Animal Instincts: A fight towards the finish


Emma Lam

Small but Powerful

She’s small, but packs a punch. Her friends are aware — they know that despite her small size and stature, that she’s carrying a lot of power. They’re careful around her —  even her high fives hurt.

Junior Sabrina Hung, a blackbelt in taekwondo, has had to learn to watch her control for a while, since the beginning of her taekwondo career. Through the sport, she’s learned two things.

I intend to use my learning in class constructively… [to] help myself and a fellow man, and never to be abusive or offensive,” Hung said.

Hung knows that in taekwondo, there’s a certain stigma that comes with it. With the two sides of taekwondo, (techniques and forms), both are surrounded with the idea that it’s a dangerous sport and those who perform it are capable of being violent. Yet to try to avoid that stereotype, Hung has developed a positive mindset, and she tries to avoid anything that reduces her mental and physical growth. To avoid becoming violent, she developed a tendence to only to bring out the best in herself. Taekwondo helped her accomplish this through training her to have a mindset of discipline, and learning to control her actions. Taekwondo taught her to defend herself, never to attack.

“I was being afraid of getting hurt, because I was obviously really small, and I didn’t know like how to really handle it.” Hung said. “But over time you kinda like learn how to resist, [it’s] basically like giving me a little bit of impact but as well as watching control.”


Silent but Deadly 


At school, she’s known for her quiet nature, her shyness, her peacefulness. She’s as sweet as can be, reserved most believe.  But once she enters the studio, she is instilled with energy.

Senior Christine Chyu has been practicing wushu, a Chinese form of martial arts, for the past nine years. She practices hand fighting, solo forms and stage fighting, each one revealing a different aspect of grace and power of the sport.  But at the same time, she sees the thrill that the audience gets from watching her staged fighting.

“Whenever we perform, a lot of people find [fighting] to be the most exciting thing,” Chyu said. “I’m not sure why it gets them exhilarated, and they’re excited to see us attack each other, but I think people just get a hype.”

Chyu clarifies that there is no actual violence involved , and the “fighting” is very controlled. As one person takes a step forward or makes a move, the other (her partner), knows how to retaliate effectively and defend themselves. As a result, no one gets hurt.

But this doesn’t change the fact that people perceive her as being violent.

“I guess [since I do wushu,] gives off the facade that I’m more violent,” Chyu said. “Apparently there’s a certain face when you do martial arts that makes you look more aggressive so I guess that kind of relates to that.”