These are the full responses to interview questions for Alfred Hsing (First US Wushu Taolu Gold Medalist at the 10th World Wushu Championships in Toronto, Canada) posed by Kung Fu Magazine in Q & A form exclusive at WushuKicks.com
Let’s start the Q&A –
How did you train for competition?
It was actually very tough to train for this competition. I think a
lot of other US wushu team members would agree that after the US Team
Trial competition you feel a little burnt out from training. I trained
as intense as I possibly could to ensure I could make the US team
because making the US wushu team has been a lifelong dream of mine.
After 3-4 months of rigorous training when you make the team, you
realize you have to keep it up for another 4-5 months. Imagine running
a 26.2 mile marathon but right when you approach the finish line, you
are told you have to run another 26.2 miles non stop. That’s how I
Training for this competition became more of a mental challenge than a
physical struggle. I was already at the peak of my physical skill
level in terms of being able to perform the difficulty moves like 540
outsides, butterfly twist to tornado kick, and so on. Also, at the
time I was training for worlds I had a full time job, my own side
business, and classes to teach so it was very tiring getting myself to
I usually train by myself and it gets very boring sometimes. Something
that helped me the most was training with people who are excited about
wushu as well. When others are excited it helps to keep you motivated.
Also training with people who are at an elite level is also motivating
and it pushes you to want to do better.
In training for the World Championships I knew that there would be no
room for mistakes so I practiced focusing on perfection. Perfect
speed, perfect difficulty moves, perfect stances, everything. I did
not hit everything all the time, but whenever I would mess up on a
jump or spin or kick I wouldn’t let myself go until I re-did it and
did a clean successful one. Every time I practiced a full form, I
would pretend it was the real thing – that this was the ONE that
counted. We train so many hours and years just for that 1 minute and
20 seconds on the carpet which is why it is so important to over train
your abilities to the point where you could do all the moves 10 times
perfectly in your sleep.
What was it like to win the medal? What do you think of your performance at
the medal-winning event? What feelings did you have before, during, and
after the event?
Winning the medal was everything I dreamed it would be. It was also a
little unreal that such a big dream became a reality so fast. It’s a
little bittersweet that I don’t get to wake up chasing that big dream
anymore, but it just means I have to set bigger goals.
I am absolutely proud of my performance in my medal winning event. In
fact I am happy with all of my events. The day of my events I did not
think about medals or places. I just wanted to give my best possible
performance and enjoy the moment and I did that so I have no regrets.
A lot of people said it would be impossible to win a gold medal at the
World Wushu Championships, but the few people who didn’t know much
about wushu that said “go for the gold” made me think that it was
possible. I adjusted my mindset a few weeks before the competition and
felt that it was achievable. When you don’t believe you can do it of
course you won’t be able to.
Before my actual event I was relatively calm. I put in my time
training and I was prepared. I came to do my best and wasn’t competing
with anyone else there except myself so there was nothing else to do
but wait for my turn. After I finished my form I felt really good. I
knew I nailed everything. My score came out on the monitor and it said
9.72 and tentatively I was in first place after only four other
competitors. There were still many competitors behind me. It was
actually more nerve racking after my performance because each score
after mine could have potentially bumped me down. After all the
competitors had gone, “Alfred Hsing” was still 1st on the monitor. I
was relieved and excited that I had accomplished it. After
accomplishing such a goal, I realize what the saying “It’s not the
destination, it’s the journey” means.
You were selected to the C team in 2007. Do you feel that anything changed
(your training, your attitude, etc.) between then and now to enable you to
progress to the point where you could win a gold medal at the worlds?
Not too much really changed with how I train. It was more about
preparedness. I tried out in 2003 and did not make the team and after
that I almost gave up. Also I became really busy with college and
work. I basically stopped training and competing until 2006 when I
noticed a lot of people I knew continued to advance in wushu. My
hunger to make the US team and compete at worlds never died. I trained
really hard from 2006-2007 which allowed me to catch back up to a top
level US standard, but still it wasn’t enough. I was at a crossroads-
get back to reality and focus on my career or risk my corporate job
and focus on wushu for another 2 years. I chose wushu. Instead of
giving up, my hunger to make the team only grew. Failing to make the
“A” team in 2007 infuriated me to the point that I vowed I would be so
much better that there would be no doubt I would make the A team at
the next team trials. I went to a lot more competitions, got more
experience, and made sure to fix all my mistakes from 2007. By the
time 2009 rolled around I was a lot more confident because I prepared
off the competition carpet. I think since I wasn’t willing to settle
and I made a point in my practices to not make a single mistake that
the training carried over to my results at worlds games as well.
What memories do you have of the championships? The city? The rest of the
team (other athletes, officials)? The organizers? The venue?
I am going to have great memories of my trip to Toronto, Canada for
the 10th World Wushu Championships, not just because of the victory in
my competition but because of all the interlaced positive memories I
have had in the city. It just so happened that along with bringing
home a good score, I also had great teammates that all got along, a
good roommate on the trip, a venue in Toronto that was close enough
for my parents and friends to come watch, and so on. I was very
honored that I had the fortune of having my parents there witnessing
such an important moment in my life. I also met great people from
around the world and ran into international friends that I had trained
with from abroad. I have not been to past World Championships so I can
not compare, but the organizing committee aimed to be as professional
and organized as possible. I want to thank everyone who was involved
in the event, my US wushu teammates for being awesome, my parents for
all their help and support, and all coaches far and near who have
given me advice and help whether it was for a day or for many years.
Thanks again everyone for your support!
*you can see more clips of alfred at his personal website www.alfredrocks.com