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  • Writer's pictureSteve Squassoni

From Stuck on a Ladder to Black Belt and Jade FUNctional Movement

Life can change in an instant. One minute you're a house painter, the next you're stuck on a ladder, back seized up looking like a awkward Christmas ornament. That's what happened to me at 32. That day, however (besides the searing pain), was the turning point.


A chat with my kids Kung Fu instructor's friend led to a treatment that got me back on my feet. Two sessions later, I was (miraculously) standing upright again.  Hooked? Absolutely. But it was also a turning point. I started attending monthly maintenance sessions to keep the pain away. These sessions allowed to me enter to a world I never knew I could: Tai Chi.


Fast forward a few years, and my life took another turn. My marriage ended, but there was a silver lining, my awesome Tai Chi friends wouldn't leave me to drown my sorrows, they would keep encouraging me to join their Kung Fu class at, Emerald Dragon in Penrith.


Let's be honest, I wasn't exactly built for Kung Fu. I was overerweight, inflexible, and sweating buckets just from the warm-up and since our uniform was black with white trim (and the movie Kung Fu Panda was just out) you can guess what my nick name was. But the people around me – my newfound Kung Fu family – were incredibly supportive. They pushed me to keep going, even when I questioned what I was doing to myself.


Fast forward a year and a half. I was no longer just the guy who got treatment; I was a Kung Fu student, training four days a week alongside my full-time job and learning the treatment that allowed me to do all of this. The dream of one day opening my own centre was there, but I never really thought I could do it. But with the support of an awesome partner and all the effort the dedication paid off. Four years later, The Jade Healing Centre, my dream, opened its doors in July 2013.


Kung Fu took a backseat for a while as I focused on getting the center established. But in 2017, the itch returned. I was back at Emerald Dragon, training for my black belt.


Earning that black belt in July 2019 was one of the proudest moments of my life. It was grueling, physically demanding, but that's what makes it so rewarding. You don't get a black belt for showing up; you get it for pushing yourself, for never giving up.


Unfortunately, ever the comedian, my body had other plans in 2022. Multiple shoulder and bicep tears forced me to retire from training and instructing at that level. However, giving up isn't in my vocabulary. With the unwavering support of my network, we created a new class – Jade Fitness and FUNctional Movement for over 40's.


The irony is, despite the injuries, my Kung Fu training allowed me to move in ways most people my age wouldn't dream of. It made me realise the profound impact this practice could have on others.


So, here I am, a walking testament to the power of persistence, even if that persistence involves occasional screaming, copious sweating, and the inability to kick above your knee (at least not anymore).  It's never too late to start, and there's a whole community out there ready to support you on your journey. Give us a call and see what you're capable of!!



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