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Practicioners' experiences: Antti

Antti, 31, hs been practicing kung-fu for about four years now. When he was younger, Antti trained sprinting and long jump up until his mid teens. Prior to kung-fu, he also jogged and went to the gym. – When I was starting, I hoped to find a more interesting form of physical exercise, offering a fresh set of challenges, he says.

When Antti started, he had no prior background in martial arts. He knew to expect to learn to defend himself, but the improvements in body control and flexibility were not something Antti had come to think of before he started practicing. – Flexibility in particular has always been a somewhat difficult area to me, and it has certainly improved here, he says, and also mentions having developed his balance, coordination and breathing technique.

Antti finds versatility one of kung-fu's greatest strengths. – As someone who works with a computer eight hours a day, this is the best form of exercise I can imagine for myself, Antti states. Kung-fu helps me maintain all aspects of physical fitness, which helps keep health issues caused by prolonged sitting at bay.

Having actively participated in outside and temple practice, in addition to the weekly practice, Antti says the style's versatility also enables the practicioner to focus on one particular area. He mentions acrobatic tumbling to be his personal favourite.  – Conquering the fear in acrobatics also helps develop confidence generally in life. Knowing you can always improve on your whatever you are doing is inspiring and simultaneously helps one stay humble, according to Antti.

Antti also appreciates the social aspects of the sport. – The people in the association are nice, and I have met new people to train with. Completely different from jogging or training alone at the gym, he concludes.