Cardinals win the Kung Fu World Championships

Photo courtesy of Jim Brayton

The beginning of a school year comes with many questions of, “what did you do this summer?” Two Lincoln freshmen, Mason Brayton and Kylie Jones, had stories to tell which are a little more interesting than most.

As members of the US National Kung Fu Team, Brayton and Jones came into the school year fresh off of spectacular performances in the Pan American Kung Fu Championships held in Liberia, Costa Rica.

Then, this month, both of them followed it up with success at an even more prestigious competition, the World Kung Fu Championships in Ermei, China.

Kung Fu is a little known sport in the United States. In U.S. competitions, which are primarily held in California, competitors are split into categories based on age and years of training. In international competitions, athletes are split up based on age and sex. After these separations, athletes are split up into events based on what weapon or handform they perform.

Brayton has only been competing for a few years.

“I started Kung Fu when I was eight years old,” Brayton says. “However, I really started to get serious in 6th or 7th grade, and now I practice around five hours a week.”

Brayton gladly makes this time commitment as he loves what he does.

“I like the exercise I get from it and it’s exciting for me to learn new styles and techniques,” he says.

Kung Fu is also a big time commitment for Jones. She practices six days a week, year round. Her practice lengths range from 45 minutes to three hours.

When asked what she likes about Kung Fu, Jones said, “I like the adrenaline rush and the culture around wushu,” the Chinese word for Kung Fu.

Both students are taught by the same Master, Gao JiaMin. They attribute many of their successes to him. Along with Master Gao, both are also incredibly thankful for the teammates they have.

Earlier this month, Brayton and Jones traveled to the World Kung Fu Championships in Ermei, China.

The competition was a successful one. “I received a silver medal, missing gold by .02 points, and two bronze medals,” Jones said.

Similarly, Brayton found great success as he competed in one group and two individual events. He took home the bronze medals in all of them.

Jones and Brayton aren’t the only ones on their team in Portland who have found success on the world stage. At the Championships, members of their local team received a total of 35 medals while competing for the National Team.

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