China’s national martial art, Wushu is among the most popular martial art practices in Greece, with over a thousand people participating in championships each year. That number is growing thanks to Kostas Moukas.
Based in Athens, he operates his own school in Akadimia Plantonos; but there’s something unique about his classes, as well as the instructor.
Moukas is the first Wushu instructor in Greece in a wheelchair, and with the help of the Hellenic Wushu/Kung Fu Federation, he has coined para-Wushu. Over the last two years, Moukas has been running classes to assist people with mobility issues, like himself, to compete at championship level.
“We train the judges to understand what they see,” Moukas explains. “There are approximately 10 athletes who compete – few participants; we hope to reach 100 and host a dedicated tournament.”
The practice of Wushu is known to help individuals develop greater balance and strength, the physical benefits having a positive flow on effect to their state of mind.
“With Wushu, you develop your fighting skills, you build better soul and body, and eventually you can see that the weak can win the strong,” Moukas says, who has firsthand experience.
The instructor has been practising Wushu since 2003, after sustaining injuries in a motorbike accident. It turned into a passion, with benefits that exceeded his expectations.
“You must gain your autonomy, re-discover your body with new techniques. Wushu is the best way to practice your whole body,” he reveals.
“I will tell you how to move your feet, how to complete a flip without showing it to you, just by describing it and it will happen.”
His students range in age, between four and 50, and include people with and without mobility issues – a unique experience, where everyone is made to feel equal.
“It helps us discover other qualities in our body and have the opportunity to work together,” says Marios Kostakis, one of Moukas’ first students.
“For me, the wheelchairs don’t exist during the training. That is something that our teacher has conquered from the first time we practised together. We didn’t see a man in a wheelchair, but a person who was showing us Wushu techniques.”