TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Cherokee Nation citizen Wade Blevins just struck gold in China. The 41-year-old won the World Traditional Wushu Championships in the bare-handed division, beating out some 3,000 top martial artists there competing from around the globe.
Blevins was one of 30 to make the U.S. Wushu-Kungfu Federation team back in February. Wushu is an ancient martial art created for self-defense and physical conditioning. He is thought to be the only Native American competitor at the international tournament.
“To win the gold medal feels absolutely incredible. It’s one of the achievements I'm most proud of in my life,” said Blevins, of Tahlequah. “All the years of hard work and training in the gym, all the sacrifices I've made and eating better have paid off. I feel like I won this gold for my martial arts school, my family, my community and my tribe.”
Blevins also earned a bronze medal in the weapons category during the championship held Oct. 26. He was scored on his balance, speed, technique and form by international judges.
Blevins works for the Cherokee Nation’s Johnson O’ Malley program that helps provide resources to Native students in public schools. He grew up in Jay watching kung fu movies and took his first martial arts class at age 12, earning a black belt six years later.
Blevins spends more than 20 hours a week in the gym, training competitively and teaching students.
For more information on the World Traditional Wushu Championships, visit IWUF.org.