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Breeding grounds for future kung fu action stars at South Coast Martial Arts

By Andy Ortega

For anybody in Orange County that dreams of a future in martial arts action movies, there's good news! Philip Sahagun, wushu instructor at South Coast Martial Arts in Costa Mesa, has what it takes to help you get there. Sahagun, 22, was a contestant in China's K-Star Global Martial Arts TV show in 2006 and earned 2nd place. K-Star was the equivalent of American Idol here in the U.S. except it was a search for the next kung fu movie star. Contestants spent two weeks at the Shaolin temple immersing themselves in Chinese culture and polishing their skills in wushu and then went on to film the rest of the show, performing kung fu routines for the camera and audiences, while the judges voted to keep the top competitors and eliminated the rest.

Wushu is a martial arts sport from China that combines the hundreds of different versions of kung fu together. Wushu athletes perform feats of agility combined with strikes, blocks and footwork. Some of the routines include traditional weapons such as swords, spears, rope darts, and whips. This martial art is great for actors that are interested in stunt work because it stresses flexibility, agility, speed and graceful movements.

Sahagun's wushu class is not only for actors. "Some people come because they want to lose weight, some want to be confident, some want to have stronger legs. There's all kinds of reasons," he said. "My personal reason at first was to help me get better at kickboxing and karate. I wanted to see what other types of training there was out there and now this is where my focus is."

After trying out his class myself, I can tell you first hand that this is where you want to be if you're serious about getting in shape and you've always wanted to do those moves seen in Jackie Chan and Jet Li movies. We spent much of the first half of the class in low stances while practicing different movements. Even some of the stretching included muscle-building exercises. In the second half, we practiced movements that worked out our upper body. By this time, I found my legs shaking from fatigue and I was drenched in sweat. The next day, I felt sore in no particular area. Instead there was equal pain all over, indicating that in Sahagun's wushu class, you get a total body workout.


For information on wushu classes visit South Coast Martial Arts website and let them know I sent ya!

EXAMINER.COM  May 11, 2010

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