The opportunity to learn a form of Chinese martial arts does not present itself often in a small town like Jay.
Wade Blevins, in an effort to share his knowledge and elite-level instruction to area citizens, has brought his talents to Dustin Holland’s Black Gold gym to teach the 5,000 year-old practice of Wushu.
Blevins, who grew up watching Jackie Chan movies and Friday Night Kung-Fu Theater with his mother, became a student of Korean Martial Arts at age 12.
“Everything about the culture fascinated me,” said Blevins.
In 1999, he read an article that featured a Traditional Chinese Martial Arts instructor named Luo Minghan.
Minghan, one of the top 100 Wushu coaches in China, was instructing students in Oklahoma. Blevins immediately used the internet to find Minghan’s phone number, contacted him, and requested Minghan become his Sifu (translated at “teacher father”).
“I drove to Tulsa and became his student that day,” Blevins said.
During his time as a student of Sifu Luo’s, Blevins won countless medals in national martial arts competitions, numerous grand championships, and was a three-time medalist as a member of the US Traditional Chinese Martial Arts team.
Wushu, generically referred to as Kung-fu, is the national sport of China. Wushu is not Karate, nor is it boxing.
It is also not just a combat technique. Wushu is a way to transform one’s physical, intellectual, and spiritual self into a disciplined, skilfull athlete.
Blevins is not only qualified to teach the physical art of Wushu, he is passionate about spreading the martial ethics, or “wu de”, of the globally competitive sport.
“Humility, patience, perseverance, honesty and integrity [touch] every aspect of Chinese culture,” said Blevins.
Blevins chose to open his Midwest Wushu Chinese Martial Art Center in Jay because he does not believe that location should limit those in rural areas.
“It’s not fair that only larger cities have high-quality instruction,” he said.
As with any art, Wushu takes practice - a lot of practice. Training sessions begin with warm-up exercises to loosen the body and mind.
Each technique and skill is taught in a deliberate succession to create a platform for the next.
“[Wushu] is something a person builds on,” said Blevins.
In fact, students can expect to wait one year for sparring and self-defense classes to begin.
“It is important that students “have enough skill not to hurt each other,” Blevins explained.
The cost for participants is $60 per month for one class per week or $80 per month for two classes per week. There is a discount for students who qualify for free/reduced lunch.
If You Go
Classes will be offered in the evenings at Black Gold gym in Jay.
Tuesdays 7 to 9 p.m., - Adult and Kids ages 6-16 combined class
Thursday 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. - Kids ages 6-16
Thursday 7 to 9 p.m. - Adults
Wednesday 5:15 to 6 p.m. - Toddlers
Wednesday 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. - Tai Chi class open to all ages
Wade Blevins will offer Lion Dance classes beginning in September.