would affect Aza's performance.

Well.. it did affect him, but not as big as it could have been.. For a few seconds Aza forgot that he was not performing as a team. He looked around and realised that the other contestants moved without sync.

Aza looked at me for confirmation, and when I told him that he was performing alone, he started his form, and he did it well.

I'm so proud of Aza.. :-)