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February 4, 2023

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American kung fu master’s Spring Festival experience

Jake Lee Pinnick was busy making special purchases, hanging poetic banners and visiting friends with his family to celebrate the Spring Festival, or the Chinese Lunar New Year.

In 2010, the US national traveled to the Wudang Mountains, a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in central China’s Hubei Province, to study martial arts. Pinnick said he was very interested in Chinese kung fu from a young age.

When Pinnick first arrived in the Wudang Mountains, he had no prior training or martial arts experience, so he began with a five-year training program, learning the basics and all about Taoist culture.

Pinnick said the first six months were the hardest, because he had to train for eight or nine hours a day, six days a week, no matter the temperature outside.

After more than a decade of hard training, the 32-year-old has mastered various forms of martial arts, including tai chi and qigong, and become an instructor with about 200 apprentices in China.

This year is the 10th Spring Festival that Pinnick has spent in China. He likes the Spring Festival and the traditions here. He also teaches his daughter Selina these traditions.

“I think I’ve celebrated almost every year since I came to China, while in China. Most of the time I’m here for the Chinese New Year. It’s a great holiday for everyone to get together,” he said.

As the new year begins, people are starting new chapters in their lives and making resolutions. Pinnick also has many plans and wishes. He plans on making more efforts to learn the Chinese language this year.

“For a long time, I have been able to communicate in Chinese very well,” he said. “But I want to improve my reading and writing comprehension.”

Pinnick wants to take the Hanyu Shuiping Kaoshi (HSK), or the Chinese Proficiency Test.

In addition to learning Chinese, Pinnick will continue to learn about traditional Chinese culture and how to play Chinese musical instruments in his leisure time, and he will share his experience on social media.

“He believes that learning martial arts is not enough. He wants to learn comprehensively, so he started learning about Chinese culture and musical instruments several years ago,” said Cao Lingling, Pinnick’s wife.

Pinnick said: “I think that the experience I’ve had, being a foreigner coming to China and learning the culture from outside, is unique. I hope that I can be like a bridge between cultures.”

As a kung fu instructor, Pinnick’s next big plan is to teach more students in person. “I hope that this year is a big year of growth for everyone.”


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