Wushu Warrior: Lee Competes in World Championships


Photo by Lucy Lee

Lucy Lee won bronze and silver at the World Wushu Championships.

By Emily Wang, Online Arts Editor

Standing a mere 5’4”, sophomore Lucy Lee may not seem like she could pose a threat in a fight, but she has proved that she is not one to be trifled with.

The unassuming sophomore recently competed in the 13th World Wushu Championships in Jakarta, Indonesia and brought home a bronze in Women’s Nandao and silver in Women’s compulsory Nanquan. Not only did she earn one of the two total U.S. silver medals, she was also selected as the youngest member in the world championship team of eight when she placed third at wushu team trials in California this summer.

“I’m very proud to have been able to represent our country in the world championships and bring back two medals,” Lee said.

Wushu is a sport derived from Chinese martial arts and has two disciplines: taolu, which is forms, and sanda, which is sparring. Taolu involves a competitor performing martial art patterns and moves for which they are then judged and awarded points. Of the many varying wushu styles, Lee does the Southern-style taolu: the bare hand is called nanquan, the sword is called nandao, and the staff is called nanqun.

Lee began practicing wushu after being inspired by a wushu performance when she was eight years old. Originally, she only did wushu on weekends at Chinese school, but in 2008 she transferred to Omei Wushu in Fairfax, Virginia in order to continue honing her skills and train under Shifu Lu Xiaolin.

According to Lee, she practices for two hours three or four times a week before competitions, but normally practices once or twice a week.

While this may not seem like much time in comparison to other sports, Lee also runs track after school every day and attends soccer practice with the McLean CCL team.

“Oftentimes I would go to track, come home, do some homework, eat, and then go to wushu practice,” Lee said. “I would do all my homework late at night on those days because of the lack of time.”

According to Lee, when she has an upcoming major assessment she has to prioritize and will skip soccer or wushu practice in order to allot extra time for studying. Lee also fits everything in her busy schedule by sacrificing sleep, even though it may not be good for her health.

Even though Lee runs a tight schedule, she manages to push through her succeed academically.

“I think her hard work is probably one of her best traits about her,” senior Alex Zarynow who runs track with Lee said. “It’s inspiring to see her keep working and pushing through everything she does and striving to be better.”

Lee has maintained a humble attitude, cheerful demeanor and quiet optimism through her successes that has endeared her to peers.

According to senior Renee Wolf, who is in band and track with Lee, Lee does not brag about or mention her prowess in wushu. Wolf recognizes the physical capabilities and humble personality that have allowed Lee to thrive.

Even though Lee doesn’t spread news about her wushu on her own, word inevitably gets out.

“Honestly her accomplishments are really amazing,” said senior Raymond Bao, who used to train with Lee. “Usually when you train with someone for a long time, it’s hard, at least for me, to see how much that person is improving. But I remember she was a super-fast learner and improved faster than anyone I can remember.”

In terms of the future, Lee plans on participating in both the Junior World Wushu Championships and the World Wushu Championships for the next two years. In college, she hopes to participate in the yearly summer Universiade Games in Taipei, China.

“The future for wushu is very bright, and I can’t wait to see what happens next,” Lee said.