Janice Hung let’s us see why she’s called the wushu Queen
People are usually born into royalty. But Janice Hung’s title of “Wushu Queen” was not bestowed upon her through birthright; she had to work for it. Apart from her obvious good looks and amazingly athletic physique, she’s got an impressive list of accomplishments which include winning gold medals in the National Wushu Championships for ten years straight, a gold medal in the 1st Wushu Invitational held in Huangshan, China, and several other medals in international competitions like the SEA games. This made it hard for us to believe Janice when she told us that she “was once the weakest link in the Philippine Wushu Team” and that her long, slender figure was actually what gave her a disadvantage in certain categories in Wushu competitions. After hearing this from her, we decided we knew nothing about Wushu. Luckily, we had just the right master to teach us.
Can you explain to us what Wushu is? Wushu is basically Chinese martial arts. In Wushu, we either fight barehanded or make use of weapons like the sword, the spear, and the staff just to name a few. If you’ve watched movies like The Matrix, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, or a movie by Jet Li, you’ve already seen Wushu in action. Daisy Ridley actually trained in Wushu to improve her lightsaber skills for Star Wars.
Does that mean we get to wield lightsabers if we studied Wushu?
Before you can use the different weapons, you should have a good foundation. Holding weapons can be dangerous even for people who’ve trained for years. One time I had an accident during one of my routines. My sword hit my hand and I bled all over the floor. The cut was so deep I could see to the bone! That wound needed seven stitches to close.
Yikes. How did you get into Wushu anyway? When I was a kid, I saw the Philippine Wushu Team perform at our school and that’s when I knew I that wanted to be just like them. At first, my parents didn’t want me to go into Wushu or sports in general because they thought it was just for guys and I wouldn’t excel in it. But at that point I had already decided on becoming a Wushu champion someday.
How does it feel making your childhood dream come true?
I truly believe that Wushu is my calling. Even now that I’m retired from competitions, my life still revolves around the art, whether it be through my hosting gigs, acting in television, or teaching the next generation of Wushu athletes.
You’ve been the poster girl for the sport for so long now ever since people saw you in that iconic shampoo commercial. How does it feel for your name to be so heavily associated with the sport?
One time I was at a Wushu tournament and an old woman approached me and introduced her granddaughter. She told me that I inspired her granddaughter to start taking up Wushu. Her granddaughter reminded me so much of myself when I was just starting out—we even kind of looked the same, ha ha! I am very honored to be able to inspire people.
After watching you kick ass in Encantadia (and still look hot while doing so) really inspired us to learn Wushu. Do you think we’d still have a chance at learning? Definitely. I believe that anyone can get into Wushu, no matter his or her health or age. I designed a program called Udefend that integrates Wushu and Tai chi for use in self-defense. I give free trainings to public school kids, out of school youth, and other communities. Wushu has given me so much in life so this is my chance to give back. I want to help empower others as well.
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