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YOUNG BLOOD

My wushu journey

05:03 AM November 06, 2018

I started wushu because I’m homeschooled. My Mom wanted me to find something I could do similar to physical education.

I knew nothing on my first day of training. I wasn’t really an active kid, so I felt like a fish out of water.

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After doing wushu for a few months, my sister Zion joined me. She was doing ballet at the time, but she said it was too easy and boring. When she joined me, that’s when I really had to up my game and prove to my coach that I was better than her.

A year later, this kid Alex joined the club. That was when I really became competitive. Alex was my best friend and my worst enemy at the same time. Outside of wushu, we were the best of friends. In wushu, we were enemies, always trying to beat each other.

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Another year passed. Alex, Zion and I were drafted to become national athletes. We had to sleep at the athletes’ dorm for an entire week. I was scared that I would be away from my parents for so long, but I had to do it.

Then summer was over. There was an upcoming competition and our coach had to pick who to drop and keep. They were supposed to get rid of me; but my sister Zion was chosen, so I had to stay, too. She was going to compete in the 6th World Junior Wushu Championship in Bulgaria. Sadly, I wasn’t going, because there were more qualified athletes.

After the competition, our head coach got mad and sent me out of the gym. I almost quit and was about to say goodbye to
everyone, but our coach stopped me and apologized.

Another competition came. It was the 9th Asian Junior Wushu Championship. But I still wasn’t picked to join the competition because the coach still didn’t think I was ready to compete. Fortunately, the competition was held in Korea, so the whole family could go!

Then a miracle happened. There was another competition and I was finally joining! But the wushu gods must hate me,
because the competition in Brazil was canceled.

Nevertheless, wushu has taught me a lot. I might not be the best and I might even forget my corrections. But I have become disciplined, and have learned to think when presented with a challenge. Wushu has taught me how to handle that challenge head-on.

Train like there’s no tomorrow

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A few days ago, our coach scolded me. He is known to sometimes say mean things to his athletes. He said I had no future and I was lazy. I was really struck by his words. When we got home, I was so sad and frustrated that I planned on quitting.

My parents and I had a serious talk about it. We made the decision that we would ask my coach to take me out of the team, but I was hoping that I would still be able to train at my own pace and with less pressure.

When I went to training the next day, our coach asked to have a meeting with my Mom about my decision. He wanted to talk to her to stop me from quitting. He said that I just needed to focus more and exert more effort, since I was clumsy and needed more time to get the moves right.

I was really shocked by this, because I thought he would be difficult and not let me train, or just say “okay.”

When I trained that day, I really gave it my all to prove to him that I was worthy of being part of the team. We did the usual warming up and stretching, then we did routines. The thing I did differently this time was that I gave it all.

I made sure my punches and kicks had power. I kept my shoulders relaxed and tried to do the stances properly. I paid attention to everything he said, and practiced on the side for every correction he demonstrated.

I really felt a difference when I did my routine. I felt more powerful and relaxed. I tried to impress my coach, and I did.
Afterward, he said it was my best performance since the time I was there. From his reaction, I felt I was out of the woods.

The thing that I really learned from this experience is that I have to give my 110 percent and full focus in training. It will be a bit of a challenge, since I can sometimes be easily distracted. But with willpower and determination, I am hoping that I can overcome the challenge. Jiayou!

* * *

Rastafari Daraliay, 11, died on Sept. 29, 2018, in a freak accident when he fell from the top bunk of his bed at the athletes’ dorm in Rizal Memorial Sports Complex. These two pieces, part of his output for homeschool and originally handwritten, were sent to Young Blood by his father unedited.

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TAGS: athletic training, Rastafari U. Daraliay, wushu training, Young Blood
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