KO Student Selected for Martial Arts National Team - Kingswood Oxford

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November 07, 2023

KO Student Selected for Martial Arts National Team

Jason Chen ’26 has been selected to the United States Martial Arts National Team and will compete in the international competition in 2025. 

 

Chen has been practicing martial arts since he was a child. He came to the U.S. in third grade and started honing his training and skills, a dedication that has paid off in spades. He trains at Ju Long Wushu in South Windsor under the watchful eye of his coach, Ginger Jiang, a highly decorated martial artist.“She teaches us the move sets, what we can improve, and the details of each routine,” he said. “She also trains us on how to increase jumps and flexibility.” 

 

Within the martial arts realm, there is a wide variety of areas athletes can focus on and compete in, including weapons, staff, trade sword, broad sword, and fist, among others. Chen has three areas of specialization that he focuses on, and these are stray sword, staff, and long fist.

 

Depending on the form, competitions can last between one to three minutes. The more advanced skills you use (arial or tornado kick, for example), the more points you acquire. Summer is the busy season for martial arts, and this past one was especially rigorous. Chen competed in a local NOMAD competition and walked away with two first-place awards. 

 

His more significant competition took place in Washington, D.C.. The stakes were exceptionally high in this one because it determined what talented few would make it to the national team. Several hundred competitors took part, and there was one main stage with everyone watching. The competition ran from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Scoring ranges from five points (lowest) to 10 points (highest). Chen said he has yet to see anyone score a perfect 10. The highest he saw was around 9.3 or 9.4. He scored in the 8.6 and 8.7 range for each area and secured a place on the national team. The team will compete on the international level with others from around the world in 2025.

Chen shared that stretching and jumping are the two most important things to do before a competition. “There are a lot of kicks and flips, so making sure you are limber and flexible is a big deal,” he said. During heavy competition time, Chen trains three to four times a week for two to three hours. This drops to two to three times a week in the off-season. Over the summer, Chen trains every day all day. 

 

He is the first in his family to compete in martial arts. While the sport is individual, there is a larger team aspect to it, and they support each other during training and competitions. One of the things Chen said he loves most about the sport is the community and learning about his own culture. “Chinese martial arts has been around for a very long time, and I feel like it connects me to my culture and lets me learn a bit more,” he said. The center where he trains ties history in with their training, making it much more meaningful.

 

One thing that helps Chen fine-tune his moves is the feedback he receives from his teammates about what he does well and what he needs to improve upon. Should he slow down, change his movements, or take some away? “Every movement counts,” said Chen. “We learn from each other.”

 

 

Chen plans to continue martial arts in college and beyond, but for now, he remains hyper-focused on the smaller competitions leading up to the international one in just over a year. He will compete in the same elements he does now but with more complex movements.

 

 

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