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This Young Girl Is Training To Become A Kung Fu Master

Eight-year-old ChengWu ShuQin is among the youngest of the girls training at the Shaolin Exquisite Kung Fu School in the Central Eastern Chinese Province of Henan.

Last updated on July 3, 2018, at 12:57 p.m. ET

Posted on October 21, 2014, at 3:14 p.m. ET

Newly arrived, she's fighting to find her place among the crowd and against homesickness.

Leah Nash
Leah Nash
Leah Nash
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Leah Nash
Leah Nash
Leah Nash
In densely populated China, competition for education is fierce. Students who don't succeed academically are often sent to Kung Fu schools. "She looks very clever and wise, but really she is very foolish," says ChengWu's teacher.
Leah Nash

In densely populated China, competition for education is fierce. Students who don't succeed academically are often sent to Kung Fu schools. "She looks very clever and wise, but really she is very foolish," says ChengWu's teacher.

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Leah Nash
Leah Nash
Leah Nash
Leah Nash
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Leah Nash
At age eight, ChengWu is both the youngest female and one of the smallest at the school. Many of her peers are up to 12 years older.
Leah Nash

At age eight, ChengWu is both the youngest female and one of the smallest at the school. Many of her peers are up to 12 years older.

Leah Nash
Leah Nash
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Leah Nash
The students wake at 5:30 for their morning practice. Their days are regimented and consist of 4 hours of Kung Fu practice and 4 to 6 hours of class with lights out at 9:30.
Leah Nash

The students wake at 5:30 for their morning practice. Their days are regimented and consist of 4 hours of Kung Fu practice and 4 to 6 hours of class with lights out at 9:30.

Leah Nash
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Leah Nash
Here, ChengWu clings to the stuffed animal her father gave her. With her parents a three-day bus ride away in the ZheJiang Province, she will probably see them only once a year.
Leah Nash

Here, ChengWu clings to the stuffed animal her father gave her. With her parents a three-day bus ride away in the ZheJiang Province, she will probably see them only once a year.

Leah Nash
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Leah Nash
Leah Nash
Leah Nash
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ChengWu's parents are laborers, making the relatively inexpensive cost of the school an appealing option. They dream that their daughter my now have a chance to become a Kung Fu star.
Leah Nash

ChengWu's parents are laborers, making the relatively inexpensive cost of the school an appealing option. They dream that their daughter my now have a chance to become a Kung Fu star.

Leah Nash
Leah Nash

Leah Nash is an editorial and assignment photographer based in Portland, Oregon. To view more, check out her website at http://www.leahnash.com/.

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