A Canyon Crest Academy student won two prizes in a virtual tai chi competition hosted by the International Wushu Federation, which holds similar events around the world.
“I was pretty excited about it,” said Leighton Hsieh, 16, a CCA junior. “I kind of thought I wasn’t able to do it after quarantine. I’ve been missing out on practice for a while.
Tai chi, also known as shadowboxing, is a Chinese martial art used for defense, mediation, and other purposes. Leighton said he had worked hard in the weeks leading up to the competition to hone his skills.
“I thought it was a good opportunity for me to show what I had been working on,” he said.
Leighton said he trains at Hong Wu Kung Fu and the Tai Chi Academy, run by Willis Lam and his wife Qin Huang.
“Leighton has always been a very hardworking and hardworking athlete,” said Lam. “He takes training and competing very seriously. He’s a trainer’s dream student.
Leighton said he started tai chi about six years ago when his brother played the violin and stumbled upon tai chi.
“At the same time, there was a trainer and two of his students who were also doing tai chi,” he said. “I thought what they were doing was really cool. Six years later, here I am.
He started to practice and learn some of the basic forms and has done weekly sessions over the years.
“There was a lot of stretching at the start because I was really adamant,” he added. “It was a bit difficult to do at the beginning. Stretching is certainly a big part of it.
Leighton said he has started preparing for another competition to be held in person next month in Phoenix.
“I’m working on new forms for this one,” he said.