Timaru man aims for two Tai Chi gold medals at Kung Fu World Championships
A Timaru man has his eye on a third gold medal, and if all goes to plan, a fourth as well, at the World Kung Fu Championships in China.
David Thew, 53, will compete in his third world championships in China, from November 7 to 11.
He previously won gold in the Tai Chi bare hands category in 2010 and 2012, and silver in the Tai Chi sword category in 2010 and 2012.
This year he hopes to bring back two gold medals.
"I'm going [aiming] to get gold, but it's not just that, it's the camaraderie. Everyone is supporting each other, it's not an us and them thing. Everyone is there to share the wushu [martial arts] sport."
Thew is a fulltime gardener at the Margaret Wilson Home in Timaru. When competing, he specialises in the Tai Chi bare hands and sword.
He described it as a "lifestyle", which he first got involved when he was just 16 years old.
Thousands of others embraced that lifestyle to the point they could compete on the world stage.
More than 2500 competitors will meet in China to compete across a range of wushu categories.
Thew said he would not know how many people he would end up competing against until he got there.
"It's huge, it really is."
Each competitor will have three minutes to complete a routine. They are judged on their balance, timing, energy and how they express each movement, he said.
"I'm going there to be put under scrutiny from the judges; I'm putting it into practice.
"You're not really competing against other competitors, you're competing against yourself, to better your form."
Tai Chi was an holistic "lifestyle" that was good for the mind, body and soul, he said.
It was an exercise for everything, the muscles and the mind. "You feel more energised and sleep better," he said.
"It revitalises your whole system."
There were six other members in the New Zealand team, he said.