Hero in All of Us – Kim Gibson

This is the story of Norwegian Wushu Champion Kim Gibson, who at the peak of his competitive career, suddenly had to retire due to an illness.

Instead of allowing his health to rule his life, Kim Gibson has turned to the philosophy of the martial arts to find his own way and to inspire a new generation of martial artists from the Scandinavian countries.

Kim Gibson
World Wushu Championships 2015, participating in Xingyiquan.
Photo Credit: Credit: IWUF / worldwushu.tv

Interview With Kim Gibson

Kim Gibson
Norwegian Martial Arts Federation national team photo shoot 2012.
Photo Credit: kampsport.no

Personal Wushu Training

  1. Tell us more about how you developed in Wushu training when you were young? How did you end up choosing Wushu instead of Karate training?
    When I was younger I was honestly just practicing as a social thing, to be with friends. Then when I started competing I realised it was so much fun and then started adopting my training towards what would work in competitions. At first, since we didn’t have big Wushu Kung Fu competitions in Norway I competed in Karate, but even though I loved it, it was a no-brainer to keep competing in Wushu once we got our own competitions in Norway back in 2005.
  2. Describe your Wushu training on Wudang mountain in China. How has this training helped you developed your skill in martial arts?
    I’ve only been training in Wudang for 3 weeks, but I have lived in Shanghai for 7 months. Specially learning how to speak Chinese has probably been one of my most beneficial assets to Wushu training, because it gave me a whole new cultural understanding of the sport. And also being able to communicate with some of the best coaches in the world in their mother tongue obviously helps a lot in training.
Kim Gibson
Winter wushu photo shoot by Svetlana Negashova. It resulted in the International Wushu Federation (IWUF / @iwuf_official) campaign #winterwushu
Photo Credit: Svetlana Negashova
  1. How do you discover the soft style of martial arts since before that you only focused the hard style of martial arts? What do you feel?
    Practicing Taiji and other “internal” styles of Wushu have helped a lot in having good balance in training. After doing a lot of hard and explosive stuff it’s good both for your body and brain to balance it up and bring down the pace. Especially doing Taiji out in nature, it feels very natural and you can really feel at one with nature.
  2. In the video you mentioned Tai Chi healing, can you elaborate on how this process works for recovery, and how your body reacts to each movement?
    First of all, I would say all exercise is healing. But in my case, doing Taiji helps me focus on my breathe and also try to channel my natural energy which have proven in a lot of studies to have good health benefits. But first of all it’s the mental and psychological aspect that helps the most, just being able to fully relax with movements, breath and flow.
  3. Can you tell us the story about your most precious moment as a Wushu athlete?
    It’s by far winning His Majesty The King of Norway’s Trophy at our Norwegian National Wushu Championships in 2009. Not only because it’s the most prestigious award a Norwegian athlete can win, but also because it meant that my sport in which I had been part of since the beginning was now fully recognised, handing out this trophy at our nationals.
Kim Gibson
5 times International Champion in Chicago 2011.
Photo Credit: Sara Chen

Kim Gibson As a Wushu Coach

  1. Since you are a Wushu and hockey trainer, how does this work by combining both training together since is a two different type of sport? How does the Wushu knowledge work in hockey training? How does your student react on this on this?
    I think it’s the balance that works very well here. Ice hockey is a very hard and somewhat “macho” sport, so I think it’s good for the players to have a person with a more relaxed approach than what they’re used to and with a different view on how to train the whole body. The players obviously think it’s different and sometimes they protest, but we always find good ways to develop together, especially when they know the reasons and intentions behind my programs.
  2. Hockey and Wushu are two different types of training–how can you find balance between both?
    It’s the perfect balance for me. In Wushu I work with mainly younger students with little experience where I can help them develop not only their techniques but also their personalities and values. As the hockey players are older and beyond this stage in life it’s more about perfecting what they already have and help them with the minor details. So it’s a great to be part of both worlds.
  3. Being a Wushu athlete requires a lot of training– how do you encourage your student to keep going in this journey?
    One of the most underrated things is the social part of training, in which I have learned a lot from other sports but also from my own experience as a kid. Therefore I always strive to make our team a good unity between friends, because it will always be easier to practice hard and often when you know you can do it with some of your best friends.
Kim Gibson
Coaching young student Sebastian to win three gold medals at the Swedish National Wushu Championships 2017.
Photo Credit: Øyvind Garau.

Future Perspective

  1. As a Wushu committee from EWUF, what would you like to develop and contribute to European Wushu society? Or even Wushu world? Why?
    I’m not part of the EWUF committee. But in general I feel the European Wushu Community is a close unit between good friends that strive to develop our sport in the best way. Our contribution is to participate in competitions and events that our European friends organise, and we also organise our own international championship; The Oslo Wushu Open.
  2. What would you wish to accomplish in the future and what is your plan for this?
    I would like to have more Norwegian clubs that practice Wushu and to build a stronger base for our National Wushu Team with larger National competitions. The plan is to organise camps and events throughout Norway, and possibly start some new clubs myself in the future.
  3. Lastly, what is your thought/philosophy/message that you wish to pass to the next generation?
    Always strive to do your best.
Kim Gibson
World Traditional Kung Fu Championships medalist 2012.
Photo Credit: Ellen Zhang

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