Ashton Wu flips to new heights in wushu


Photo by Vidushi Upadhyay Graphic illustration by Qianzi Loo and Sarah Zhang

Wushu has taught sophomore Ashton Wu the importance of consistency, and he hopes to one day rise to No. 1 worldwide.

Vidushi Upadhyay, Staffer

Almost every day after school, sophomore Ashton Wu finds himself back at the Elite Kung Fu studio, spending hours repeating the same routines, hoping to achieve perfection with every movement. He never hesitates to allot time to the sport that has brought him through some of the biggest challenges of his life. 

Introduced to the sport in third grade by a close friend’s parents, Wu found that the skills that wushu required came to him naturally, and his fascination with the art motivated him to stay dedicated to the sport. He progressed quickly, switching from a traditional school — where they focus on the art of wushu rather than competition — to Elite Kung Fu, a modern competition team, in seventh grade. Since then, wushu has become integral to Wu’s daily life. 

“I had never considered learning wushu, but it was one of the greatest decisions of my life,” Wu said. “Wushu impacts all aspects of my life: my diet, schedule, and mood in the best way possible, and it’s had a large impact on who I’ve grown into.”

Despite his rapid improvement, Wu still faced physical challenges and mental blocks, such as losing flexibility with age and maintaining extreme discipline. While working on difficult jumps or experiencing rough patches, Wu focuses on improving by at least 1% each practice, understanding that consistency of small improvements over time amounts to noticeable growth. With perseverance, Wu pushed himself to work harder every day, eventually bringing himself to competitions across the world, winning a bronze medal at the Pan-American Wushu Championship in 2022 and ranking fifth on the Junior World Wushu Team. 

“While standing on the podium, I’m filled with pride and satisfaction,” Wu said. “But when I see my opponents and teammates continuing to give their all, I realize that I haven’t reached my full potential.” 

Although wushu is an individual sport, Wu emphasizes the impact his teammates have had on his performance and how their friendly competition drives him to perform better. 

“Having teammates who communicate well and put in the work helps my own development,” Wu said. “When you see how hard they’re working, it makes you think twice about slacking off.”

Wu will continue to compete for as long as he can and hopes to rise to number one worldwide during his wushu career. 

“Wushu has given me a ‘never settle for less’ mindset and has encouraged me to put my best foot forward whenever an opportunity is presented,” Wu said. “I hope for wushu to be an event in the Olympics one day so I can become an Olympic medalist.”